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Yevgeny Prigozhin: The convicted thief who desires to take management of Russia’s navy marketing campaign in Ukraine | World Information

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Yevgeny Prigozhin is a convicted thief, a Russian Oligarch and the founder and boss of the Wagner mercenary group.

Regardless of non-public navy firms being unlawful in Russia, President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has benefited considerably by commissioning the Wagner Group to ship success on the battlefield.

Nevertheless, is Prigozhin’s rising affect now a threat to Putin’s authority?

In 1981, a 20-year-old Prigozhin was caught stealing – for the second time – and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for theft – he served a complete of 9 years in detention.

After his launch, Prigozhin started promoting scorching canine in Leningrad, earlier than founding, or changing into concerned in, many new companies. Within the 2000s, Prigozhin grew nearer with Vladimir Putin, and his firms began successful quite a few profitable authorities contracts.

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Learn extra:
Kremlin to prosecute Wagner boss over alleged armed mutiny
From hot dog seller to mercenary leader: The rise of Prigozhin

Prigozhin is rich, however the battle in Ukraine has offered him a novel platform for wider affect.

Russia had anticipated restricted Ukrainian resistance to its unlawful invasion, however within the occasion the Russian military was ill-prepared for the decided and motivated Ukrainian response. The Russian military struggled to carry floor, and Russian casualty charges had been rocketing.

Putin turned to his {old} buddy Prigozhin and his Wagner mercenary group who – manned with newly recruited convicts – delivered battlefield success.

Prigozhin claimed his mercenary group was the “greatest military on this planet”, however as his affect grew, so he grew to become more and more vital of the Russian MOD, its management, and certainly the Russian method to the battle.

Putin controls the Russian oligarchs by means of the profitable contracts upon which they rely. However, Putin is understandably cautious of mercenary teams which have their very own agenda, are motivated by cash and never patriotism, and who’ve the navy functionality to mount a coup.

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Putin: West desires ‘battle with Russia’

In Sudan earlier this yr, frictions between the common military and a former insurgent group that had beforehand agreed to work collectively swiftly led to open warfare – the same battle between Sergei Shoigu (Russian defence minister) and Prigozhin could be catastrophic for Putin.

Prigozhin operates outdoors of the Russian navy command chain – he’s a legislation unto himself and feels solely answerable to President Putin – however, the Wagner Group has confirmed efficient at delivering battlefield success – regardless of big casualty charges – one thing which the Russian military has struggled to ship.

Extra evaluation from Sean Bell:
Western intervention is the only credible way to protect Ukraine’s counteroffensive from Russian air power
Zelenskyy faces a difficult call before using the West’s modern tanks in a spring offensive

Vladimir Putin’s attacks on Kyiv show his emotions are overriding military strategy

This has led to rising friction between Shoigu and Prigozhin, ensuing within the military limiting provides of ammunition to the Wagner Group, and likewise failing to guard Wagner’s flanks throughout intense combating in Bakhmut.

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The shortage of a unified command and management construction is a frustration for Putin. To cut back the affect of Prigozhin, the Russian MOD has introduced that each one “volunteers” have to be registered with them by 1 July this yr, in a transparent effort to deliver Wagner beneath the MOD chain of command.

In response, Prigozhin has provided his personal contract to the MOD, suggesting they’re subjugated to his mercenary group!

Even when Prigozhin was to acquiesce, it isn’t totally clear how the MOD expects to “management” the volunteers – the Wagner fighters are often very properly remunerated for his or her service, whereas the common military are poorly paid.

If the brand new mercenary volunteers are to be introduced into the MOD, their totally different employment contracts would have a devastating impact on the morale of their common contemporaries and vastly improve inside tensions.

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Wagner ‘withdrawing’ from Bakhmut

The disagreement has escalated because the 1 July deadline approaches, with Prigozhin overtly accused of planning to plot a coup towards Putin, regardless of having been was awarded the Hero of the Russian Federation medal in 2022.

Mercenary teams have offered Putin a much-needed distinctive navy functionality; nonetheless, there are unintended penalties to their use.

Putin can not afford to tolerate any potential menace to his personal authority; however, he additionally is aware of that he can not afford to lose the navy marketing campaign in Ukraine. Putin now faces a Hobson’s alternative – totally of his personal making.

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