The move was meant to hold those responsible for the negligence.
On June 26, Prigogine, 62, founder of the private military company Wagner, who had been off the radar for nearly two days, suddenly released an 11-minute statement on the Telegram communications app. In the statement, Prigozhin explained why he had declared a rebellion against the Russian military on June 23 and approached a point about 200 km south of the capital, Moscow.
This is not a coup. It is to bring to justice those who have made mistakes.
But Prigogine stopped his march on Moscow after just one day. He disappeared and is believed to have left for neighboring Belarus.
Wagner” has fought in the Middle East and Africa, and has performed “dirty work” that regular Russian troops cannot do, such as mass executions and child abductions. They have also achieved a certain amount of success on the Ukrainian front. On the other hand, there was also a side that went out of control by appointing prisoners who had committed serious crimes such as murder and rape.
In June of this year, the Russian Defense Ministry will order all volunteer soldiers to sign a contract with the ministry. Mr. Prigogine vehemently objected, saying, “You can’t properly manage the army. He may have been a rebel because he disliked the Ministry’s control of him as a “wrongdoer” and the loss of influence over him. However, he probably decided to back down because the movement resonating within the Russian military was smaller than he had expected. They were wrong in their estimation.
A traitor who betrayed his country.
The sudden uprising was like a slap in the face for President Putin, who, in a televised speech on June 26, did not name Prigogine, but called the actions of “Wagner” “a mastermind who has betrayed his country and its people. He expressed his anger at the actions of “Wagner,” saying, “The ringleaders betrayed the country and its people, and committed a criminal act of division.
President Putin’s own impotence was exposed both at home and abroad. Putin’s gut must be churning at the thought of his former ally Prigogine. Wagner is scheduled to be dismantled on July 1, and Mr. Prigogine, the founder of Wagner, may face assassination or other purges.
On the other hand, Mr. Prigozhin is unlikely to be assassinated, according to Itsuro Nakamura, professor emeritus at Tsukuba University and an expert on Russian affairs.
“Once he defected to Belarus, Putin’s chances of getting his hands on Prigozhin became slim. （President Lukashenko is likely to do everything in his power to protect Mr. Prigozhin. So far, both sides have been used by Putin to his advantage. Their interests are aligned in cooperating with each other. From now on, they will try to get out from under President Putin’s control.”
Mr. Prigogine, who exposes corruption in the Russian authorities, is becoming increasingly popular with the public. Nakamura said Prigozhin’s statement on April 26 reveals the ambitions he harbors.
In his statement, Mr. Prigogine said, “I want a lot of people to know me. In other words, he wants to ‘stand out. The way for a soldier to stand out would be to achieve results,” he said. But with the dismantling of Wagner, Prigogine’s role as a soldier seems to have shifted.
His next goal is to “stand out” as a politician. With this incident, he has made his presence felt at home and abroad. Russia will hold regional elections this September and a presidential election next March. With the overwhelming support of the people behind him, he is trying to replace Vladimir Putin, whose influence has declined, as Russia’s ‘czar.
Mr. Prigogine has overtly flicked his wings in opposition to President Putin. The armed uprising may be the first step toward realizing his ambitions.