When Yevgeny Prigozhin launched his short-lived rebellion, many in the western media were describing it as a “coup”.
But the truth is that Prigozhin did not intend to try to overthrow Vladimir Putin. He just wanted his seat at the table back. Being in Vladimir Putin’s good graces had turned Prigozhin into an exceedingly wealthy man over the years, but now everything was changing. Prigozhin was in danger of losing everything that he had worked to build, and the final straw was a decision to break up the Wagner Group and absorb those troops into the Russian military. Prigozhin realized that he was being sidelined, and so in a desperate attempt to get some leverage he hatched an ill-fated plan to kidnap Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and General Valery Gerasimov. Unfortunately for Prigozhin, they learned of his scheme in advance, and their travel plans were changed. When he realized that his scheme had failed, Prigozhin was willing to make a deal, because ultimately he didn’t want to see his fighters slaughtered in a pointless conflict.
Before becoming world famous as the head of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin was making tremendous amounts of money as a caterer.
He had been given extremely lucrative contracts to provide food for the Moscow school system and for Russian military bases, and that gave him a position among Russia’s elite.
Of course running the Wagner Group has been a tremendous source of wealth for Prigozhin as well. In fact, his two businesses had combined to bring in nearly 2 billion dollars in revenue over the past year…
President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday the finances of Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s catering firm would be investigated after his mutiny, saying Wagner and its founder had received almost $2 billion from Russia in the past year.
Unfortunately for Prigozhin, in recent months he started to fall out of favor.
He had been recruiting fighters for the Wagner Group in prisons all over Russia, but the government put a stop to that.
Now the Russian military is recruiting in those prisons, and that absolutely infuriated Prigozhin.
Another thing that greatly upset Prigozhin was when his good friend General Sergei Surovikin was replaced as the top commander of operations in Ukraine by General Valery Gerasimov.
Prigozhin always had a lot of respect for Surovikin, but he utterly detests Gerasimov.
Since then, tensions between Prigozhin and Russian military brass just continued to rise, and that led to a fateful decision on June 10th.
On that date, it was announced that all soldiers in the Wagner Group would be required to sign a contact with the Russian military by July 1st.
Essentially, the plan was for the Wagner Group to be absorbed and Prigozhin realized that he would be losing his private army.
He appealed to Putin, but Putin sided with the military brass.
That was the final straw for Prigozhin, and so he hatched a plan to kidnap Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in a desperate attempt to get some leverage on Putin.
But as CNN has explained, news of Prigozhin’s ill-fated plan got out ahead of time…
Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin planned to seize two top Russian military officials when he launched a short-lived mutiny on Saturday, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing Western officials. Prigozhin’s plot involved the capture of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and top army general Valery Gerasimov when the pair visited a region along the border of Ukraine, the WSJ wrote. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) learned of the plot two days before it was due to take place, forcing Prigozhin to change his plans at the last minute and launch a march towards Moscow instead, according to the report.
Prigozhin quickly realized that he was holding a losing hand, and he clearly understood that if he continued his rebellion he would soon end up dead.
So he made the best deal that he could under the circumstances.
But that certainly isn’t what leaders in the western world were hoping for. They were hoping that Prigozhin’s rebellion would spark an uprising that would lead to the overthrow of Vladimir Putin. Of course the truth is that was never what Prigozhin intended…
“Prigozhin’s rebellion wasn’t a bid for power or an attempt to overtake the Kremlin,” Tatyana Stanovaya, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center, wrote in an analysis of the events. “It arose from a sense of desperation; Prigozhin was forced out of Ukraine and found himself unable to sustain Wagner the way he did before, while the state machinery was turning against him.”
Most Americans don’t realize this, but Vladimir Putin is far, far more popular inside Russia than Joe Biden is in the United States.
There isn’t going to be any sort of a popular uprising against Putin because most of the population is solidly behind him.
And most Russians are not against the war in Ukraine either. If anything, most Russians want Putin to take the gloves off and start hitting Ukraine much harder.
But you aren’t going to hear any of this from politicians in the western world.
They are going to use Prigozhin’s rebellion as evidence that what they are doing is working. In fact, earlier this week Joe Biden boldly declared that Putin “is clearly losing the war in Iraq”.
Yes, he actually said that.
Needless to say, he actually meant that Putin is losing the war in Ukraine.
But that is not actually accurate either.
Over the past several weeks, the Ukrainians have lost hundreds of vehicles and thousands upon thousands of men in a very foolish counter-offensive that has basically accomplished nothing.
The Russians are quite content to fight a war of attrition right now, because they believe that time is on their side.
Sadly, the reality of the matter is that time is running out for all of us.
Both sides just continue to escalate matters, and that will eventually result in the United States and Russia fighting one another directly.
We should be trying to avoid such a scenario at all costs, because such a conflict would almost certainly lead to nuclear war.
Once nukes start flying, millions of people are going to die.
But there are no peace marches in major U.S. cities right now, and that is because the American people simply do not understand what we are facing.