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Yevgeny Prigozhin is dead. ISW gives three scenarios after the alleged death of the head of the Wagner Group

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After the likely death of the head of the mercenary Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin in a plane crash, the Wagnerians will lose their independent status, the American Institute for War Studies has assessed in a recent analysis. According to the ISW, the most realistic scenario is the complete subordination of this formation to the Russian Ministry of Defence.

The Ministry has set up its own private military companies, the purpose of which is to recruit former and current Wagner Group mercenaries and to take control of Wagnerian operations abroad, mainly in Africa. A gradual reduction in the activity of this formation is also evidenced by the likely withdrawal of militants from Belarus. Analysis of satellite images from August 23 leads to the conclusion that In 2010, the military from the Wagner Group dismantled about 1/3 of the field tents in the camp in the village of Cel near the town of Osipowicze in the Mogilev region, noted the Institute of War Studies (ISW).

Belarusian media reported that the Wagner camp near Osipowicze was being dismantled

Three scenarios

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According to the think tank, there are three possible scenarios for the future of the Wagner Group. The organization until recently led by Prigozhin will be disbanded, recreated as a small formation completely subordinated to the Ministry of Defence, or transformed into a quasi-independent structure with a commander loyal to the Kremlin. As emphasized by the ISW, the third of these possibilities seems the least likely.

The American center assessed that Prigozhin was convinced that Vladimir Putin will forgive him June “march on Moscow” and downplayed the scale of humiliation suffered by the Russian dictator at the time.

Portrait of Yevgeny Prigozhin in Rostov-on-DonPAP/EPA/STRINGER

Referring to the assessments of commentators from Russia, it was also noted that the former mercenary chief probably believed that his loyalty to the leader was enough to avoid responsibility, but it turned out that some mistakes, especially perceived by Putin as an act of insubordination or even treason, are too serious, even for loyal officials and commanders. It was explained that the Kremlin sent a warning signal to the entire Russian elite in this way.

>> What happened to Prigozhin’s plane? Independent media point to the first suspect

ISW again referred to the current situation of the Belarusian authoritarian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka, stressing that his chances of maintaining independence in relations with Moscow have been “dramatically limited”. It was assessed that the probable death of Prigozhin is also a warning to Lukashenko in the context of possible further attempts by Belarus to delay the process of integration with Russia within the so-called Union State.

Doubts about Prigozhin’s deathTVN24

Alleged death of Prigozhin

Rosaviatia, the Russian air transport agency, confirmed on Wednesday evening that on board the plane that crashed in the Tver region in western Russia was the head of the Wagner Group mercenary Yevgeny Prigozhin and his “right hand” Dmitry Utkin, nickname “Wagner”.

The agency has published a list of the names of seven passengers and three crew members who flew the Embraer from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Prigozhin and Utkin were on the list. Earlier, the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations reported that all people traveling in the plane were killed.

Services at the crash site in the Tver region in the west of RussiaPAP/EPA/RUSSIAN INVESTIGATIVE COMMITEE

The direct cause of the disaster is unknown. There were speculations about the plane being shot down by anti-aircraft defenses, including by units of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), or an explosion on board. In the opinion of numerous Western and Ukrainian analysts, including ISW experts, it is very likely that Wednesday’s catastrophe was Vladimir Putin’s revenge for the June rebellion of Prigozhin and the Wagner Group.

READ ALSO: Russians fighting on the side of Ukraine to the Wagnerians: you face a choice

From entrepreneur to owner of a private army.  That's how it went "career" Prigozhin

From entrepreneur to owner of a private army. Such was the “career” of PrigozhinJoanna Stempień/Facts about the world TVN24 BiS

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/STRINGER



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