Friday, June 2, 2023

“Taki, valve or basic furnace?” – Marty J. Kari assesses Prigozhin’s position in Russia


The Washington Post reported on Sunday that Wagner’s director may have offered Ukraine information on the Russians’ position in January. Marty J. Kari views Prigozhin as either a “push”, a “valve” or a “basic workshop”.

16.5. 17:28

The conflict between Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of Wagner’s private army, and the administration of Vladimir Putin appears to be escalating.

In early May, Prigozhin announced in his offensive video that Wagner was returning from Bahamut, where the mercenary army had been waging a bloody struggle for months. He cited a shortage of ammunition as the reason, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who is pledging the ammunition, and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov.

On the other hand, the American newspaper The Washington Post reported on Sunday that Prigozhin may have offered Ukraine information on the position of Russian forces in January. The story was based on intelligence disseminated in so-called Discord leaks from the US Department of Defense.

According to WP, Prigozhin in January proposed a model to Ukraine in which he would provide Ukraine with information on the location of Russian troops if Ukraine withdrew its troops from Bahamut.

WP claims that Prigozhin has contacts in Ukrainian intelligence through whom he may have made his offer.

Read more: Commentary: Putin and Prigozhin are two sides of the same coin – brutal militarism blackened Russia

University of Yuväskylä Professor of Working Life, Col. (EVP) Marty J. Kari does not think the barter proposed by Prigozhin makes sense for Ukraine. He commented on Twitter on Monday morning that Ukraine receives essential information from US intelligence agencies.

– Ukraine has accurate information about the grouping, strength, etc. of the Russian army, Kari wrote.

According to WP, Ukraine did not agree to the exchange because the Ukrainian leadership does not trust Prigozhin.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declined to comment on Ukrainians’ relationship with Prigozhin in an interview with WP.

– This is an intelligence matter, Zelensky said.

In his second tweet, Kari explained Prigozhin’s stormy situation through three options: The military Jehu, known as Putin’s cook, is either “Taki”, “Velvetty” or “The Original Cauldron”. Major General Pekka Toveri also forwarded the tweet.

With this, he refers to an option where Prigozhin would serve as a rallying point for Putin’s various opponents. Arkady Moshes, director of the Foreign Policy Institute’s research program for IS, also assessed last week that the weight of Prigozhin’s criticism has been exacerbated by his power in Russia – with some parties loyal to him rather than the Kremlin.

Moshes said that by allowing groups such as Wagner’s to grow and flourish, the Russian state had lost its monopoly on violence.

Read more: Wagner boss Prigozhin is already defying Putin – an expert explains why

Kari, on the other hand, considers it possible that Prigozhin will act as a Kremlin-permitted valve, with which “the pressure can be released”. According to Moshes, however, it would be difficult for the Russian administration not to react if Wagner did indeed step down from Bahamut.

According to Kari’s view, the third option is that Prigozhin “falls out the window when the time is right”.

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