South Asia and Beyond

Putin’s Role In Prigozhin’s Death?

The death of Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin’s death raised eyebrows. The plane carrying Prigozhin along with some of his top lieutenants crashed on 23rd August 2023 in the north-west of Moscow, killing all those on board.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to the families of all those who died in the crash. He praised the head of the mercenary group saying he was “a talented person”.
Russian investigators recently confirmed the death of Prigozhin after the results of a molecular genetic examination came out.
Was his death an accident or was he killed? The truth may never be known but Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has a black-and-white view on betrayal. The mutiny of Prigozhin and his aborted march on Moscow may have hurt Putin deeply, after all, Prigozhin’s rise from chef to chief of the Wagner Group, is directly credited to Putin. Incidentally, others who turned on Putin met similar fates. Gen. Sergei Surovikin, who was Russia’s Air Force chief disappeared after his links to the Wagner Group became known. There was the case of FSB defector Alexander Litvinenko who died of polonium poisoning, polonium is a highly radioactive element. Then there was Sergei Skripal, a double agent who survived an assassination attempt by Russian intelligence using the Novichok nerve agent.
Assassinations have been a part of Russia’s turbulent history, dating back to the czar days and during the 70-odd years of communist rule. Apparently, early communist leaders said assassinations helped consolidate their rule. Whether Putin ordered Prigozhin’s death can be debated but assassinations have been a fact of life in Russia.

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