X Close

Putin declares war on Prigozhin Here in Odesa, the Ukrainians can't believe their luck

Vladimir Putin retaliates (Gavriil Grigorov/AFP/Getty)

Vladimir Putin retaliates (Gavriil Grigorov/AFP/Getty)


June 24, 2023   4 mins

Here in Odesa, the mood is a mix of incredulity, fascination and schadenfreude. Or, as my friend Hanna tells me with glee: “It’s popcorn time — it’s just a shame there’s no popcorn in Ukraine these days.” The word “Prigozhin” floats around the cafe. Phones are playing videos of Wagner tanks rolling through Russia. Hope and expectation fill the air.

Everyone is once again glued to their screens watching war. This time, though, there is a sense that this time it might be one not in their own country, but in the one next door.

Last night, an increasingly desperate or psychopathic (take your pick) Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner Group, did what his behaviour has long intimated he would do — and declared an all-out war on the Russian state.

It began in typically surreal fashion when, on Friday night, Prigozhin filmed another of his hysterical monologues. The set-up was as normal. He leaned forward and snarled at the camera, a Wagner flag hanging on an anonymous blank wall behind him. This time, though, instead of the usual jeremiads about military incompetence and the top brass’s victimisation of his troops, he went a step further.

Glowering at the viewer, he accused the Russian army of shelling a Wagner base. Incredibly, he  claimed Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu had driven to the city of Rostov in southern Russia to personally take command of the attack. Even by his standards, it was an astonishing attack on Moscow.

Over the last year, Prigozhin’s war of words with the defence establishment, notably Shoigu and Russian Commander-in-chief Valery Gerasimov, has burst into open hostility. He accused them of everything from negligence to deliberately failing to supply his troops with badly needed ammunition. But to accuse them of shelling fellow Russians fighting on the front lines? This would have been inconceivable last year.

The reaction was immediate. First, the Russian MoD publicly rejected his claims, calling them an “informational provocation”. Then, something more extraordinary happened. presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov says Putin has been appraised and will take all “relevant steps”. Previously, Putin has stayed out of the Wagner–Military spat. Apart from anything else, to have his generals bickering is no bad thing for a dictator — Stalin did the same thing during the Second World War. First, having them at each other’s throats means they’re not trying to cut yours. And second, it can spur them into greater and more extreme action on the front as they seek to outdo each other (especially in a system where failure can carry the most severe of penalties) and thereby gain your favour.

Such latitude was given to Prigozhin — a former convict turned caterer turned oligarch — that it seemed clear that the relationship between him and Putin was a particular one. In Russia, they call it krysha, which literally means “roof”. In the late Eighties, as gangsterism grew in direct proportion to the failure of communism, and with it the implosion of the Russian state, it expanded to mean a different kind of protection; not from the elements, but from organised crime. Simply put, if you wanted to prosper, you needed a krysha — someone who would protect you —  in return for a slice of the profits of course.

When gangsterism took over the Russian state, it took with it many of its practices. Putin became the top mobster in a mobster state, and, among many other things, he became Prigozhin’s krysha. This gave Prigozhin the freedom to do almost whatever he wanted, including found his own private army.

For a while it worked. Wagner sent its soldiers — generally a mix of the desperate, psychopathic and criminal — in “‘meat waves” at the enemy. It was Wagner troops who did the hard yard in Bakhmut, dying in their thousands so Putin could claim some sort of victory over the ruins that the city is today.

That, though, is over. This morning Wagner troops, accompanied by armoured vehicles including T-90S “Bhishma” tanks, rolled into the city of Rostov as Prigozhin claimed his forces were now “blockading” the city and getting ready to march on Moscow. Armed, masked men with tanks and armoured vehicles began surrounding government buildings there. The UK’s Ministry of Defence reported that Wagner units were now “moving north through Vorenezh Oblast, almost certainly aiming to get to Moscow”.

But as Wagner acted, so did the Russian state. On Telegram, the Russian Ministry of Defence sent a message to the “mercenaries of Wagner PMC”: “You have been tricked into Prigozhin’s criminal adventure and into participating in an armed rebellion… Many of your comrades from several units have already realised their mistake, [are] seeking help.”

Then more and more senior public faces joined the condemnation. One of Russia’s leading military commanders, General Sergei Surovikin, went on TV to urge Wagner mercenary fighters to “obey the will and command” of President Putin and return to their base. Meanwhile, the General Prosecutor’s Office has now launched a criminal case on “armed rebellion”.

Finally, it was the turn of Putin, who in late morning Ukraine time went on Russian TV. “Russia’s future is at stake,” he said, describing Wagner’s actions as a “stab in the back”. Without specifically mentioning Prigozhin, Putin said the high “ambitions” of some have led to “high treason”. He then warned of “inevitable punishment” for those dividing Russian society and said a counter-terrorism regime was now in place in the capital Moscow and several other regions. All “necessary orders have been given” to deal with the crisis, he concluded, at the end of a short TV address in which he made no specific mention of Wagner or Prigozhin.

Contemptuous and concise: Putin in crisis mode.

Neither man can back down. The lines are drawn and irrevocable. Putin was clear in his speech: he has ordered Russian forces to destroy Wagner. Prigozhin has seized Rostov. Heavy fighting is now reported to be ongoing in the Voronezh Region between Wagner forces and the Russian Military and National Guard. Overhead, the Russian Air Force is targeting Wagner Positions with Guided-Bombs and rockets.

This is now a civil war. Russians are killing Russians inside their own territory. How long it lasts, and how large it grows, is all yet to be determined. The odds are stacked against Prigozhin. The last coup attempt in Russia was against Boris Yeltsin on 3 October 1993 and it did not go well. The Russian army should be able to deal with him and his forces easily, but then again, they were supposed to be able to conquer Ukraine in three days.

In Ukraine, everyone, including state apparatuses, is waiting to see what will happen. For a long time, many thought that the public spat between Wagner and the Russian military was all for show; nothing more than more Russian disinformation, designed to confuse and deflect.  But there is a sense that this is serious — and could be to the country’s benefit.

As the crisis continued to build, I got a text from a source in Ukrainian intelligence. “I told you it was all real,” the message read — accompanied by a smiling face emoji.


David Patrikarakos is UnHerd‘s foreign correspondent. His latest book is War in 140 characters: how social media is reshaping conflict in the 21st century. (Hachette)

dpatrikarakos

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

74 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Daniel P
DP
Daniel P
9 months ago

If nothing else, this makes Russia and Putin look a whole lot weaker and that matters to any relationship with China.

