The rebellion of Yevgeny Prigozhin and his mercenaries, who grew from a petty criminal to an oligarch and then a warlord, capable of occupying major Russian cities, led by a private army with the able support of Vladimir Putin, came to a strange end. one day. When Wagner’s private army units crossed Russia unhindered and were three hundred kilometers from Moscow, the strongman with a criminal background, once known only as Putin’s chef, made an unexpected retreat.
Although he did not mention it himself – although he has been very vocal in recent months and commented on the uprising on Telegram – a Belarusian government official soon revealed that he had a deal with Prigozhin. Before anyone thought this was some gimmicky self-marketing, Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s mouthpiece, confirmed it, saying Prigozhin could go to Belarus.
It was an unexpected turn of events from many angles, and not only did Belarusian authorities detain three dozen Wagnerian mercenaries three years ago on suspicion of plotting to overthrow Lukashenka, but also the power of the long-lived former TSZ president. Very shaky. , since the last presidential election was completely rigged, Lukashenka could only maintain his power by relying on the Russian military.
In other words, Putin and the Russian leadership have so far been in a vulnerable position that has used it to tighten Russo-Belarusian relations according to Moscow’s needs, whether it’s using the country as a launching point for an invasion of Ukraine or using the Belarusian army to attack radical Ukrainian forces, build up far from the front, or tactically threaten NATO’s eastern flank. Deploying nuclear weapons there.
If there is a winner in Prigozhin’s failed rebellion, it appears to be Lukashenko, who can easily use his assistance to Putin to bolster his own power and role.
But Lukashenka’s role also pointed to the role, or lack thereof, of another important actor. Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, has not commented on the situation except for a pre-recorded speech from a recording. According to Medusa, although Russian officials began negotiations with Prigozhin on Friday, June 23 – the head of the mercenary army announced the same day that his forces would leave for Moscow to replace the leadership of the army – Putin was not only supported by the heads of the Russian regional security and national guards, but even the staff of the presidential office and close allies did not reach him. In the absence of a one-man leader of the autocracy, confusion prevailed, which was evident from the fact that he did not dare to issue any definite order to stop the 25,000-strong army occupying the country and occupying the tenth largest army. The Russian city was largely unopposed and was able to continue unhindered the next day.
However, according to Medusa’s sources, Prigozhin tried to contact Putin during the day on June 24, but “the president did not want to talk to him.” At that time, his troops were already near the Oga River, where the Russian Army and National Guard units took the bridges and formed the first line of defense of Moscow, which, according to the current situation, should be on both sides. collided According to Medusa’s sources, Prigozhin would have tried to avoid this after it became clear that, contrary to his earlier boastful statements, half of the Russian army did not support his mercenaries.
According to Medusa’s information, after Prigozhin accepted the peace, it was not Putin, but the heads of the presidential administration, his chief of staff, Anton Vaino, the secretary of the Russian National Security Council, the former head of intelligence, Nikolai Bartsev, and the Russian ambassador in Minsk, Boris Kryslov. Lukashenko finally negotiated with Prigozhin as ambassador to this group.
In the hours of upheaval, Putin was not the only one lost. Prigozhin left for Moscow on Friday with the specific goal of removing the two top leaders of the Russian military, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov. Well, neither of them have been heard from since, not even releasing pre-recorded messages since the failure of Prigozhin’s rebellion. What will happen to them now? Even Medusa’s sources could only speculate about it. There are those who believe that there may be a change in the topic of Russian military affairs, but not at the request of Prigozhin, but “an initiative from within”. However, according to others, changing anyone now is doubtful, as it would be tantamount to capitulation, and “Putin will never succumb to the pressure of circumstances and refuses to bow to them”.
But it is now recognized, even in circles close to him, that his position was shaken by agitation that he did not speak beyond his pre-recorded speech. “We didn’t find a trace of him on Saturday,” one of them told Medusa, adding that he wasn’t even sure he was in Moscow. According to Peskov, although Putin “worked on documents” on Saturday, the president’s special plane, which also serves as a military command center, took off from Moscow on June 24, according to data from flight tracking applications, and then turned off. Its lighthouse somewhere in the Tver region. (via Medusa)