Mustafa Kaya: "Russia, Putin and Wagner, Prigojin"

Mustafa Kaya: "Russia, Putin and Wagner, Prigojin"
Date: 27.8.2023 17:00

Milli Gazete columnist Mustafa Kaya writes on latest development in Russia. Here is the full article.

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Last June, the leader of the Russian mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigojin, launched a military uprising, citing the situation on the Ukrainian front and the reasons he described as disorder in the Russian army.
Prigojin, waving with his 8,000 soldiers, had come within 100 kilometers of the city of Moscow. In his speech, Russian President Vladimir Putin showed that he took this rebellion seriously.
Although Prigojin did not directly target Putin, he opposed the entire army administration, especially Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Chief of General Staff Valeriy Gerasimov, whom he appointed. In fact, he started a serious uprising against the system, accompanied by unspeakable words.
After Prigojin took a step back immediately and Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko intervened, the aftermath of what happened led to discussions about what could happen next.
This retreat showed that Prigojin was embarking on an unsustainable path and reinforced the conviction that he would lose no matter what step he took.
Because there were Wagner fighters on the front line in Ukraine and they were losing hundreds of casualties every day.
Although Prigojin brought fighters from prisons and abroad to protect his warriors who grew up in Wagner, it was not possible to make up for the thousands of losses.
Either his own soldiers, who believed in Russian nationalism and fought for Pan-Slavist values before Prigojin's eyes, would be crushed, or he would rebel by putting forward the reasons he put forward in order to "stop" this situation.
Prigojin had already given implicit messages about a year before the uprising, but all these messages hit the Kremlin walls. These either did not go to Putin's ears or Putin saw the incoming messages as ordinary reproaches that could always happen.
Although Prigojin stood up saying "maybe this time he will hear", Putin read this attempt quite the opposite and declared Prigojin a traitor. Although Lukashenko intervened and resolved the crisis, the wave that Wagner started spread rapidly.
Shortly after this attempt, 58th Army Commander Ivan Ivanovich broadcast a voice message, announcing that the Russian army was involved in corruption and was dismissed from his post. Then, again criticizing the army and intelligence, National Security Unit Colonel Igor Girkin was arrested.
All those who raised their voices complained about the disorganization of the Russian army, the disappearance of competence and merit, and the establishment of a bribery network.
Everyone started to think that all these processes would definitely have an answer in the eyes of Putin. Opinions emerged that Prigojin would be eliminated somehow.
And just as these comments were being made, the news that the plane, said to be in Prigojin, crashed in the Tver region north of Moscow last week, was announced to the whole world by the Russian state news agency TASS.
The strong possibility in this accident(?) was that Putin might have been involved. However, even if there was a small possibility, it could have been aimed that other centers intervene in order to influence Wagner forces in the Russia-Ukraine War and to corner Putin over Prigojin's death.
Could it be that Putin theatrically eliminated Prigojin instead of listening to all that was going on and was worried about giving a message to everyone?
This sounds more plausible. Because Putin may have wanted to tidy up the possible mess by intimidating the rebels. For leaders like Putin, giving the image of "I am strong" is more important than anything else.
Because the Russian state mind is weak at the breaking points, he knows very well how the process administrations of Nicholas II, Gorbachev and Putin's predecessor Yeltsin made Russia pay the bills.
Despite all the shortcomings, Putin is trying to successfully end the Ukraine war, which he has made a matter of honor. The opposition voices rising with Prigojin seem to have subsided for now with Prigojin's elimination.
It's winter, and if Putin doesn't produce a new success story by winter, he'll have to deal with dissident voices again. As we stated in our previous article, Putin is now trying to build a "golden bridge" for himself.


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