It also means that the Russians are now going to have to invest more time, resources and effort into monitoring their own people and troops.

I suspect that Putin will eventually crush this rebellion, but the cost of it will be high and may well be enough to make a real difference in Ukraine.

Once this situation is dealt with, Putin is going to likely look around to figure out who else might be trying to get rid of him or usurp his authority. What other generals are an issue? He is going to need to figure out if this was just one man or if that man was supported by other oligarchs or generals or members of the intel forces.

This rebellion is just the immediate problem Putin has. It is going to be the fallout after the rebels are crushed that will determine what happens with Russia and Putin. Kinda hard to have a foreign war when the people in the government are busy watching and distrusting each other, the people and the military.

Well, Putin wanted a return to the Soviet era, looks like he got his wish. He probably should have read his history and realized that the Soviet era ended the way it did, not due to the west, but due to the consequences of the leadership.

Alan Hawkes
AH
Alan Hawkes
9 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

The relationship with China will probably be an increasing depth of vassal and master.

Daniel P
DP
Daniel P
9 months ago
Reply to  Alan Hawkes

Agreed, but does China want the hassle and the distraction of managing a junior partner with dreams of grandeur?

Daniel P
DP
Daniel P
9 months ago
Reply to  Alan Hawkes

Agreed, but does China want the hassle and the distraction of managing a junior partner with dreams of grandeur?

N T
NT
N T
9 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Well, that was entertaining while it lasted, for a whole three stanzas.
Now: intermission
Next: Act I

Last edited 9 months ago by N T
Alan Hawkes
AH
Alan Hawkes
9 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

The relationship with China will probably be an increasing depth of vassal and master.

N T
NT
N T
9 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Well, that was entertaining while it lasted, for a whole three stanzas.
Now: intermission
Next: Act I

Last edited 9 months ago by N T
Daniel P
DP
Daniel P
9 months ago

If nothing else, this makes Russia and Putin look a whole lot weaker and that matters to any relationship with China.

It also means that the Russians are now going to have to invest more time, resources and effort into monitoring their own people and troops.

I suspect that Putin will eventually crush this rebellion, but the cost of it will be high and may well be enough to make a real difference in Ukraine.

Once this situation is dealt with, Putin is going to likely look around to figure out who else might be trying to get rid of him or usurp his authority. What other generals are an issue? He is going to need to figure out if this was just one man or if that man was supported by other oligarchs or generals or members of the intel forces.

This rebellion is just the immediate problem Putin has. It is going to be the fallout after the rebels are crushed that will determine what happens with Russia and Putin. Kinda hard to have a foreign war when the people in the government are busy watching and distrusting each other, the people and the military.

Well, Putin wanted a return to the Soviet era, looks like he got his wish. He probably should have read his history and realized that the Soviet era ended the way it did, not due to the west, but due to the consequences of the leadership.

Michael Gibson
MG
Michael Gibson
9 months ago

Not sure that Prigozhin as a replacement for Putin is something to be celebrated…

Daniel P
DP
Daniel P
9 months ago
Reply to  Michael Gibson

I do not disagree.

BUT….I think what is important is what it means going forward.

Putin is going to have to focus internally. He is going to have to invest time and effort into assuring that there are not more of these situations hanging out there or if any other oligarchs or generals or member of the government were involved.That means less time and resources for Ukraine. It means heavy interference in the military and that means generals and soldiers are gonna be looking over their shoulders and not at the Ukrainian lines.

It makes Russia look a whole lot more weak and fractured which will give foreign countries like China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia pause as they look at their ongoing relationships. Do they continue to turn from the US and the west toward what has looked like a new powerhouse in the Russia/China partnership or do they decide that they are better off looking west again? Can China count on Russia or is it standing alone against the west or worse, does Russia become a state they have to prop up? If this causes the Ukraine fiasco to fail completely, how much will that exacerbate what I just said.

Last edited 9 months ago by Daniel P
Wim de Vriend
WD
Wim de Vriend
9 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

To us in the West, the pattern of Russia’s past might give us pause. According to this pattern, the overthrow of one bad Russian regime often led to the birth of one that was worse. The czarist regime was not particularly competent, but once destabilized by the social-democrat revolt of 1914, later that year it led to the far more murderous and callous rule of Lenin, whose assassination in turn led to the 29-year rule of Stalin, by the numbers the greatest mass-murderer in world history.
Far be it from me to give Putin, a ruthless murderer in his own right, a break — but we cannot know what sort of psychopath may emerge from this mess. Maybe we should pray for the Russian people?

Wim de Vriend
WD
Wim de Vriend
9 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

To us in the West, the pattern of Russia’s past might give us pause. According to this pattern, the overthrow of one bad Russian regime often led to the birth of one that was worse. The czarist regime was not particularly competent, but once destabilized by the social-democrat revolt of 1914, later that year it led to the far more murderous and callous rule of Lenin, whose assassination in turn led to the 29-year rule of Stalin, by the numbers the greatest mass-murderer in world history.
Far be it from me to give Putin, a ruthless murderer in his own right, a break — but we cannot know what sort of psychopath may emerge from this mess. Maybe we should pray for the Russian people?

Simon Blanchard
SB
Simon Blanchard
9 months ago
Reply to  Michael Gibson

Hopefully a US drone strike will take care of him when the time is right. Can’t believe I just typed that; I’m a Graun subscriber. This place is rubbing off on me.

Ian Barton
IB
Ian Barton
9 months ago

Nice confession – but risky. If you were to tell us that you voted to Remain but are now having second thoughts, you would have to sleep with one eye open 🙂

Last edited 9 months ago by Ian Barton
Clare Knight
CK
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Funny!

Clare Knight
CK
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Funny!

Ian Barton
IB
Ian Barton
9 months ago

Nice confession – but risky. If you were to tell us that you voted to Remain but are now having second thoughts, you would have to sleep with one eye open 🙂

Last edited 9 months ago by Ian Barton
Daniel P
DP
Daniel P
9 months ago
Reply to  Michael Gibson

I do not disagree.

BUT….I think what is important is what it means going forward.

Putin is going to have to focus internally. He is going to have to invest time and effort into assuring that there are not more of these situations hanging out there or if any other oligarchs or generals or member of the government were involved.That means less time and resources for Ukraine. It means heavy interference in the military and that means generals and soldiers are gonna be looking over their shoulders and not at the Ukrainian lines.

