Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin is said to have died in a plane crash. While the Kremlin remains silent, the mercenaries threaten retaliation. But was Prigozhin really in the machine? Some observers have doubts. And the flight of a second jet raises questions.
Over the Tver region of Russia, north of Moscow, a villager films a black dot in an otherwise blue-and-white, cloudy sky. It’s an aircraft that moves a-typically. Apparently badly damaged, the Embraer Legacy machine disappears, stumbling and trailing a cloud of smoke behind the treetops and hitting the ground – fire everywhere.
All ten occupants die. What the villager does not know at this point is that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner mercenary group, is said to have been on the flight’s passenger list.
Now the Wagner boss is considered dead. His fighters are already threatening the next march on Moscow. “Prigozhin had better be alive,” they say menacingly. Calls for “revenge on the murderers” fill the chat rooms of Prigozhin’s Telegram channels.
As a result, the Belarusian authorities have already switched off the Internet in the area of the Wagner Group’s main warehouse in Belarus. To some observers, it appears that Putin and Lukashenko are attempting to block the Wagner group from communicating and coordinate a swift response.
The second Prigozhin plane
What is particularly astonishing for them is the speed with which Prigozhin’s death was announced on his Telegram channels. Shortly after the accident became known, expressions of mourning and audio files with Richard Wagner’s “Valkyrie Ride” were shared. In addition, after the news became known, Wagner supporters laid memorial stones for the commander in front of the former Wagner Center in St. Petersburg.
However, there is still no official confirmation that Prigozhin really is dead. To date, no photos of the body have been released.
In addition, another private plane, which is also assigned to Prigozhin, fuels doubts about his death for some. The fact is: According to the flight data, the second machine was also on its way to St. Petersburg. However, it is still unclear who was in it. Shortly after the crash in the Tver region, the machine, which was traveling on a similar route, landed safely in Moscow. This is shown, among other things, by the flight tracker “Flightradar24”.
Known that several people are named Yevgeny Prigozhin
However, Keir Giles of the London think tank Chatham House warned against jumping to conclusions: “It was known that a passenger named Yevgeny Prigozhin was on board – but it is also known that several people changed their names to Yevgeny Prigozhin to extend their journeys disguise,” said the expert of the ” Daily Mail “. His controversial conclusion: Don’t be surprised if Prigozhin appears in a new video from Africa.
Another argument put forward by those who doubt Prigozhin’s death is that the Wagner boss was probably not reckless enough to expose himself to the danger. He must have known that the Kremlin was targeting him at the latest after his march on Moscow. Some observers therefore speculate that Prigozhin staged his death.
They argue that the Wagner boss has often laid the wrong tracks about his whereabouts and his travels. In addition, he had always avoided boarding a plane with his deputy Dmitry Utkin.
It is not clear whether there is any truth to these speculations. Real certainty can probably only bring a DNA analysis of the crash victims.