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Is Yevgeny Prigozhin really dead?

Rumours abound that Prigozhin has not gone to his grave just yet

August 24, 2023 - 11:50am

Yesterday evening, Russia’s civil aviation agency reported the death of Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, after his name was listed among the passengers of a jet which crashed in the Tver region, north-west of the capital. All 10 on board, three crew and seven passengers, were killed, according to Russian state media. 

While Moscow-based broadcaster Tsargrad claimed that Prigozhin’s body had been identified, much of the Western media has been careful not to confirm the death of Vladimir Putin’s confidante-turned-nemesis. The BBC, for instance, notably changed its description of Prigozhin from “killed” to “presumed dead”.

What’s behind this rising tide of scepticism over Prigozhin’s fate? Below are three factors giving Russia-watchers pause for thought…

The other plane:

The UK press, drawing on claims from Wagner-affiliated Telegram groups, has reported that a second aircraft supposedly belonging to Prigozhin landed safely in Moscow yesterday evening. Flight radar captured the jet travelling over the same Tver region in which the other plane crashed. Russian military bloggers have suggested that the Wagner boss was equally likely to have travelled on the second, slightly larger plane.

The other Prigozhin:

Keir Giles, Senior Consulting Fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House, has told the US Mirror that a body appearing to belong to Prigozhin might actually be his body double. “Until we know for certain that it’s the right Prigozhin, let’s not be surprised if he pops up shortly in a new video from Africa [where he was filmed earlier this week],” he continued. Moreover, he added, “it is also known that multiple individuals have changed their name to Yevgeny Prigozhin, as part of his efforts to obfuscate his travels”.

The other crash:

This is not the first time Prigozhin has been thought dead, nor even the first time his demise has been attributed to a plane crash. In October 2019, Russian news website Readovka claimed that the Wagner leader had died on board a jet flying to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he was set to meet African leaders. A few days later, state media agency RIA Novosti denied the report, saying that Prigozhin was in Russia at the time and “very surprised to be considered dead”. After this near-miss, could Putin’s most dangerous rival have cheated death again?


is UnHerd’s Assistant Editor, Newsroom.

RobLownie

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Right-Wing Hippie
RH
Right-Wing Hippie
8 months ago

Ask him to say hi to Lin Biao for me.

Richard Craven
RC
Richard Craven
7 months ago

Haha!

Richard Craven
RC
Richard Craven
7 months ago

Haha!

Right-Wing Hippie
RH
Right-Wing Hippie
8 months ago

Ask him to say hi to Lin Biao for me.

Xeno Spinoza
Xeno Spinoza
8 months ago

He could be visiting his mum

Xeno Spinoza
XS
Xeno Spinoza
8 months ago

He could be visiting his mum

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
8 months ago

At the time when the Wagner group marched towards Moscow and turned back midway, some commentators including a German General were commenting, that it might be all staged. Perfect way for Putin to find out, which of his people , especially his generals, were sitting on the fence. Surely enough the deputy commander of Russian troops in Ukraine, Surovikin, was placed under house arrest afterwards. Wonder what will happen to him in the near future. Nobody believed in Putin’s pardoning and the Wagner troops peacefully moving to Belarus.
It might be a conspiracy theory, but with Putin anything is possible or it is Prigozhin’s final vanishing act. Who knows…

martin logan
ML
martin logan
7 months ago

Oh, Putin is a master at this!
That’s how he has taken 95% of Ukraine’s territory.
Pure genius!

martin logan
martin logan
7 months ago

Oh, Putin is a master at this!
That’s how he has taken 95% of Ukraine’s territory.
Pure genius!

Stephanie Surface
SS
Stephanie Surface
8 months ago

At the time when the Wagner group marched towards Moscow and turned back midway, some commentators including a German General were commenting, that it might be all staged. Perfect way for Putin to find out, which of his people , especially his generals, were sitting on the fence. Surely enough the deputy commander of Russian troops in Ukraine, Surovikin, was placed under house arrest afterwards. Wonder what will happen to him in the near future. Nobody believed in Putin’s pardoning and the Wagner troops peacefully moving to Belarus.
It might be a conspiracy theory, but with Putin anything is possible or it is Prigozhin’s final vanishing act. Who knows…

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
8 months ago

My first thought when I heard the “news” of Prigozhin’s demise from Russian sources was “I bet he’s not dead, I bet this is staged”.
I’m thinking that this is a ruse and that Prigozhin is going to pop up somewhere in Western Europe in the next few weeks. The Poles have been concerned about Wagner soldiers smuggling themselves onto NATO territory posing as migrants.
Why not smuggle the big beast himself in and have him pop up – surprise! – posing for a selfie in front of the Brandenburg Gate or something? Or in neutral Austria? That would be the ultimate provocation – not to mention the ultimate in bad taste and cynicism. In other words: exactly Putin’s game.