It makes Russia look a whole lot more weak and fractured which will give foreign countries like China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia pause as they look at their ongoing relationships. Do they continue to turn from the US and the west toward what has looked like a new powerhouse in the Russia/China partnership or do they decide that they are better off looking west again? Can China count on Russia or is it standing alone against the west or worse, does Russia become a state they have to prop up? If this causes the Ukraine fiasco to fail completely, how much will that exacerbate what I just said.

Last edited 9 months ago by Daniel P
Simon Blanchard
SB
Simon Blanchard
9 months ago
Reply to  Michael Gibson

Hopefully a US drone strike will take care of him when the time is right. Can’t believe I just typed that; I’m a Graun subscriber. This place is rubbing off on me.

Michael Gibson
MG
Michael Gibson
9 months ago

Not sure that Prigozhin as a replacement for Putin is something to be celebrated…

Simon Neale
SN
Simon Neale
9 months ago

Whatever the cause, whatever the outcome, we can’t just stand by and watch millions of Russians get slaughtered in a civil war. Now is the time for Rishi to throw open our borders and allow hundreds of thousands of Russians to come and live here in the UK, at the British taxpayer’s expense.

Liam F
LF
Liam F
9 months ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

Thats so funny! Why not indeed! They could join the waves of Russian mafia gangs that already carved up the London crime scene. They’ll feel right at home.

Katalin Kish (Melbourne, Australia)
KK
Katalin Kish (Melbourne, Australia)
9 months ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

Phew. I almost thought you were serious.

Liam F
LF
Liam F
9 months ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

Thats so funny! Why not indeed! They could join the waves of Russian mafia gangs that already carved up the London crime scene. They’ll feel right at home.

Katalin Kish (Melbourne, Australia)
KK
Katalin Kish (Melbourne, Australia)
9 months ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

Phew. I almost thought you were serious.

Simon Neale
SN
Simon Neale
9 months ago

Whatever the cause, whatever the outcome, we can’t just stand by and watch millions of Russians get slaughtered in a civil war. Now is the time for Rishi to throw open our borders and allow hundreds of thousands of Russians to come and live here in the UK, at the British taxpayer’s expense.

j watson
JW
j watson
9 months ago

It’s not a Coup. It’s a mutiny. And that’s how 1917 started. Putin will know his history.
Prigozhin’s Wagner is but one of the c10 private militia in Russia. Putin has his own praetorian guard – the largest. Kadyrov has his. Even the senior military commanders have there’s. Quite where loyalty for the confused soldier will lie remains to be seen if this really splinters. (Russia isn’t run by Oligarchs but by Mafia leaders each with their own criminal organisations paying tribute to the main Mafia Don – Putin)
Dilemma for Ukraine. Sit back and watch/hope they tear themselves apart, or all in now with full offensive but risk acting as rallying point for Putin? Suspect they’ll sit tight, few tactical advances but no major offensive immediately.

j watson
JW
j watson
9 months ago

It’s not a Coup. It’s a mutiny. And that’s how 1917 started. Putin will know his history.
Prigozhin’s Wagner is but one of the c10 private militia in Russia. Putin has his own praetorian guard – the largest. Kadyrov has his. Even the senior military commanders have there’s. Quite where loyalty for the confused soldier will lie remains to be seen if this really splinters. (Russia isn’t run by Oligarchs but by Mafia leaders each with their own criminal organisations paying tribute to the main Mafia Don – Putin)
Dilemma for Ukraine. Sit back and watch/hope they tear themselves apart, or all in now with full offensive but risk acting as rallying point for Putin? Suspect they’ll sit tight, few tactical advances but no major offensive immediately.

Phil Mac
PM
Phil Mac
9 months ago

Popcorn needed for sure, maybe also a few tonnes of canned food for the basement if that Country descends into chaos.

Phil Mac
PM
Phil Mac
9 months ago

Popcorn needed for sure, maybe also a few tonnes of canned food for the basement if that Country descends into chaos.

David Hedley
DH
David Hedley
9 months ago

I have heard one commentator say that Prigozhin would not have initiated this without having reasonable confidence that others would follow him; I presume that the next 2-3 days will be sufficient to test the substance of that, or not.

Whatever happens, I hope that Ukrainian commanders remain focussed on their key objectives, and are not distracted by what might be snuffed out quickly and ruthlessly in Russia.

Last edited 9 months ago by David Hedley
Daniel P
DP
Daniel P
9 months ago
Reply to  David Hedley

You are right. They need to take advantage of the distraction.

The longer that Russia has to stay focused internally, the more Putin has to invest in assuring that his position is safe, the less time, attention and resourced he can apply to Ukraine.

Not quite the Bolshevik revolution that caused Russia to pull out of WWI but there are parallels.

Peter N
PN
Peter N
9 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

The FSB rolled up Ukrainian sleeper cells this week. Did Putin know it was coming?

Prigozhin wasn’t turned by the CIA by the way. They’d have needed congressional approval. More like the British with CIA backing.

Peter N
PN
Peter N
9 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

The FSB rolled up Ukrainian sleeper cells this week. Did Putin know it was coming?

Prigozhin wasn’t turned by the CIA by the way. They’d have needed congressional approval. More like the British with CIA backing.

Daniel P
DP
Daniel P
9 months ago
Reply to  David Hedley

You are right. They need to take advantage of the distraction.

The longer that Russia has to stay focused internally, the more Putin has to invest in assuring that his position is safe, the less time, attention and resourced he can apply to Ukraine.

Not quite the Bolshevik revolution that caused Russia to pull out of WWI but there are parallels.

David Hedley
DH
David Hedley
9 months ago

I have heard one commentator say that Prigozhin would not have initiated this without having reasonable confidence that others would follow him; I presume that the next 2-3 days will be sufficient to test the substance of that, or not.

Whatever happens, I hope that Ukrainian commanders remain focussed on their key objectives, and are not distracted by what might be snuffed out quickly and ruthlessly in Russia.

Last edited 9 months ago by David Hedley
Peter Joy
PJ
Peter Joy
9 months ago

This seems to have been brewing for a while. Events seem to have gone to Prigozhin’s head (assuming the CIA haven’t ‘turned’ him). I guess he’s the Ernst Rohm of Russia, with Wagner the SA. If he thinks he and his 50,000 bandits can march on and take Moscow, he’s out of his mind. The core of the mutineers will be destroyed with heavy artillery and air power (much as happened to the French divisions that mutinied after the Nivelle Offensive in 1917). In the end, all this will do is cement and secure Putin’s position as Tsar.

Last edited 9 months ago by Peter Joy
Andrew F
Andrew F
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

Your analogy with SA doesn’t work because it was SS which moved first against SA.

