About two months ago, the uprising by Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin shook Putin’s power. Prigozhin may be far away now, but the mutiny has left cracks.
The uprising by Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin left its mark – not only on himself and his troupe. But also with Vladimir Putin.
After weeks of absence, on Monday (21 August) Prigozhin broadcast the first video after his uprising failed. This time not from a battlefield in Ukraine, but from the desert. His tone has changed, the anger and frustration at the failure of the Russian military leadership seem to have disappeared.
Prigozhin’s Wagner troupe is increasingly deployed in Africa
After the mutiny at the end of June, Prigozhin lost his important political position, the Wagner fighters had to give up their military equipment and are no longer fighting in the Ukraine – but back in Africa. Or are stationed in Belarus, far from the Kremlin and Putin.
For the president, the behavior of his former confidante Prigozhin was a “betrayal,” as he put it. Nevertheless, Prigozhin is still active with his private army – probably a sign that Putin doesn’t want to or can’t get rid of him.
According to Hristo Grozev, a well-known Bulgarian investigative journalist and member of Bellingcat’s investigative team, Putin’s failure to bring this traitor to justice could be a source of revenge.
“In six months, Prigozhin will either be dead – or there will be a second coup”
Grozev had also predicted Prigozhin’s attempted coup months earlier, saying in January that the Wagner boss would turn against the president. The US think tank “Institute for the Study of War” (ISW) also came to the conclusion at the end of October that Prigozhin and his military group “could pose a threat to Putin’s rule”.
Christo Grosew now explains in the “Financial Times”: This could not have been the last coup attempt against Putin. “Putin went on TV and called Prigozhin a traitor,” explains the journalist. “And everyone knows what they do with ‘traitors.’ But Putin didn’t do that.”
It is clear that Putin wants to see his former ally dead. But he can’t do that yet. Grozev is certain: “In six months, Prigozhin will either be dead – or there will be a second putsch. I’m not entirely sure which of the two will happen yet, but I can’t imagine either happening.”
Russia: Will there be another coup attempt against Putin?
The economy is suffering from Western sanctions and the ruble is in free fall. Dissatisfaction among parts of the Russian elite continues to grow.
But Putin is still cracking down on critics: Grozev cites the example of Russian ex-general Ivan Popov, who recently criticized Putin’s “special military operation” and has since disappeared.
Former separatist leader Igor Girkin was also one of Putin’s biggest critics until recently – he was arrested in July on charges of “public incitement to extremism”.
A better-coordinated coup is needed to get rid of Putin, Grozev said. He sees no oligarchs, employees of the secret service or ministers there. “But for the rest of the elite, living in a North Korea 2.1 with frozen bank accounts is unpleasant.” Even if the situation on the front line changes drastically, it could be a trigger for another coup attempt.