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The Yevgeny Death Mystery: Has Putin Lost or Gained Adversaries

A number of war and political analysts have come forth to dissect the jet crash that killed Wagner’s boss Yevgeny Prigozhin and 10 others. In June 2023, Yevgeny Prigozhin staged a failed mutiny against the Russian Government.

President Putin alongside Russian Army Chief, Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Source| Twitter

According to a 2018 documentary, Putin said he “can forgive people’s mistakes but it’s impossible for him to forgive betrayal.” This interview came after a series of mysterious deaths plaguing Putin’s adversaries.


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Mysterious Deaths in Putin’s Wake

In 2006, a British public inquiry concluded that Putin had probably ordered the murder of a former FSB officer, Alexander Litvinenko. Alexander met his untimely death in a London restaurant after taking poisoned tea. He was a specialist in tackling organized crime and a strong critic of Vladimir Putin.

In the same year, renowned Russian Journalist Anna Politkovskaya was assassinated in the elevator of her block of apartments. Before her assassination, Anna was poisoned on her way to resolve a school hostage situation that resulted in the death of 186 children. Anna Politkovskaya had published Putin’s Russia which is a personal account of Russia for Western readers. She was shot on Putin’s birthday.

Seven years later, an exiled tycoon known as Boris Berezovsky was found dead in his house. The billionaire was exiled to the United Kingdom after ditching Putin’s camp for the opposition. Two years on, in 2015, opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was shot dead. He was a strong critic of Putin’s Government.

Furthermore, in 2018, there was an attempted murder of a Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia. The two were sprayed with a lethal nerve agent known as Novichok, which slows down the heart and paralyzes breathing muscles.

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Moreover, in 2020, Putin’s most controversial adversary also escaped death after traces of Novichok were found rubbed in his underpants. Alexei Navalny is a Russian opposition leader and a political prisoner. Aside from that, there have also been numerous mysterious cases of suicides plaguing Putin’s adversaries. For instance, in 2022, Ravil Magavov fell to his death from a sixth-floor window.

Ravil began criticizing Putin’s leadership after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He termed the invasion as a tragedy and expressed his sympathy towards affected Ukrainian citizens.

Putin and Yevgeny

After the Yevgeny betrayal, many thought that Putin’s wrath or punishment for his former friend would be immediate. However, the world was shocked when the leader showed “mercy” by allowing the Wagner boss to go into exile in Belarus.

However, it appeared as if Yevgeny never took the terms of his exile seriously. Towards the end of the same month in which he had staged an open rebellion, Prigozhin attended a three-hour meeting at the Kremlin. Moreover, a month later, he attended an African Summit in Saint Petersburg.

Yevgeny Prigozhin started out as Vladimir Putin’s personal chef. Source| CNN

Unfortunately, two months after the mutiny, Yevgeny Prigozhin died in a plane crash at 62. The private jet he was in crashed about 300 kilometers from Moscow town. His death has raised suspicion with many asking whether Putin had a hand in his death to teach others a lesson.

Yet, there could be numerous possible explanations for the cause of the jet crash. Was it a mechanical failure or deliberate killing? Either way, Yevgeny is dead and things aren’t looking good for Russia at the moment. Some are even speculating that Yevgeny could have faked his own death. Nonetheless, Prigozhin’s mutiny showcased a somewhat weak Putin and an even weaker Russia.

After the mutiny, various political analysts spoke of not the end but the beginning of an ugly political story for Russia. Indeed, military rebellions, even the failed ones are often a sign of the beginning of a process or revolution. To counter these speculations, Vladimir Putin claimed that the mutiny was a Western plot to weaken Russians by putting them against each other.

Yevgeny’s rebellion against Putin’s 24-year regime wounded the Kremlin. All in all, someone somewhere used this betrayal as an opportunity to show either their love or hate for Putin’s regime.

What Does Yevgeny’s Death Mean

Yevgeny might have been killed by God, President Putin, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Russian Army Chief Valery Gerasimov, or his Ukrainian enemies. Nonetheless, his death is bad news for Russia and possibly great news for Ukraine.

Following Prigozhin’s death, Russia is set to become possibly weaker. According to political analysts, Yevgeny, compared to Putin, Shoigu, and Gerasimov, had the guts to take up unconventional approaches and solutions in complex situations. Aside from that, there is a possibility that Prigozhin’s followers are now demotivated by his death.

“It’s not clear whether the Hero of Russia Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin was on board, but if he was, then pack your belongings, and we don’t f*cking need this war.”

Prigozhin follower

If so, Russia might never win its war against Ukraine as most of Yevgeny’s followers also fought against Ukraine. Nonetheless, with the death of their leader, Wagner PMC no longer exists. So, its remnants will either be killed or seek refuge by going into the service of other dictatorial regimes in Africa, Asia, or Latin America.

Also, as expected, a public execution such as that might increase political and social tensions and uncertainties in the Kremlin. Yevgeny supported tens of thousands of Russians financially and his death left these people in the desert with no water. There might erupt social unrest and internal destabilization.

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Consequently, a close-knit group may emerge from the remnants of the Wagner PMC to take revenge on Putin, Shoigu, and Gerasimov. A vengeance that Ukraine is eagerly waiting to happen as this will definitely sort out most of their work for them.

“Putin is someone who generally thinks that revenge is a dish best served cold. In my experience, Putin is the ultimate apostle of payback.”

Bill Burns, CIA Director

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