Frank McCusker
FM
Frank McCusker
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

Too early to say. If he can hold out for a few weeks, Putin’s pedestal will start to wobble on all those skulls

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

I’m sure there is far more to this than meets the eye ….
Fog of war and all that ….

Last edited 9 months ago by Ian Barton
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Exactly, and It certainly feels strange to be sitting on a couch watching history unfold.

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Exactly, and It certainly feels strange to be sitting on a couch watching history unfold.

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
Andrew F
AF
Andrew F
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

Your analogy with SA doesn’t work because it was SS which moved first against SA.

Frank McCusker
FM
Frank McCusker
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

Too early to say. If he can hold out for a few weeks, Putin’s pedestal will start to wobble on all those skulls

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Joy

I’m sure there is far more to this than meets the eye ….
Fog of war and all that ….

Last edited 9 months ago by Ian Barton
Peter Joy
Peter Joy
9 months ago

This seems to have been brewing for a while. Events seem to have gone to Prigozhin’s head (assuming the CIA haven’t ‘turned’ him). I guess he’s the Ernst Rohm of Russia, with Wagner the SA. If he thinks he and his 50,000 bandits can march on and take Moscow, he’s out of his mind. The core of the mutineers will be destroyed with heavy artillery and air power (much as happened to the French divisions that mutinied after the Nivelle Offensive in 1917). In the end, all this will do is cement and secure Putin’s position as Tsar.

Last edited 9 months ago by Peter Joy
Anna Meanock
AM
Anna Meanock
9 months ago

Surely no one would want the Wagner mercenaries in command of Russia s foreign policy? They are even more aggressive, ruthless and inhuman than Putin..if there’s going to be a successful coup that topples Putin and benefits Ukraine and the future peace of the world- its not going to be the Wagner brigade. This is the equivalent for Putin of having a highly trained , dangerous guard dog which has turned rogue and is out of control. There can be no winners surely.

Anna Meanock
Anna Meanock
9 months ago

Surely no one would want the Wagner mercenaries in command of Russia s foreign policy? They are even more aggressive, ruthless and inhuman than Putin..if there’s going to be a successful coup that topples Putin and benefits Ukraine and the future peace of the world- its not going to be the Wagner brigade. This is the equivalent for Putin of having a highly trained , dangerous guard dog which has turned rogue and is out of control. There can be no winners surely.

Saul D
Saul D
9 months ago

I think this is a wait-and-see event. It is clearly off-beam – either someone is being totally idiotic (which has happened often enough before) or there is more to this that appears at first look.
Wagner and the Russian MOD have fallen out badly from reports this year. Elements of the Russian MOD have been trying to get control of Wagner, but if it’s just a spat, marching on Moscow is bonkers because it looks to all intents and purposes as if Prigozhin is really taking on Putin. And if that’s true, then one of the two will end up dead.
Wagner relies on the Russian Army for munitions and money and without that I doubt it could sustain a long attack, unless it is able to turn existing Russian soldiers to its cause. If Russian soldiers do switch to Wagner then Prigozhin can get to Moscow and potentially take Russia from Putin. But then, think about it, he may well be a much worse enemy to Ukraine than Putin.
If Prigozhin can’t flip Russian soldiers, then it looks like a suicide mission – the end both of Wagner and Prigozhin based on money and force size- (unless the US goes doolally and funds/arms him – but really, would the US want him running Russia? And would Prigozhin take US cash to create a coup?) Is Prigozhin being that stupid? There is no way back once you take up arms against Putin – all of Wagner will go.
None of this makes sense. So a speculation is that this is theatre.
What if elements in the Russian MOD/army were planning a putsch? They were going to arrange that Putin ‘gets ill’ and a general or junta takes over in Moscow? War in Ukraine would be stopped. Wagner disbanded/tried for war-crimes. Russia would come back cap-in hand to get into the international fold.
In Putin and Prigozhin believed a coup might be in the offing, then Wagner’s march to Moscow might be a way of pre-empting it – ‘saving’ Putin. Putin would then be able to declare a state of emergency, proclaim mass mobilization, and remove any and all potential ‘plotters’ and give the Wagner group control of the army.
I’m not saying that any of these are true, but there is enough fog to allow for this to unwind in ways that could be worse for Ukraine and world peace.

Saul D
Saul D
9 months ago

I think this is a wait-and-see event. It is clearly off-beam – either someone is being totally idiotic (which has happened often enough before) or there is more to this that appears at first look.
Wagner and the Russian MOD have fallen out badly from reports this year. Elements of the Russian MOD have been trying to get control of Wagner, but if it’s just a spat, marching on Moscow is bonkers because it looks to all intents and purposes as if Prigozhin is really taking on Putin. And if that’s true, then one of the two will end up dead.
Wagner relies on the Russian Army for munitions and money and without that I doubt it could sustain a long attack, unless it is able to turn existing Russian soldiers to its cause. If Russian soldiers do switch to Wagner then Prigozhin can get to Moscow and potentially take Russia from Putin. But then, think about it, he may well be a much worse enemy to Ukraine than Putin.
If Prigozhin can’t flip Russian soldiers, then it looks like a suicide mission – the end both of Wagner and Prigozhin based on money and force size- (unless the US goes doolally and funds/arms him – but really, would the US want him running Russia? And would Prigozhin take US cash to create a coup?) Is Prigozhin being that stupid? There is no way back once you take up arms against Putin – all of Wagner will go.
None of this makes sense. So a speculation is that this is theatre.
What if elements in the Russian MOD/army were planning a putsch? They were going to arrange that Putin ‘gets ill’ and a general or junta takes over in Moscow? War in Ukraine would be stopped. Wagner disbanded/tried for war-crimes. Russia would come back cap-in hand to get into the international fold.
In Putin and Prigozhin believed a coup might be in the offing, then Wagner’s march to Moscow might be a way of pre-empting it – ‘saving’ Putin. Putin would then be able to declare a state of emergency, proclaim mass mobilization, and remove any and all potential ‘plotters’ and give the Wagner group control of the army.
I’m not saying that any of these are true, but there is enough fog to allow for this to unwind in ways that could be worse for Ukraine and world peace.

Jim Veenbaas
JV
Jim Veenbaas
9 months ago

Chaos is never good. Prolonged chaos could be a disaster. I hope this ends well for all of us.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

A 10 megaton strike on London would vaporise Quislington, along with some others areas of little importance.

