Evguéni Prigojine, that businessman close to Putin, the origin of the Wagner group

Evguéni Prigojine, that businessman close to Putin, the origin of the Wagner group

William Molinié, edited by Romain Rouillard

Evguéni Prigojine, a businessman close to the Kremlin, admitted on Monday that he founded the Wagner paramilitary group in 2014, which is suspected of various abuses in Mali, Syria and Libya. He recently appeared in a video recruiting Russian prisoners to join Wagner’s ranks in Ukraine.

It is a revelation that suffers from no ambiguity. This Monday, Yevgeny Prigoyine, a businessman close to Vladimir Putin, admitted to founding the Wagner paramilitary group in 2014. An organization that aims to defend Russian interests abroad, but whose methods of intervention on the ground have drawn heavy criticism.

It was actually an open secret, since many Western powers, but also the media, have been claiming it for a long time. But until now, no one within the regime has expressed it so clearly. So the man nicknamed “Putin’s chef” – because his catering company supplied the Kremlin – is out of the woods days after a video was broadcast on social media in which we see him serving Russian prisoners in Wagner’s ranks recruited Ukraine.

A troubled figure

At 61, Evgeny Prigoyine is one of the Russian figures sanctioned by the European Union. He is also wanted by the American FBI, which promises $250,000 to anyone who helps arrest him and appears to be one of the most troubled figures in the Putin system.

Accustomed to discretion, he very rarely appears in the media, hence the questions raised by these two trips a few days apart. This is enough to see certain fractures within the Russian state apparatus itself, all the more so at a time when the partial mobilization campaign in Russia is faltering. The Kremlin also admitted Monday’s “mistakes” in this regard.

What are the ambitions behind this publication

Several observers interpret this emergence from the shadows as Prigoyine’s desire to position himself as a potential successor to Vladimir Putin. Also as a rival in running this war, which would mean the lord of the Kremlin being pushed around by his radical wing.

The ultra-nationalists, to which Wagner’s creator belongs, are angry about the Russian retreat to Ukraine and want victory as quickly as possible. With or without Vladimir Putin at the helm.

Reference: www.europe1.fr

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