According to online reports analyzed by BBC Verify, members of Wagner’s group and their relatives were furious that Prigozhin finally called a retreat after he and his mercenaries moved to Moscow after entering Rostov.
“Bald Eye destroyed Wagner with his own hands and messed with everyone he could,” the Wagner mercenary poster self-announced to his 200,000 followers on Telegram.
Mark Krutov, a journalist with Radio Free Europe’s Russian branch, shared with the BBC details of Telegram group conversations used by relatives of Wagner fighters. In one of these messages, a woman wrote that she trusted Prigogine, “but what he did was disgraceful.” Another said, “This is sheer betrayal.”
The surface began the production of conspiracy theories that Putin and Prigozhin actually conspired and only staged a coup attempt to “test the loyalty of the Russian elite” and “remove Choigu.”
Volodymyr Fesenko, head of the Penta Research Institute in Kiev, disagreed with the latter, because according to him, what happened was “Putin’s public humiliation”, and Prigozhin thereby “lost his reputation, because he was strong, but now he simply retreated”. (BBC)