Hardee Hodges
HH
Hardee Hodges
9 months ago

Making the assumption that a poorly maintained complex weapon manages to even take flight.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

I was assuming it came in a container via Felixstowe.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

I was assuming it came in a container via Felixstowe.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
9 months ago

Making the assumption that a poorly maintained complex weapon manages to even take flight.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

A 10 megaton strike on London would vaporise Quislington, along with some others areas of little importance.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
9 months ago

Chaos is never good. Prolonged chaos could be a disaster. I hope this ends well for all of us.

Mustard Clementine
Mustard Clementine
9 months ago

“Neither man can back down. The lines are drawn and irrevocable.”
The fact it certainly seemed that way makes the way things ended today all the more bizarre.
I think it shows that Putin must really be dependent upon Wagner, if he actually lets them off without serious consequences. Especially if he is willing to tacitly admit this publicly – as one could easily interpret letting them off to imply.
This is a very strange response from a showboat strongman.
Equally strange that Prigozhin would go for broke in this way, make it largely unchallenged within hours of Moscow – and then just back down?
Very suspiciously strange, all around.  

martin logan
ML
martin logan
9 months ago

Russia still has plenty of aviation. On an open road, Prigozhin’s guys would have been sitting ducks to high-flying aircraft.
The amazing part is that every rebel gets of so easily. Unless Lukashenka has prepared some special tea for Prigozhin, he will pose a threat similar to the one Lenin and Trotsky posed for various leaders of Russia.
This is only the beginning.

martin logan
martin logan
9 months ago

Russia still has plenty of aviation. On an open road, Prigozhin’s guys would have been sitting ducks to high-flying aircraft.
The amazing part is that every rebel gets of so easily. Unless Lukashenka has prepared some special tea for Prigozhin, he will pose a threat similar to the one Lenin and Trotsky posed for various leaders of Russia.
This is only the beginning.

Mustard Clementine
Mustard Clementine
9 months ago

“Neither man can back down. The lines are drawn and irrevocable.”
The fact it certainly seemed that way makes the way things ended today all the more bizarre.
I think it shows that Putin must really be dependent upon Wagner, if he actually lets them off without serious consequences. Especially if he is willing to tacitly admit this publicly – as one could easily interpret letting them off to imply.
This is a very strange response from a showboat strongman.
Equally strange that Prigozhin would go for broke in this way, make it largely unchallenged within hours of Moscow – and then just back down?
Very suspiciously strange, all around.  

Chauncey Gardiner
CG
Chauncey Gardiner
9 months ago

“Neither man can back down. The lines are drawn and irrevocable.”
Ah, well. “The easiest person to fool is oneself.” — Richard Feynman

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
9 months ago

“Neither man can back down. The lines are drawn and irrevocable.”
Ah, well. “The easiest person to fool is oneself.” — Richard Feynman

Mikis Hasson
Mikis Hasson
9 months ago

I wonder with what excuse the writer describes Putin as a dictator when he is democratically elected and there is no poll that indicates that he doesn’t have overwhelming popularity among Russians. I guess the herd mentality of viewing him as the personification of evil is possessing the writer. An unheard article this is not!

Richard Katz
Richard Katz
9 months ago
Reply to  Mikis Hasson

I realise the author of this UNHERD article is biased pro Ukrainian but nevertheless wonder what his sources where for the heavy fighting between Wagner and Russian forces….???.
A Ukrainian fantasy?

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
9 months ago
Reply to  Mikis Hasson

Hitler came to power by using the democratic means prescribed by Germany’s constitution. He also was wildly popular during most of his reign; this has been well-documented. So — is it unjust to call him a dictator too?

Richard Katz
Richard Katz
9 months ago
Reply to  Mikis Hasson

I realise the author of this UNHERD article is biased pro Ukrainian but nevertheless wonder what his sources where for the heavy fighting between Wagner and Russian forces….???.
A Ukrainian fantasy?

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
9 months ago
Reply to  Mikis Hasson

Hitler came to power by using the democratic means prescribed by Germany’s constitution. He also was wildly popular during most of his reign; this has been well-documented. So — is it unjust to call him a dictator too?

Mikis Hasson
Mikis Hasson
9 months ago

I wonder with what excuse the writer describes Putin as a dictator when he is democratically elected and there is no poll that indicates that he doesn’t have overwhelming popularity among Russians. I guess the herd mentality of viewing him as the personification of evil is possessing the writer. An unheard article this is not!

Andrea Heyting
Andrea Heyting
9 months ago

Is it too early to hope for the downfall of Putin?

Peter N
Peter N
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrea Heyting

Yes. Prigozhin has a few thousand troops who are patriotic Russians even if they are criminals. How long will they stay loyal when they encounter the Russian military’s artillery?

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrea Heyting

To be replaced by what exactly?

Peter N
Peter N
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrea Heyting

Yes. Prigozhin has a few thousand troops who are patriotic Russians even if they are criminals. How long will they stay loyal when they encounter the Russian military’s artillery?

Rocky Martiano
RM
Rocky Martiano
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrea Heyting

To be replaced by what exactly?

Andrea Heyting
AH
Andrea Heyting
9 months ago

Is it too early to hope for the downfall of Putin?

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
9 months ago

And so ends the latest in history’s long line of marches on Moscow. The snow must fall particularly heavily at this time of year.

David Lindsay
DL
David Lindsay
9 months ago

And so ends the latest in history’s long line of marches on Moscow. The snow must fall particularly heavily at this time of year.

martin logan
martin logan
9 months ago

Suspect the threat of heavy aviation strikes (bombs and napalm) concentrated Prigozhin’s mind wonderfully.
But exile to Belarus is also a sub-optimal solution for Putin. A number of exiled opponents of various Russian regimes came back in triumph.
The popularity of the Vagnerites in Rostov was also telling. Russians are frustrated with the war, and any move to resolve it seems to have a great deal of support. But Putin still stubbornly refuses to fire any of his top brass.
Having a “king over the water” is never a comfortable situation for any monarch, especially one who’s failed this badly. Nikolai II and Stalin can talk about that.
Most important, Prigozhin proved that, unlike in the case of 6 Jan 2021 in the US, Russians can try to overthrow the state and there will be no consequences.
Maybe Rule of Law isn’t quite as irrelevant as some argue?

