The Great Deception: Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Death and the Web of Secrecy

  • The truth behind Yevgeny Prigozhin’s death remains enigmatic, with multiple plausible scenarios and motivations.
  • Prigozhin’s confrontations with Russian authorities, his personal ambitions, and the June 24th mutiny potentially made him a target for an assassination by the Kremlin.
  • While many suspect the role of the Kremlin, the West’s interest in targeting Prigozhin due to Wagner’s actions in regions like West Africa and Syria cannot be overlooked.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner organisation, is said to have perished in a plane accident on August 23 in Russia’s South West. Later, a Russian aviation investigating agency confirmed the incident, and it was discovered that Yevgeny Prigozhin was one of nine passengers aboard the aircraft, along with Wagner Commander Dmitri Utkin. According to the Investigative Department, which has not released any information to the public regarding Yevgeny Prigozhin’s death, he was in Wagner Base in Mali the day before the incident and was travelling to St. Petersburg when he met with a plane crash. 

However, the investigation division requested a gene test, and it was later determined that Yevgeny Prigozhin and the other 8 perished. Finally, the Kremlin said that Yevgeny Prigozhin’s final rite occurred on August 30 in an undisclosed location in Saint Petersburg.

The Kremlin maintained a low profile throughout the early stages of the disaster and refrained from releasing any information or making any death announcements. However, President Putin made an unexpected U-turn and addressed the passing of Wagner Chief. Yevgeny Prigozhin was described as “talented” and a “man of difficult faith” by President Putin. Additionally, he said that the Wagner ensemble would always be appreciated by Russian society.

The fundamental question that now lingers is whether Yevgeny Prigozhin indeed passed away, or even if he did, what caused his passing—a plane crash or a state-sponsored homicide? Additionally, it is challenging to draw a single, conclusive conclusion due to the dearth of resources accessible to confirm his death.

Because of this, investigating all angles and taking into account all circumstances that might have contributed to his demise is the greatest way to comprehend the specifics of the crisis.

The Possible Survival of Yevgeny Prigozhin!

This may sound interesting and shocking, but the Russian government has officially acknowledged his passing, and even his last rites appear to have taken place. However, it’s important to note that none of these assertions have been supported by evidence. It has been almost two weeks since Yevgeny Prigozhin passed away, and as of yet, no information about his passing has been made public, including no photos, results of a gene test, or images of his final rites.

However, the question is why the Kremlin is concealing his death. The Kremlin conceals his identity for a variety of reasons. Regardless of Prigozhin’s personal ambitions and conflicts with the Kremlin. Wagner has been crucial to Russia’s past and ongoing operations in Syria’s western Africa and recently in Ukraine. It was also evident in the way Wagner received a special exemption in Russia, a nation that forbids the existence of private mercenary groups. In Russia, Wagner was not only immune from this prohibition but was also permitted to open an office in St. Petersburg. Wagner is still pursuing Kremlin interests. It has registered itself in the red books of the West in many parts of the world. After the incident on June 24—when Wagner, led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, led a march for justice to Moscow—this has only gotten worse. According to an agreement between Wagner and the Kremlin, the Wagner leader and his army were permitted to move to Belarus. 

As 20k+ combat-ready Wagnerites are stationed close to Poland’s Nato border, creating a sense of deterrence for Russia against any NATO provocations, the Wagner deployment in Belarus is a blessing in disguise for the Kremlin. It also gives Russia the added advantage of opening a new front against Ukraine. As a result of everything, the West was aware of the threat posed by Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, and President Lukashenko had revealed that the West had plans to assassinate Prigozhin.

Additionally, the heroics of Yevgeny Prigozhin Wagner in Africa threatened the Western presence on the continent because the group indirectly assisted in bringing about a political transition and a government friendly to the West African region. The presence of Wagner in Syria, who has been assisting the government forces in their fight against Western proxies like the SDF, did not sit well with the West either.

Prigozhin’s death a state-sponsored assassination?

Yevgeny Prigozhin was highly ambitious and sought to capitalize on the 50k+ Wagner soldiers. His ongoing conflicts with the Russian MOD caused problems for the Kremlin because they exposed the shortcomings of Russian special operations.

The incident on June 24 served as the catalyst for ongoing Kremlin-Wagner tensions, and the mutiny turned into President Putin’s biggest power challenge. It also called into question President Putin’s authority over Russia. The likelihood that his death was the result of a Kremlin assassination attempt is therefore very high.

Some argue that Prigozhin may still be alive due to the lack of concrete evidence confirming his death, such as photos, gene tests, or last ritual documentation. The Kremlin’s historical support for Wagner and its strategic importance in various global regions provide a motive for concealing his death. Prigozhin’s confrontations with Russian authorities, his ambitions to capitalize on Wagner’s extensive forces, and the mutiny on June 24th further complicate the situation, potentially making him a target for an assassination attempt by the Kremlin.

On the other hand, the West’s interest in targeting Prigozhin due to Wagner’s actions in regions like West Africa and Syria cannot be overlooked. This adds another layer of complexity to the situation, where both internal and external factors may have played a role.

In conclusion, the truth behind Yevgeny Prigozhin’s death remains enigmatic, with multiple plausible scenarios and motivations. Until concrete evidence emerges, the mystery surrounding his demise will continue to spark intrigue and speculation among observers and analysts alike.

(The author is a post-graduate student in International Relations at Kalinga University, Raipur. The opinions expressed are the author’s own)

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