Putin losing control of Wagner again as mercenaries look to Prigozhin’s son
The son of former Wagner Group CEO Yevgeny Prigozhin appears to be mounting a campaign to spoil the Kremlin’s hopes of crowning Commander Andrey Troshev the PMC’s new leader.
Pavel Prigozhin, 25, is believed to have entered negotiations with the Russian National Guard known as Rosgvardia to allow the mercenary group to rejoin combat operations in Ukraine.
Commander Troshev however appears to already be Putin’s pick having been embraced by the Russian leader publically and appearing in a meeting at the Kremlin.
Yevgeny Prigozhin died in a plane crash in August with much speculation surrounding his death alongside a number of top Wagner commanders.
A US think tank has noted that the actions of Pavel Prigozhin suggest a faction within Wagner is open to backing an alternative to Troshev despite the latter appearing to enjoy backing from the Russian Ministry of Defence.
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The Institute for the Study of War said: “Some Wagner personnel are interested in rallying around a Prigozhin-linked alternative to the Kremlin and MoD-aligned Troshev,
“It is unclear what the Kremlin thinks the relationship[s] between Wagner elements and the Russian government are,
They added: “Putin’s public embrace of Troshev and subordinating Wagner elements to the Russian MoD [is] noteworthy.
“The MoD would have to provide the equipment and supplies for a large, reconstituted force under Rosgvardia in any case, since Rosgvardia does not have the logistical infrastructure to do so on its own.”
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Prigozhin Senior was an oligarch who built a catering business empire which gained him the moniker “Putin’s chef”.
He later became CEO of the Wagner Group and became the face of the PMC’s operations in Ukraine, spearheading a notorious recruitment drive which saw Russian convicts join the mercenary company in droves.
However, a bitter feud between Prigozhin and the Russian high command developed especially with the Head of the Russian Armed Forces Sergei Shoigu.
The row culminated in a mutiny and march of Moscow by Wagner fighters led by Prigozhin before he backed down and appeared to make a deal with the Kremlin, though shortly after he was to die in a plane crash the cause of which remains unknown.
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