Last edited 9 months ago by martin logan
Saul D
Saul D
9 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

With Prigozhin’s exile to Belarus, do parts of his militia go with him? Maps and geography… Unless one of Putin or Prigozhin are taken out in short order, this still feels like theatre – a weekend, a summer solstice, perhaps someone out of the office and July 4 around the corner. Let’s see what Monday and Tuesday bring…

stephen archer
stephen archer
9 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

This article and all the comments I fear are premature. The consequences of what happened in the last 36 hours will only be apparent in the coming weeks. No one knows, not the experts, defintely not the West’s leaders. Prig in exile, really? What about the 25K mercenaries? Lukaschenko as a mediator?? The possibly stage managed manoeuvres, even being prepared to sacrifice a few choppers and personnel. What strikes me is that everyone seems to be taking the news from Russia at face value, i.e. true, where for the past 16 months nothing coming from there has been believable. I suspect there’s something more sinister going on with Putin and Prigozhin as a pretext for future developments. My paranoia is active but in matters of security, be it national security or IT security, balanced paranoia is an essential capability. I’m assuming and hoping the Ukrainian leaders and military are wide awake while the West is just hoping for the best.

Last edited 9 months ago by stephen archer
AJ Mac
AM
AJ Mac
9 months ago
Reply to  stephen archer

Premature? Yes. But UnHerd had to give us something, right? The article was also posted even before yesterday’s dramatic, real-time real-world military drama hit our Western screens. Most commenters aren’t claiming to know all the internal details or foretell the outcome, but exclaiming, speculating, reflecting, and maybe seeking a sort of chattering fellowship or remote “group therapy”.

AJ Mac
AM
AJ Mac
9 months ago
Reply to  stephen archer

Premature? Yes. But UnHerd had to give us something, right? The article was also posted even before yesterday’s dramatic, real-time real-world military drama hit our Western screens. Most commenters aren’t claiming to know all the internal details or foretell the outcome, but exclaiming, speculating, reflecting, and maybe seeking a sort of chattering fellowship or remote “group therapy”.

Saul D
SD
Saul D
9 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

With Prigozhin’s exile to Belarus, do parts of his militia go with him? Maps and geography… Unless one of Putin or Prigozhin are taken out in short order, this still feels like theatre – a weekend, a summer solstice, perhaps someone out of the office and July 4 around the corner. Let’s see what Monday and Tuesday bring…

stephen archer
SA
stephen archer
9 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

This article and all the comments I fear are premature. The consequences of what happened in the last 36 hours will only be apparent in the coming weeks. No one knows, not the experts, defintely not the West’s leaders. Prig in exile, really? What about the 25K mercenaries? Lukaschenko as a mediator?? The possibly stage managed manoeuvres, even being prepared to sacrifice a few choppers and personnel. What strikes me is that everyone seems to be taking the news from Russia at face value, i.e. true, where for the past 16 months nothing coming from there has been believable. I suspect there’s something more sinister going on with Putin and Prigozhin as a pretext for future developments. My paranoia is active but in matters of security, be it national security or IT security, balanced paranoia is an essential capability. I’m assuming and hoping the Ukrainian leaders and military are wide awake while the West is just hoping for the best.

Last edited 9 months ago by stephen archer
martin logan
martin logan
9 months ago

Suspect the threat of heavy aviation strikes (bombs and napalm) concentrated Prigozhin’s mind wonderfully.
But exile to Belarus is also a sub-optimal solution for Putin. A number of exiled opponents of various Russian regimes came back in triumph.
The popularity of the Vagnerites in Rostov was also telling. Russians are frustrated with the war, and any move to resolve it seems to have a great deal of support. But Putin still stubbornly refuses to fire any of his top brass.
Having a “king over the water” is never a comfortable situation for any monarch, especially one who’s failed this badly. Nikolai II and Stalin can talk about that.
Most important, Prigozhin proved that, unlike in the case of 6 Jan 2021 in the US, Russians can try to overthrow the state and there will be no consequences.
Maybe Rule of Law isn’t quite as irrelevant as some argue?

Last edited 9 months ago by martin logan
Walter Schwager
WS
Walter Schwager
9 months ago

This article has already become obsolete because of events on the ground.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 months ago

Of course. But one of the key features of this website, for good and ill, is the wide-open nature of the comments, allowing for anything from a direct reply to a non-pertinent or idiosyncratic take, thinly or even totally unrelated to the article, like this one of mine.
They don’t seem to work weekends much here in any public way. I think they’ll give us something of more currency and salience tomorrow.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 months ago

Of course. But one of the key features of this website, for good and ill, is the wide-open nature of the comments, allowing for anything from a direct reply to a non-pertinent or idiosyncratic take, thinly or even totally unrelated to the article, like this one of mine.
They don’t seem to work weekends much here in any public way. I think they’ll give us something of more currency and salience tomorrow.

Walter Schwager
Walter Schwager
9 months ago

This article has already become obsolete because of events on the ground.

Kirk Susong
KS
Kirk Susong
9 months ago

“I told you it was all” – all what? Because apparently the spat was not “all for show”

Kirk Susong
KS
Kirk Susong
9 months ago

“I told you it was all” – all what? Because apparently the spat was not “all for show”

Anthony Roe
Anthony Roe
9 months ago

Putin will be lucky if it’s the window rather than sledgehammers. When the mafia boss develops delusions of grandeur that interfere with making money he will find he has no friends left.

Anthony Roe
AR
Anthony Roe
9 months ago

Putin will be lucky if it’s the window rather than sledgehammers. When the mafia boss develops delusions of grandeur that interfere with making money he will find he has no friends left.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

Oops, Putin has been apprised not “appraised”.

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
Clare Knight
CK
Clare Knight
9 months ago

Oops, Putin has been apprised not “appraised”.

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
Anthony L
Anthony L
9 months ago

For Ukrainians, the best case is that this leaves Putin’s regime intact but too battered to continue with the war (at least for a few years), but if Prigozhin succeeds, what’s the likelihood that he’ll just abandon Ukraine? His entire business is war – he won’t just settle into the duties of domestic administration.

Last edited 9 months ago by Anthony L
Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
9 months ago
Reply to  Anthony L

Prigozhin is in it for money, nothing else. The Ukrainian conflict is ruinously expensive for the state, therefore if he had taken power I’d imagine he’d have abandoned the idea and concentrated on his escapades in the mineral rich nations of Africa, which offer much more rewards with much less effort

Jeff Watkins
JW
Jeff Watkins
9 months ago

This seems like a dispute between Prigozhin and the top brass of the Russian military. It should be remembered that the Wagner group was founded during the invasion of Crimea in 2014 and they are Russian patriots. So this sounds like a bargaining position to gain more resources and to step up the pace of the war in Ukraine.

Andrea Heyting
Andrea Heyting
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Watkins

Not sure if I agree – what Prigozhin said about the war seemed to exonerate Putin and blame the generals. Powerplay fo sure, and gives Putin a way out. I don’t know if I want popcorn or a bunker.

Peter N
PN
Peter N
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrea Heyting

Putin turned on Prigozhin yesterday. So Prigozhin now says Putin is the enemy.

