The leader of the Russian mercenaries, according to journalists, stirred up the military elite with his criticism. When he worked in Syria and Africa, he got away with a lot, but after the start of a big war in Ukraine, he began to anger everyone.
Kremlin officials demanded that Russian President Vladimir Putin take legal action against Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Russian PMC Wagner, because of his public criticism of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and other high-ranking military officials. The American newspaper The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) writes about this on March 11, citing informed sources.
The founder of the mercenary group is going through a decisive moment – if the “Wagnerites” manage to take Bakhmut, this will be the first significant victory for the Russians. Then he will have superiority over the regular Russian military, who could not capture significant cities in eastern Ukraine.
Prigozhin’s positions will still be undermined after the failures in Bakhmut
“If Prigozhin fails after 7 months of fighting that cost Wagner PMC tens of thousands of fighters, this could call into question the combat capability of the group’s soldiers and add fuel to the fire of his enemies in the political and military elite. Prigozhin’s positions will be further undermined,” — experts noticed.
The Russian Ministry of Defense and the Kremlin did not respond to a WSJ request for comment on relations with Prigozhin and the Wagner PMC.
People inside the presidential administration are talking about Putin’s decision to contain Prigozhin after complaints from senior Kremlin officials.
“They decided that Prigozhin posed too much of a threat and decided it was time to suppress him. Since January, Prigozhin and his fighters have become less mentioned in the Russian media after an order from the Kremlin,” a former Russian intelligence agent with connections in the Kremlin explained the situation.
Pro-Kremlin analyst Sergei Markov confirmed a request by the heads of state television and radio stations to “soften” the references to Prigozhin and the Wagner PMC.
One of the representatives of European intelligence in a conversation with the WSJ noted that Russia is losing the big war in Ukraine, so they still need Prigozhin.
Yevgeny Prigozhin lost allies in the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation
When the Wagner PMC was operating in Africa, it acted quite independently of the Ministry of Defense. The mercenaries entered into their own contracts with local leaders to protect minerals, the publication noted.
Prigozhin has emerged as a strong man capable of standing up to the Russian government and the incumbent security establishment, a US official said.
Criticism of the military leadership stirred up the elite. Prigozhin’s remarks were ignored when the Wagner PMC was operating in Syria and Africa, but in Ukraine he began to anger everyone, people close to the Kremlin say.
Also irritated were demonstration videos of executions with a sledgehammer. People in the system believe that the state should have a monopoly on violence.
Former Russian Air Force officer Gleb Irisov notes that Yevgeny Prigozhin has lost allies in the Ministry of Defense, in particular, Alexei Kim, Deputy Head of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces, who often flew with the Wagnerites to Libya.
Recall that the owner of PMC “Wagner” recently again complained to journalists that he was “thrown” with ammunition. They even cut off special communications channels for him so that he would stop asking for shells for his group.
On February 22, Prigozhin showed the corpses of the “Wagnerites” and said that they died in Ukraine due to a lack of shells. And on February 17, the Wagnerites complained about heavy losses due to lack of ammunition.
On March 7, the Pentagon recognized the high combat effectiveness of mercenaries from the Wagner PMC compared to the regular Russian army.
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