Russia After Prigohzin

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the flamboyant head of the Wagner Group, was presumably killed in a plane crash on August 23rd, 2023. Not only was he killed, but two of the top leaders and other members of the leadership cadre of the Wagner Group apparently met their demise while aboard an Embraer 600 series business jet. The aircraft went down in the Tver region, northwest of Moscow, and while we don’t have all of the information yet, many believe that sabotage was at play, and an onboard explosion of some type caused the accident. We can see that Russia is in the throes of a crisis, and it seems that Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, is out to destroy any elements that are challenging his power. His ruthless mission in life has become to destroy Prigozhin and the Wagner Group, and do so however he sees fit.

In this episode of Intel Insights, we’ll focus on Russia after Prigohzin, and why Russia is extremely unstable right now. We’ll also discuss more about the Wagner Group’s well-known presence in other countries, and the type of following Prigozhin was able to generate during his time as head of the Wagner Group. Clearly, Putin is on the path to consolidate power and eliminate any threats to his regime, which included the Prigohzin and the Wagner Group – even more so after the recent rebellion in June 2023. With all of this disarray happening in Russia, we may start to see Western nations like the United States, France, and Britain challenge Russia, and regain the upper hand in places like Africa.

The days of the Wagner Group seem to be over, because there isn’t a plan B – at least for the moment. This is a critical time where Russia is basically at a fork in the road. With the decapitation of the Wagner Group, Putin has lost one of his instruments of power, which will make it difficult for him to develop a strategy for the next phase of his ruling. While there needs to be a transition in power after Putin, the danger is that whoever comes next may be far more difficult to deal with than Putin. Ultimately, we may be in for a very dark period, which could have untold consequences for Russia itself, Russia’s neighbors, and the entire world.

Interesting Fact: 

The Wagner Group built up something pretty impressive since they became publicly known in 2014. They were active in more than a dozen countries, including Libya, Syria, Ukraine, the Central African Republic, and Mali. This is a situation where the Wagner group was getting a lot of resources that they would then provide to the Russian state and to the troops that were fighting in places like Ukraine. But, they became a bit too powerful, and Putin faced a challenge, so he knew he needed to make a change somewhere. 

Episode Timestamps:
  • A plane crash that resulted in the presumed death of Yevgeny Prigohzin and other Wagner Group members {0:36}
  • The instability of Russia after the decapitation of the Wagner Group {1:51}
  • The Wagner Group’s popularity in other countries, and how that affected Putin and the Russian state {6:51}
  • Putin’s plan to exact his revenge against Prigohzin after the rebellion in June 2023 {8:14}
  • The type of man and leader Prigohzin was, and the support he was able to generate as a result of his ‘accomplishments’ {10:22}
  • What is next for Russia {12:50}
  • Dramatic changes that may occur on the battlefield for Russia {17:49}

“What this all points out is that Russia is in the throes of a crisis, and it seems that what Vladimir Putin is trying to do as president of Russia is destroy any elements that are challenging his power.”

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