ER Editor: We’re offering up a few things here, which all lead to the possible conclusion that the Prigozhin episode was some sort of ‘thing’ between Putin and Prigozhin. Although Simplicius analyses a range of options. But if so, why?
Before we get to that, a critical reminder: Russia now has its own plausible reason to have its military out on the streets in key parts of the country. They probably aren’t going to leave anytime soon. The US already has it out in many locations. All recorded in both countries on social media. This suggests that we are on the verge of something if these things are in fact connected.
First, an excerpt from Zerohedge, followed by a few interesting things from excellent analyst, Simplicius.
Update(1735ET): This entirely bizarre slightly less than 24-hour short-lived coup attempt has just gotten even stranger, given the terms of the truce which evidently caused Evgeny Prigozhin to announce his Wagner fighter columns would turn around and go back to their bases.
The Wall Street Journal has confirmed based on Kremlin statements that “As part of the agreement, Prigozhin will leave Russia for Belarus, and criminal charges against him will be dropped, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. His fighters will be allowed to sign contracts with the Russian military.”
And Russia’s RT provides some further details as follows based on Peskov’s statement:
“He added that Wagner’s fighters will not be persecuted, taking into account their efforts on the frontlines of the Ukraine conflict. Peskov explained that President Vladimir Putin’s team “have always respected their exploits.”
Those PMC contractors, who refused to take part in the mutiny – and whole units did not – will be allowed to sign contracts with the Russian Defense Ministry, Peskov stated.
Can this even be called “exile”?… given that Kremlin statements at this point aren’t even so much as using the word which has a clear punitive implication. The irony remains that one can get a much harsher punishment for mere Cannabis vape pens in the country.
- charges dropped against Prigozhin, who will leave Russia for Belarus
- Wagner fighters who didn’t take part in the uprising will sign contracts with the MOD
- Wagner fighters who did take part not charged
- No word on potential MOD leadership changes
What’s clear is that it does indeed look to be over, with no further immediate danger of civil conflict:
The Wagner troops are departing from Rostov, eliciting applause from the onlookers. pic.twitter.com/rdXPAKmRHl
— Russian Market (@runews) June 24, 2023
Sputnik is further confirming Wagner has handed HQ/bases in Rostov-on-Don back to the regular military:
Despite the slap on the wrist (if even), the Kremlin is still talking “tough”:
ER: We do recommend the entirety of the analysis below, which calls into question official claims that make Prigozhin out to be some sort of warlord.
In the background, Sergei Shoigu, the Russian minister of defence, isn’t popular. What about Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff? Are there attempts afoot to bring these people down? Incidentally, when Prigozhin withdrew his troops from Rostov, people were cheering FOR HIM and Wagner, not for the Russian replacements. It’s complicated. Highlights …
Prigozhin’s Siege Ends – Postmortem Analysis
In fact, some are theorizing that the entire operation was to root out traitors in Moscow:
Could it be?
Other rumors continue to come in, which are supported by the fact that neither Shoigu nor Gerasimov have been seen anywhere during this entire episode nor have made any public statements, while other top generals have:
—”Wagner PMC” troops will be incorporated into and merged with the Russian Armed Forces.
—Gerasimov and Shoigu will resign, to be replaced by Surovikin (as Chief of Staff) and Dyumin, Governor of Tula, highly respected in the Russian Armed Forces, who played a key role the Crimea operation that led to the Republic’s reunification with Russia (as Minister of Defence).
—Criminal proceedings against Prigozhin will be terminated, and “Wagner PMC” fighters will be given immunity.
The most complete version of the terms of this resolution has been published by @Condottieros, but various details have been reiterated by other sources.
And as of this writing, Peskov has confirmed that all criminal charges will be dropped against Wagner and that Prigozhin has accepted a deal to essentially be ‘exiled’ to Belarus, where Wagner will work on the Polish-Belarus border. Remaining Wagner members who did not take part in the putsch will be signed over into the Russian armed forces directly.
This much is now confirmed fact.
The big question on everyone’s mind though is, was there a deal involved, i.e. for Shoigu and/or Gerasimov? Peskov stated that “no personnel changes” for the MOD were discussed in the negotiations, so the official Kremlin line is “no”.
However, there remains a chance that the real deals will be kept quiet, and perhaps Shoigu et al will be placed in different administrative positions to be announced much later on when things have settled down so as not to cause more distractions and demoralization.
So it leaves me with the thought that it couldn’t have been all for nothing, and that some secret deal was struck we don’t know about. And we know that Prigozhin appeared to really only have one demand: Shoigu and Gerasimov’s head. So logic dictates that the only thing which could have conceivably satiated him enough to strike the deal would be their removal. And like I said, in order not to create too much tumult, this could be kept under wraps for a while, then we may realize weeks or months later that no one has seen Shoigu in public for a long time, which will confirm things.
Lastly, I wanted to posit one final theory and important overarching point. There was something that began to occur to me during the course of the day. And that was at a certain point it looked more and more to me like Prigozhin’s stunt was actually a full-blown Western coup aimed at toppling Putin. Let me explain why.
By the way, there were several reports from sources connected to the IRGC of Iran, that during the peak of the crisis, Iran was willing to send Shiite forces or revolutionary guards to Moscow. (ER: Uganda also offered the same.)
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