Fig. 1. Yevgeny Prigozhin. Screen capture from video by УлПравда ТВ, June 13, 2023, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0.
[Yevgeny] Prigozhin’s death rids the Kremlin of one of its loudest and most dangerous critics, but it doesn’t address the root cause of the Wagner mutiny or of his popularity: frustration with Russian military failures and mounting casualties in Ukraine.
A man to watch may be Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defense minister whom Yevgeny Prigozhin wanted ousted:
Questions over [Vladimir] Putin’s grip on power have caused some to wonder whether others in Russia’s security establishment, perhaps even [Sergei] Shoigu himself, had given the order to down [Yevgeny] Prigozhin’s plane.
Ilya Ponomarev, a former Russian lawmaker who has since moved to Ukraine, where he helps coordinate Russian fighters opposed to [Vladimir] Putin, pointed out that Prigozhin’s plane went down just after Shoigu named a new commander of the Russian air force, which is also responsible for air-defense batteries.
This would seem to suggest that the new commander immediately ordered Yevgeny Prigozhin’s plane shot down, but Prigozhin had many enemies and the U.S. is saying it wasn’t a surface-to-air missile that brought his plane down. That would seem to suggest a bomb on board the plane, which would have had to be planted in advance, or, I suppose, some malfunction that could cause an explosion.
It doesn’t help that there are still different versions as to the cause of the crash. According to some independent military analysts and the majority of those posting on Wagner-linked social media, the plane was downed by Russian air defenses; others have suggested a blast onboard is to blame.
The previous commander [of the Russian air force], Gen. Sergei Surovikin, who used to lead Russian forces in Ukraine, has been held in custody since the Wagner revolt, suspected of collusion with [Yevgeny] Prigozhin.
“[Sergei] Shoigu is taking revenge for the mutiny, and [Vladimir] Putin personally probably didn’t order this,” [Ilya] Ponomarev said.
I’m not expecting to learn the full truth of what happened while Vladimir Putin is alive. And maybe not even after his death.
Gabriel Gavin, “Wagner boss Prigozhin killed in jet crash in Russia,” Politico, August 23, 2023, https://www.politico.eu/article/jet-believed-to-be-carrying-wagner-boss-prigozhin-crashes-in-russia/
Julia Ioffe, “Prigozhin’s Treason & the Price of Betrayal,” Puck, August 23, 2023, https://puck.news/prigozhins-treason-the-price-of-betrayal/
Thomas Grove and Yaroslav Trofimov, “Prigozhin Is Gone, but the Causes of Russia’s Growing Instability Persist,” Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2023, https://www.wsj.com/world/russia/prigozhin-is-gone-but-the-causes-of-russias-growing-instability-persist-b944c2c
Eva Hartog, “Prigozhin lives! Kremlin battles rumors Wagner chief faked his death,” Politico, August 24, 2023, https://www.politico.eu/article/prigozhin-lives-kremlin-battles-rumors-wagner-chief-faked-his-death/
Polina Ivanova et al., “Yevgeny Prigozhin crash was not caused by surface-to-air missile, says US,” Financial Times, August 25, 2023, https://www.ft.com/content/af341ede-933c-4bbc-b804-3ecbe5a66827
Fig. 1. Donald Trump booking photograph by Fulton County (Georgia) Sheriff’s Office, August 24, 2023, via New York, August 25, 2023, public domain.
That bond agreement restraining Donald Trump’s speech is surely now in effect.
Tori Otten, “Let the Flipping Begin: Key Witness in Classified Docs Case Turns Against Trump,” New Republic, August 23, 2023, https://newrepublic.com/post/175137/witness-flip-trump-classified-documents-case-trouble
Jill Nolin, Ross Williams, and Stanley Dunlap, “Trump supporters, detractors face off outside jail as he’s booked on Georgia racketeering charges,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, August 24, 2023, https://www.penncapital-star.com/justice-the-courts/trump-supporters-detractors-face-off-outside-jail-as-hes-booked-on-georgia-racketeering-charges/
Margaret Hartmann and Nia Prater, “All the Mug Shots of Donald Trump and His Alleged Co-Conspirators,” New York, August 25, 2023, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/trump-mug-shot-gallery.html