Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin made a name for himself by having his men kill as many Ukrainians as they could in the name of President Vladimir Putin, but some analysts say he is really usurping the president’s throne.
“Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin may use his influence in Russia’s mainstream media landscape to bid as a contender in the 2024 Russian presidential election,” the D.C.-based Institute for War Studies said Tuesday.
Think Tank analysts argued that in a recent video interview with Russian journalists, the mercenary leader appeared to “Mimic the way President Vladimir Russia’s Putin Filmed His Choreographed Public Meeting Whether it’s a silent mockery of Putin Or subtly suggested that Prigozhin could become Russian. President like Putin.
He also took steps to separate himself from the “elite” in the Kremlin and the Ministry of Defense. Analysts noted It tries to avoid the narrative that Russia is at war with Nazis and NATO. and routinely criticizes high-ranking military officials
“Prigozhin’s recent behavior – regardless of intent – is advancing the narrative in Russian society that Prigozhin has bigger political aspirations than in Russia,” ISW wrote.
Businessman linked to the Kremlin Known as the mastermind who controlled Russia’s vast internet troll network long before he accepted his role in Wagner. has rejected any political aspirations
Asked by a reporter on Wednesday if he really had the goal of holding political office, he said: “Urgent legislation is needed. so that whoever says ‘Political ambitions’ will be attacked immediately.”
but on the same day He has backed Kremlin enemies in a move that appears designed to portray him as a noble leader who stands up for ordinary people who have been trampled on by the country’s elite. (This is a general issue in all aspects. his latest public speech)
In a letter to the Tula Regional Prosecutor Prigozin stood up for Alexei Moskalev, a single father who was sentenced to two years in prison earlier this week. due to accusations “Disgrace” the Russian army Moskalev was arrested on the charges just one day after his then-12-year-old daughter painted an anti-war picture in school.
Calling Moskalev’s verdict “unfair”, Prigozhin appealed to prosecutors to re-examine the case. In order not to keep Moskalev’s daughter from being in an orphanage.
“Wagner’s fighters defend the interests of the Russian Federation and die with honor for our Motherland and the future of our children. After many of our comrades died, their families, wives and children were left behind. Often these children without other relatives end up in orphanages. We believe that this is a great tragedy for Russia and the future of our country, ”wrote Prigozhin, ignoring the large number of children orphaned at the hands of his own personal army.
The move was quickly praised by Kremlin experts.
“Prigozhin is a very intelligent man, unlike the faceless ‘technocrats’ who read Dostoevsky and understood that the defense of ‘Humiliation and contempt’ is always reflected in the hearts of Russians, and ‘technocrats’ without any compassion are always scorned and hated by the Russian people.” Sergey Mardan propagandist writes
Prigozhin’s appeal to the prosecutor became like a thumb in the eyes of the Kremlin. which recently excluded him from a prison recruitment program in Ukraine. and seemingly trying to control his growing influence.
While Prigozhin plays a sympathetic savior, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov defended Moskalev’s verdict on Wednesday. and blamed his “sad” parenting skills.
Aside from Prigozhin’s tendency to try to style himself as the country’s next leader, however, some see another explanation for his recent move.
“Prigozhin was weak, he bullied everyone and lost food supplies to the army. And he was forced to advertise his activities on pornographic sites. I think in the near future he will probably go to Africa. And it is unlikely that he will live long—he will be poisoned or shot. Or it will be an accident,” Olga Romanova, founder of Russia Behind Bars, said in an interview. earlier this week
She said his actions showed he was “hysterical” for losing power.
“Recently, we had a serious conversation about the fact that he influences not only Russia but also Russia. but also global politics. And now he’s falling under the substitute bench… It’s an embarrassing and naturally deterministic end. And I sincerely hope that the lower creatures Similar will not replace him.”