This could be a new phase in the Ukraine/Russian war. Certainly it sends a message to the world about Vladimir Putin. People predicted when Wagner began to function in Ukraine that Yevgeny Prighozin would be dead within six months. Maybe Vladimir Putin is like Donald Trump in one regard, that of being predictable. Reuters:
MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin was listed as a passenger on a private jet which crashed north of Moscow on Wednesday, the TASS news agency reported, citing Rosaviatsia, Russia’s aviation authority.
“An investigation has been launched into the Embraer plane crash that occurred tonight in the Tver region. According to the passenger list, among them is the name and surname of Yevgeny Prigozhin,” Rosaviatsia said.
Earlier TASS had reported that ten people had died after a private jet crashed in Russia’s Tver region north of Moscow. The jet, en route from Moscow to St Petersburg, was carrying seven passengers and three crew.
The end of this phase of the Prigozhin story. With Wagner sources hinting the plane was shot down a new phase might begin. pic.twitter.com/cDJrcmxys2
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) August 23, 2023
he was hanging at the Africa conference a few weeks ago like nothing had happened. apparently Putin wanted to orchestrate a spectacle to send a message.. to the other ‘Prigozhins’ out there. so, clearly, they’re out there
— Ian S. Patton (@ispatton) August 23, 2023
Proghozin made Putin look weak and Putin hated him for it. This is what happens to people Putin hates. Here’s some biographical data on Proghozin. Guardian:
The man who raised a force against Moscow is a former convict and hotdog seller, notorious for his ruthlessness, violence and cruelty.
Born in St Petersburg in 1961, he went to a sporting academy but fell in with petty criminals. Convicted of several violent robberies in 1980, he spent most of his 20s in jail.
Released in 1990 as the Soviet Union was in its death throes, he made his first modest fortune with a fast food stand, but soon had a stake in a supermarket chain, one of the best restaurants in his home city, and the ear and trust of powerful figures, including one Vladimir Putin.
Prigozhin spent more than a decade doing the catering for high-profile official events – photos show him serving Prince Charles and George Bush among others – and building up oligarch levels of wealth through government catering contracts and other deals.
The seeds of the current insurrection were sown nearly a decade ago when Russia illegally annexed the Crimean peninsula and sent proxy forces into eastern Ukraine. Prigozhin then founded the Wagner mercenary group, which gave Putin a tool for more active military intervention and some degree of plausible deniability.
Prigozhin also set up an army of keyboard trolls, and was indicted in the US for interfering – through his digital warriors – in the 2016 election that brought Trump to power.
Until last year, Prigozhin sued journalists who linked him to these activities, and insisted he only worked in catering and hospitality.
Then he went into the mercenary business and later rebelled against Putin in Ukraine. However, he didn’t have the strength to stand up forever to the Russian army. But Proghozin made a statement. And now Putin has made one, too.