Last edited 8 months ago by Katharine Eyre
martin logan
martin logan
7 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Indeed.
Putin’s popping up in Kyiv, after his army took it, was exactly “his game.”
Remember how surprised we all were?

martin logan
martin logan
7 months ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Indeed.
Putin’s popping up in Kyiv, after his army took it, was exactly “his game.”
Remember how surprised we all were?

Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
8 months ago

My first thought when I heard the “news” of Prigozhin’s demise from Russian sources was “I bet he’s not dead, I bet this is staged”.
I’m thinking that this is a ruse and that Prigozhin is going to pop up somewhere in Western Europe in the next few weeks. The Poles have been concerned about Wagner soldiers smuggling themselves onto NATO territory posing as migrants.
Why not smuggle the big beast himself in and have him pop up – surprise! – posing for a selfie in front of the Brandenburg Gate or something? Or in neutral Austria? That would be the ultimate provocation – not to mention the ultimate in bad taste and cynicism. In other words: exactly Putin’s game.

Last edited 8 months ago by Katharine Eyre
Nik Jewell
Nik Jewell
8 months ago

On top of this uncertainty, France and the USA also have good reason to want him dead, given the unfolding situation in the Sahel.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
7 months ago
Reply to  Nik Jewell

No western nation is going to shoot down a Wagner jet in Russian airspace

Nik Jewell
Nik Jewell
7 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Agreed, but it looks more like a bomb.
I will go – 99% he’s dead, and 98% the order came for Putin!

Nik Jewell
NJ
Nik Jewell
7 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Agreed, but it looks more like a bomb.
I will go – 99% he’s dead, and 98% the order came for Putin!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
7 months ago
Reply to  Nik Jewell

No western nation is going to shoot down a Wagner jet in Russian airspace

Nik Jewell
NJ
Nik Jewell
8 months ago

On top of this uncertainty, France and the USA also have good reason to want him dead, given the unfolding situation in the Sahel.

jane baker
jane baker
8 months ago

Not that I care,but on reflection I don’t think he’s shuffled off this mortal coil. It’s too much like a story where the bad guy gets his just desserts in the end which does not happen in real life,this life anyway.

martin logan
martin logan
7 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Indeed.
Look at Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, Qaddafi, Saddam…
All died in their sleep…

martin logan
martin logan
7 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Indeed.
Look at Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, Qaddafi, Saddam…
All died in their sleep…

jane baker
jane baker
8 months ago

Not that I care,but on reflection I don’t think he’s shuffled off this mortal coil. It’s too much like a story where the bad guy gets his just desserts in the end which does not happen in real life,this life anyway.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
8 months ago

He’s dead.
And his death shows why the current war will either end in a Ukrainian victory, or a ceasefire, negotiated or otherwise.
Any agreement made with Putin, or with almost all Russian politicians, is worthless.
They see anyone willing to make a deal as weak, or a fool.
Get used to this war.
It will be around quite awhile.

D Walsh
DW
D Walsh
8 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

The Russians are winning

martin logan
martin logan
7 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Nice to see all those attacks on Crimea.
The algorithm for your exclusively Russian feed have any youtube videos of it?
Thought not…

Last edited 7 months ago by martin logan
martin logan
ML
martin logan
7 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Nice to see all those attacks on Crimea.
The algorithm for your exclusively Russian feed have any youtube videos of it?
Thought not…

Last edited 7 months ago by martin logan
D Walsh
D Walsh
8 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

The Russians are winning

martin logan
ML
martin logan
8 months ago

He’s dead.
And his death shows why the current war will either end in a Ukrainian victory, or a ceasefire, negotiated or otherwise.
Any agreement made with Putin, or with almost all Russian politicians, is worthless.
They see anyone willing to make a deal as weak, or a fool.
Get used to this war.
It will be around quite awhile.

Dominic A
Dominic A
8 months ago

When and if the Kremlin/ Putin acknowledge his death, it’ll be sure – they would not embarrass themselves by getting that wrong. As it is now, the confirmation of his death has only come from The Ministry of Emergency Situations – who I’m sure could and would be defenestrated without much embarrassment to the big man.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
7 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Wheels within wheels!!

martin logan
martin logan
7 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Wheels within wheels!!