Last edited 9 months ago by Peter N
Peter N
PN
Peter N
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrea Heyting

Putin turned on Prigozhin yesterday. So Prigozhin now says Putin is the enemy.

Last edited 9 months ago by Peter N
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Watkins

The Wagner group in its current form consists largely of mercenary ex-prisoners. And Prigozhin’s mindset is one of extreme nationalism more than mere patriotism.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Look to what happened to Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von Wallenstein, one of the great thugs of the 30 years War*, if you want to know what comes next.

(* 1618-48.)

AJ Mac
AM
AJ Mac
9 months ago

Intriguing parallel. Do you think Putin could suffer something analogous to the Ides of March, 44BC?

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I think there is a distinct possibility that may happen.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I think there is a distinct possibility that may happen.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 months ago

Intriguing parallel. Do you think Putin could suffer something analogous to the Ides of March, 44BC?

Clare Knight
CK
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Prigozhin has, apparetly, spilled the beans about Russian interference in US elections and that there were no nazis in Ukraine, or any persecuted Russians. He’s noe,undoubtedly, a marked man.

AJ Mac
AM
AJ Mac
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

The fact that he is still alive, for now, with a soft landing in Belarus, shows surprising influence and cunning on Prigozhin’s part, and major implied weakness and fear from Putin.

AJ Mac
AM
AJ Mac
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

The fact that he is still alive, for now, with a soft landing in Belarus, shows surprising influence and cunning on Prigozhin’s part, and major implied weakness and fear from Putin.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
9 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Look to what happened to Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von Wallenstein, one of the great thugs of the 30 years War*, if you want to know what comes next.

(* 1618-48.)

Clare Knight
CK
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Prigozhin has, apparetly, spilled the beans about Russian interference in US elections and that there were no nazis in Ukraine, or any persecuted Russians. He’s noe,undoubtedly, a marked man.

Hardee Hodges
HH
Hardee Hodges
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Watkins

Wagner was well before Crimea. But their looting was elsewhere. Released criminals are rarely patriots, more about their hope for personal gain. But Prigozhin knows these men well.

Andrea Heyting
Andrea Heyting
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Watkins

Not sure if I agree – what Prigozhin said about the war seemed to exonerate Putin and blame the generals. Powerplay fo sure, and gives Putin a way out. I don’t know if I want popcorn or a bunker.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Watkins

The Wagner group in its current form consists largely of mercenary ex-prisoners. And Prigozhin’s mindset is one of extreme nationalism more than mere patriotism.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Watkins

Wagner was well before Crimea. But their looting was elsewhere. Released criminals are rarely patriots, more about their hope for personal gain. But Prigozhin knows these men well.

Jeff Watkins
Jeff Watkins
9 months ago

This seems like a dispute between Prigozhin and the top brass of the Russian military. It should be remembered that the Wagner group was founded during the invasion of Crimea in 2014 and they are Russian patriots. So this sounds like a bargaining position to gain more resources and to step up the pace of the war in Ukraine.

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
9 months ago

Developments of this kind are normal in wars. Allegiances shift even among principled parties. Never mind mercenaries. As to who were the Wagner Group’s new paymasters, we shall find out soon enough. But they had better not include us. What if the other side won? Or another side, yet to emerge as such? Where would that leave us?

David Lindsay
DL
David Lindsay
9 months ago

Developments of this kind are normal in wars. Allegiances shift even among principled parties. Never mind mercenaries. As to who were the Wagner Group’s new paymasters, we shall find out soon enough. But they had better not include us. What if the other side won? Or another side, yet to emerge as such? Where would that leave us?

René Descartes
RD
René Descartes
9 months ago

Actually it was Prig who declared war on Putin. The outcome? Prig was allowed to make a strategic climb-down no doubt with the implicit promise that he will eventually be installed as a Russian puppet leader of Belarus. Hardly a victory for Putin but hardly a disaster either. And with these two war criminals still in charge not much benefit for Ukraine or the West either.

Richard Katz
RK
Richard Katz
9 months ago

Most of these comments seem to miss an important point:
Prigozhin is a MERCENARY….he is in it for MONEY and Russian sources indicate :
a) That he marched towards Moscow to “get”money
b) Part of the Belarus deal gives him MONEY, a lot of it..

This is a short term victory for Prigohzin, but how long he will survive is the question…
Like Stalin, Putin has proved excellent at eliminating opposition..think about how he emerged and then eg Khodorsky years ago, Browder, many Oligarchs and many many Russians..

Richard Katz
RK
Richard Katz
9 months ago

Most of these comments seem to miss an important point:
Prigozhin is a MERCENARY….he is in it for MONEY and Russian sources indicate :
a) That he marched towards Moscow to “get”money
b) Part of the Belarus deal gives him MONEY, a lot of it..

This is a short term victory for Prigohzin, but how long he will survive is the question…
Like Stalin, Putin has proved excellent at eliminating opposition..think about how he emerged and then eg Khodorsky years ago, Browder, many Oligarchs and many many Russians..

René Descartes
René Descartes
9 months ago

Actually it was Prig who declared war on Putin. The outcome? Prig was allowed to make a strategic climb-down no doubt with the implicit promise that he will eventually be installed as a Russian puppet leader of Belarus. Hardly a victory for Putin but hardly a disaster either. And with these two war criminals still in charge not much benefit for Ukraine or the West either.

Prashant Kotak
PK
Prashant Kotak
9 months ago

Never mind Putin, our very own Philip Pilkington will *not* be happy.

Samuel Ross
SR
Samuel Ross
9 months ago

Everyone should be friends and get along.

David Lindsay
DL
David Lindsay
9 months ago

24 hours ago, the mere existence of the Wagner Group was screeched as the proof that the Russians, and by extension all critics of Boris Johnson’s war in Ukraine, were “the real Nazis”, and that we had pretty much made up Svoboda, Pravy Sektor, the National Corps, C14, the Azov Battalion, the Aidar Battalion, the Donbas Battalion, the Dnipro-1 Battalion, the Dnipro-2 Battalion, and the Kraken Regiment.

What a difference a day makes. Suddenly, Yevgeny Prigozhin is Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He’s not, you know. He is really, reallyreally not. Instead, he has changed sides, as belligerents in any war often do, to ally instead with the Freedom of Russia Legion and with the Russian Volunteer Corps, as well as with all of the above. He has done so only for the money, of course; that is what mercenaries do and are. But if the Wagner Group were not Nazis, albeit for pay, yesterday, then they certainly are today. And you love them for it.

