Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the mercenary company Wagner, continues his ruthless show, and his grip on power will last as long as he is of military use to Russia.
– Prigozhin’s fate is largely in the hands of Ukrainians, assesses Major General Pekka Toveri in ISTV’s Ukraine studio, with a video as the main image of the article.
According to Tovar, the legend of “Putin’s chef” will end in a short time “if the Ukrainians decide to hit a big rock, attack Bahamut with force and defeat Wagner’s army.”
Prigozhin’s mercenaries have been an essential reinforcement to the Russian Armed Forces in the startling Battle of Bahamut, which has been ongoing since August.
This main theater of war in Ukraine on the Eastern Front has become symbolically bigger and more important.
Therefore, Prigozhin is allowed to continue his personal performances, which have repeatedly brought him into the media spotlight in both the East and the West. He does not seem to be shackled by the political shackles that bind the hands of the Russian elite and military leadership.
According to the former intelligence chief of the General Staff, publicity is everything for Prigozhin, both in terms of business and ego.
– This is his chance for fame and better position.
“Putin’s chef”, 62, has been in a really wild mood lately.
In late April, he incited his men to commit war crimes by threatening that Wagner would no longer take prisoners, but would all be executed.
Prior to Russia’s Victory Day, he went on a rampage on his Telegram channel cursing and calling out both Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Armed Forces Commander Valery Gerasimov.
He soon threatened to withdraw from Bahamut due to lack of ammunition, then claimed that Russia was losing territory in Bahamut because “the units of the Ministry of Defense are on the run”.
The peak was experienced when Prigozhin, in his outburst published on Russia’s Victory Day, also addressed President Vladimir Putin, though indirectly referring to “Grandfather”.
He asked “what should be done if grandpa turns out to be an idiot”.
What could be Prigozhin’s motive in criticizing the dictator?
– I think it has been a tight position and the loss against the Ukrainians weighed on that, says Toveri.
– It’s a bit stuck.
Prigozhin also dared to interfere with the solemn Victory Day celebrations, as on the same day that Putin and Shoigu were brawling on Red Square, he announced that some people “should stop appearing on Red Square”.
Why wasn’t Prigozhin punished immediately?
– However, it is quite valuable. That threshold has not yet been attempted.
Its forces in Africa, Syria and Ukraine are vital to Russia’s interests.
– Obviously, he still gets some freedom. But I think we are getting close to the limit here.
Putin has allowed his subordinates to bark, according to the friend, because he thinks it’s preposterous that people can bark at someone in a leadership position.
This strengthens Putin’s own position when subordinates who might seek his power are weak.
– Putin has followed the old Russian principle “good emperor, bad peasant”.
– If an attack on Putin is launched, the line will be drawn. This will definitely be addressed.
There have been times in Russia where bottlers are allowed to pay, but the bill comes late. Is this how it works?
– If Prigozhin cannot work a miracle, I (like him) will avoid open windows and offer to drink tea.
Comrades therefore do not believe that the Russian elite or the bellwethers of the Ministry of Energy Wagner Boss will watch the riot endlessly. And they will not let them take political flight.
Prigozhin is an old palace town. I don’t know if this bunch of siloviki will accept that.
– The KGB had a long history of using criminals as tools to conduct dark operations. They are never raised to a higher level.
– He clearly has ambitions to rise to a higher political level there, but he is not accepted there.