Not only the “Wagner” armed uprising… Russia’s firebrand “more than 30 private military companies” countdown to rebellion. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Not only the “Wagner” armed uprising… Russia’s firebrand “more than 30 private military companies” countdown to rebellion.

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Prigogine (left), whose restaurant is favored by President Vladimir Putin. He is known as “Putin’s chef.” (PHOTO: AP/Afro)

President Putin is still struggling to deal with the situation.

On June 23, a private military company called Wagner suddenly rose up in arms and rebelled against the Russian military. Wagner advanced to a position about 200 km south of the capital, Moscow. The Russian military was caught by surprise and seven of its warplanes were shot down in the clash with Wagner, and more than 10 people are said to have been killed in action.

There was speculation that the founder, Mr. Prigogine, would be killed and Wagner dismantled because he had disgraced President Vladimir Putin. However, five days after the uprising ended, President Putin held a secret meeting with Prigogine and other Wagner officials and politely responded to their concerns.

On July 14, Belarus, a Russian ally, released a video showing Wagner soldiers training its troops. The Independent and other newspapers have reported that Prigogine may be at a military base in Belarus. If true, this would indicate that President Putin is paying unusual attention to a ‘traitor.

The “Dirty Role” that the Regular Army Cannot Play

Why is President Putin so concerned about “Wagner”? Itsuro Nakamura, professor emeritus at Tsukuba University and an expert on Russian affairs, explains why.

Wagner” has expanded to the Middle East and Africa, and has engaged in mass executions and child abductions. Wagner’s role is to do the ‘dirty work’ that Russia’s regular army is unable to do.

It is also true that “Wagner” was the most successful elite unit in the war against Ukraine. As Mr. Prigogine has stated publicly, “Wagner” was fighting in Ukraine with the latest US-made weapons. Given their accomplishments to date, they can’t be easily dismissed.”

The problem of private military companies is not limited to Wagner. According to the multinational intelligence and analysis firm Morpher, there are more than 30 private military companies in Russia. These companies are attractive to soldiers, Nakamura continued.

The pay and equipment are better than the regular army. They are proud of the fact that they do the dirty work because it is not allowed under Russian law, and they get better results than the regular army. If they are given a cold shoulder because of the Wagner Rebellion, there is a danger that they will become disgruntled and turn against each other en masse. Russia is taking advantage of them, but at the same time it is creating a big firestorm.

President Vladimir Putin is struggling to deal with Wagner. In the background is the existence of private military companies that have become so large and prolific in the country that they cannot be overlooked.

  • PHOTO AP/Afro

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