Instead of being on neither or no side due to having little interest while nevertheless needing, to some extent, to have to deal with whoever won, the British Government loves them for it. The Labour Party, and therefore also the SDLP, love them for it. The Liberal Democrats, and therefore also the Alliance Party, love them for it. The SNP, and therefore also Plaid Cymru, love them it. The Greens, who are the King’s Party in every way, and who are already hardline hawks in government in Germany, love them for it. The DUP, the National Conservatives, and the Boris Johnson Fan Club that is the Conservative Democratic Organisation, love them for it. The Socialist Campaign Group loves them for it. Sinn Féin loves them for it.

Last edited 9 months ago by David Lindsay
David Lindsay
DL
David Lindsay
9 months ago

24 hours ago, the mere existence of the Wagner Group was screeched as the proof that the Russians, and by extension all critics of Boris Johnson’s war in Ukraine, were “the real Nazis”, and that we had pretty much made up Svoboda, Pravy Sektor, the National Corps, C14, the Azov Battalion, the Aidar Battalion, the Donbas Battalion, the Dnipro-1 Battalion, the Dnipro-2 Battalion, and the Kraken Regiment.

What a difference a day makes. Suddenly, Yevgeny Prigozhin is Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He’s not, you know. He is really, reallyreally not. Instead, he has changed sides, as belligerents in any war often do, to ally instead with the Freedom of Russia Legion and with the Russian Volunteer Corps, as well as with all of the above. He has done so only for the money, of course; that is what mercenaries do and are. But if the Wagner Group were not Nazis, albeit for pay, yesterday, then they certainly are today. And you love them for it.

Instead of being on neither or no side due to having little interest while nevertheless needing, to some extent, to have to deal with whoever won, the British Government loves them for it. The Labour Party, and therefore also the SDLP, love them for it. The Liberal Democrats, and therefore also the Alliance Party, love them for it. The SNP, and therefore also Plaid Cymru, love them it. The Greens, who are the King’s Party in every way, and who are already hardline hawks in government in Germany, love them for it. The DUP, the National Conservatives, and the Boris Johnson Fan Club that is the Conservative Democratic Organisation, love them for it. The Socialist Campaign Group loves them for it. Sinn Féin loves them for it.

Last edited 9 months ago by David Lindsay
Ciaran Rooney
CR
Ciaran Rooney
9 months ago

The author has been consistently wrong about this conflict from the very start. He’s been so quiet of late that I thought he may have changed sides. Russia did in fact defeat Ukraine in 3 days but foolishly trusted Kiev’s word in a peace agreement. I trust he has made plans to leave Odessa asap.

zee upītis
ZU
zee upītis
9 months ago
Reply to  Ciaran Rooney

There was no peace agreement, you’re raving mad to even suggest anything like that could possibly happen at the time.

zee upītis
ZU
zee upītis
9 months ago
Reply to  Ciaran Rooney

There was no peace agreement, you’re raving mad to even suggest anything like that could possibly happen at the time.

Ciaran Rooney
Ciaran Rooney
9 months ago

The author has been consistently wrong about this conflict from the very start. He’s been so quiet of late that I thought he may have changed sides. Russia did in fact defeat Ukraine in 3 days but foolishly trusted Kiev’s word in a peace agreement. I trust he has made plans to leave Odessa asap.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
NS
Nicky Samengo-Turner
9 months ago

Is he by any chance related to Ras Putin?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
NS
Nicky Samengo-Turner
9 months ago

Is he by any chance related to Ras Putin?

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
9 months ago

That’s mercenaries for you. But whatever is happening in Russia, it is no concern of ours.

We have no dog in any fight between Sergei Shoigu and Yevgeny Prigozhin, any more than between them and Volodymyr Zelensky. One of those three is poised to order the detonation of the nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia, the largest in Europe. Should that happen, then there would be endless arguments as to which of them had done it. But already, no one is in principle putting it past any of them.

We have no dog in any fight between the Spetsnaz GRU and the Wagner Group, any more than between them and the Azov Battalion. But, heaven help us, we are going to have the deal with whichever dog had won that fight. We must stay out of it.

Peter B
PB
Peter B
9 months ago
Reply to  David Lindsay

Incoherent.
I’m not at all clear from what you write that “staying out of it” is any more a guarantee of safety than getting involved.
If the Russians choose to blow up a nuclear power plant (and let’s bin the absurd suggestions that the Ukrainians would), that’s on them. It won’t work out well for them.
In any case, I very much doubt we could get involved in the current chaos within Russia. We’ll just have to let these desperate crazies fight it out. Just a shame they can’t all lose.

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

It is not incoherent. You just do not agree with it, and you are used to being agreed with.

Peter B
PB
Peter B
9 months ago
Reply to  David Lindsay

Quite happy for people to disagree !

Peter B
Peter B
9 months ago
Reply to  David Lindsay

Quite happy for people to disagree !

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

It is not incoherent. You just do not agree with it, and you are used to being agreed with.

Mike Patterson
Mike Patterson
9 months ago
Reply to  David Lindsay

I haven’t been following NATO’s (aka, America’s) war against Russia, so not sure I fully get your comment. But if you’re saying that NATO and the West bear almost full responsibility for this proxy war, I agree with you.

Peter B
Peter B
9 months ago
Reply to  David Lindsay

Incoherent.
I’m not at all clear from what you write that “staying out of it” is any more a guarantee of safety than getting involved.
If the Russians choose to blow up a nuclear power plant (and let’s bin the absurd suggestions that the Ukrainians would), that’s on them. It won’t work out well for them.
In any case, I very much doubt we could get involved in the current chaos within Russia. We’ll just have to let these desperate crazies fight it out. Just a shame they can’t all lose.

Mike Patterson
Mike Patterson
9 months ago
Reply to  David Lindsay

I haven’t been following NATO’s (aka, America’s) war against Russia, so not sure I fully get your comment. But if you’re saying that NATO and the West bear almost full responsibility for this proxy war, I agree with you.

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
9 months ago

That’s mercenaries for you. But whatever is happening in Russia, it is no concern of ours.

We have no dog in any fight between Sergei Shoigu and Yevgeny Prigozhin, any more than between them and Volodymyr Zelensky. One of those three is poised to order the detonation of the nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia, the largest in Europe. Should that happen, then there would be endless arguments as to which of them had done it. But already, no one is in principle putting it past any of them.

We have no dog in any fight between the Spetsnaz GRU and the Wagner Group, any more than between them and the Azov Battalion. But, heaven help us, we are going to have the deal with whichever dog had won that fight. We must stay out of it.