Dominic A
Dominic A
8 months ago

When and if the Kremlin/ Putin acknowledge his death, it’ll be sure – they would not embarrass themselves by getting that wrong. As it is now, the confirmation of his death has only come from The Ministry of Emergency Situations – who I’m sure could and would be defenestrated without much embarrassment to the big man.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
8 months ago

I don’t know. Have you checked his pulse?

Hugh Bryant
HB
Hugh Bryant
8 months ago

I don’t know. Have you checked his pulse?

martin logan
martin logan
7 months ago

Some westerners are getting as dumb as Russians.
The cult of Prigozhin’s imminent Resurrection seems already to be gaining strength.
Just as the Cult of the False Dmitry (that one had two of them!), and the Cult of Pugachev as the Reincarnation of Ekaterina’s murdered husband.
This will probably last for a little while among westerners–and become a fixture among Real Russians. That’s just how their tiny minds work.
They still hadn’t adopted European Medieval Evidence Based analysis–so about 800 years behind the West
Nice attack on Crimea, BTW.

Last edited 7 months ago by martin logan
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
7 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Ha, I had forgotten about the False Dmitry. Where else but Russia?

martin logan
martin logan
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

The idiots will swallow anything.
That’s why they’ve lost their empire.

martin logan
martin logan
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

The idiots will swallow anything.
That’s why they’ve lost their empire.

Steve Jolly
SJ
Steve Jolly
7 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

Ha, I had forgotten about the False Dmitry. Where else but Russia?

martin logan
martin logan
7 months ago

Some westerners are getting as dumb as Russians.
The cult of Prigozhin’s imminent Resurrection seems already to be gaining strength.
Just as the Cult of the False Dmitry (that one had two of them!), and the Cult of Pugachev as the Reincarnation of Ekaterina’s murdered husband.
This will probably last for a little while among westerners–and become a fixture among Real Russians. That’s just how their tiny minds work.
They still hadn’t adopted European Medieval Evidence Based analysis–so about 800 years behind the West
Nice attack on Crimea, BTW.

Last edited 7 months ago by martin logan
Steve Jolly
SJ
Steve Jolly
7 months ago

My overwhelming response to this is, ‘where else but Russia’? It’s like the plot of a bad movie, and most of us would call it a conspiracy theory or tabloid journalism had it occurred in any other country. Russia though, we don’t bat an eye, and view all this as quite possible if not probable, because of Russia’s long established history with this sort of insanity. Assassinations, backstabbing, body doubles, dubious ‘accidents’, etc. are all pretty much historical normal for Russia back to the Muscovite era.

Steve Jolly
SJ
Steve Jolly
7 months ago

My overwhelming response to this is, ‘where else but Russia’? It’s like the plot of a bad movie, and most of us would call it a conspiracy theory or tabloid journalism had it occurred in any other country. Russia though, we don’t bat an eye, and view all this as quite possible if not probable, because of Russia’s long established history with this sort of insanity. Assassinations, backstabbing, body doubles, dubious ‘accidents’, etc. are all pretty much historical normal for Russia back to the Muscovite era.

martin logan
martin logan
8 months ago

Prigozhin could have stayed in Africa.
He’s dead.
Get used to it.

Rocky Martiano
RM
Rocky Martiano
8 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

To misquote Socrates “the only thing I know for certain is that you know nothing”.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
7 months ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

Except that Putin couldn’t take Kyiv–or hold Kherson, Kupyansk, Liman, or Robotyne.
He sure misplaces a lot of things!

martin logan
martin logan
7 months ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

Except that Putin couldn’t take Kyiv–or hold Kherson, Kupyansk, Liman, or Robotyne.
He sure misplaces a lot of things!

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
8 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

To misquote Socrates “the only thing I know for certain is that you know nothing”.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
8 months ago

Prigozhin could have stayed in Africa.
He’s dead.
Get used to it.

Gerald Arcuri
Gerald Arcuri
8 months ago

That he has disappeared seems evident. How is another question. Aboard the private jet? Perhaps. Or, perhaps not. The enigmatic ways of the Russian oligarchy will not be penetrated any time soon…

Gerald Arcuri
Gerald Arcuri
8 months ago

That he has disappeared seems evident. How is another question. Aboard the private jet? Perhaps. Or, perhaps not. The enigmatic ways of the Russian oligarchy will not be penetrated any time soon…

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
8 months ago

Don’t worry; Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
8 months ago

Don’t worry; Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
7 months ago

This mercenary chief has passed on!
He has ceased to be!
He has gone on to meet his maker!
He is no more!
This…is an ex-mercenary chief !!