Fig. 1. The ruins of a terminal at the Gaza airport. Image by Said Khatib (Agence France-Presse) on September 9, 2018, via the Times of Israel, fair use.
Ishaan Tharoor, “Biden muddles along with Israel as West Bank violence spirals,” Washington Post, July 7, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/07/07/israel-us-biden-west-bank-violence-status-quo/
According to reports, the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) has gone so far as to run an initial inquiry into levels of public support, gauged by monitoring social media posts and internet searches by ordinary Russians.
Its findings, intercepted and leaked by Ukrainian intelligence, suggests that 17 of Russia’s 46 regions sided with Prigozhin. Putin had support from just 21 regions, while the remaining eight remained split. Moscow apparently backed the Russian President, but his home city of St Petersburg was ready to throw its support behind the Wagner chief. Public support for Prigozhin in the republic of Dagestan was reportedly as high as 97 per cent.
If the report is accurate — any wartime leak should be taken with a pinch of salt — surely the only conclusion is that Putin is not only in an extremely precarious position, but that the country may be on the edge of civil war.
I know Julia Ioffe has her sources backing up her claim that Vladimir Putin has emerged from the Wagner mutiny strong. But I am still getting a starkly different picture from nearly everyone else and it’s like as soon as she publishes something, something else comes out that makes her picture a tough swallow.
Prior to Yevgeny Prigozhin’s journey to Saint Petersburg and possibly Moscow, I could say, honestly, that a lot of the difference been about interpretation: Do I interpret Putin’s apparent indifference to the mutiny as genuine, as Ioffe does, or do I interpret it as feigned, to cover weakness that Putin would know from a very early age he dare not show?
That’s a reasonable difference of opinion, even if the bulk of analysis tends one way, but for me, Prigozhin’s trip blows the question out of the water.
Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s Post-Prigozhin Clean Up,” Puck, July 5, 2023, https://puck.news/putins-post-prigozhin-clean-up/
Nataliya Vasilyeva, “Prigozhin flies to Russia to collect weapons seized after mutiny,” Telegraph, July 5, 2023, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2023/07/05/yevgeny-prigozhin-wagner-returns-russia-weapons-belarus/
Robyn Dixon and Catherine Belton, “Mercenary boss returned to Russia to collect money and guns,” Washington Post, July 6, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/07/06/yevgeny-prigozhin-russia-wagner-rebellion/
Lisa Haseldine, “Wagner’s ‘coup’ was just the first act in its plot to destroy Putin,” Telegraph, July 6, 2023, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2023/07/06/prigozhin-coup-was-just-the-first-act-plot-destroy-putin/
- Agence France-Presse and Times of Israel, “20 years after its opening, destroyed Gaza airport embodies grounded peace hopes,” Times of Israel, September 12, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/20-years-after-its-opening-destroyed-gaza-airport-embodies-grounded-peace-hopes/↩
- Lisa Haseldine, “Wagner’s ‘coup’ was just the first act in its plot to destroy Putin,” Telegraph, July 6, 2023, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2023/07/06/prigozhin-coup-was-just-the-first-act-plot-destroy-putin/↩
- Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s Post-Prigozhin Clean Up,” Puck, July 5, 2023, https://puck.news/putins-post-prigozhin-clean-up/↩
- Robyn Dixon and Catherine Belton, “Mercenary boss returned to Russia to collect money and guns,” Washington Post, July 6, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/07/06/yevgeny-prigozhin-russia-wagner-rebellion/; Nataliya Vasilyeva, “Prigozhin flies to Russia to collect weapons seized after mutiny,” Telegraph, July 5, 2023, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2023/07/05/yevgeny-prigozhin-wagner-returns-russia-weapons-belarus/↩
- Julia Ioffe, “Putin vs. Prigozhin: The Post-Coup Report,” Puck, June 27, 2023, https://puck.news/putin-vs-prigozhin-the-post-coup-report/↩
- Julia Ioffe, “About a Boy: The Roots of Putin’s Evil,” Puck, May 10, 2022, https://puck.news/about-a-boy-the-roots-of-putins-evil/↩
- David Benfell, “Julia Ioffe is almost always right about Russia and Ukraine. This time might be different,” Irregular Bullshit, June 29, 2023, https://disunitedstates.com/2023/06/29/julia-ioffe-is-almost-always-right-about-russia-and-ukraine-this-time-might-be-different/↩