Dead man walking? Prigozhin stands down, makes deal, flees to Belarus

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The Russian Wagner Group mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin cut a deal Saturday and will exile himself to neighboring Belarus after his fighters, some 5,000 of them, came within 120 miles of Moscow, in a mutiny launched against the Russian military.

“We will destroy everything that stands in our way,” the Wagner Group chief had been quoted as saying earlier, angered by friendly fire attacks on his men on the frontlines of the war on Ukraine.

But then, according to the Kremlin, President Vladimir Putin agreed to drop treason charges against Prigozhin if he left the country. The deal was reportedly brokered by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and was announced by the Belarusian foreign ministry on Twitter.

Lukashenko reportedly held negotiations with Prigozhin throughout Saturday and said that the Wagner Group leader accepted the proposal of the Belarus leader, who is sometimes referred to as “the last dictator in Europe.”

Occupied by Nazi Germany, Belarus was retaken by Stalinist Russia in 1944 and remained under Soviet control until 1991, when it declare its independence. Since 1994, it has been run by Lukashenko and is an authoritarian state.

As leader of the private mercenary army, Prigozhin has been a key figure in prosecuting the war against Ukraine. Early Saturday, his group of fighters took control of Russia’s military regional headquarters in Rostov-on-Don. This remarkable move is the equivalent of a group of militia in the United States taking control of U.S. Central Command in Tampa. It looked like a civil war in the military was quickly developing.

Within hours, Prigozhin, who was once a trusted insider who was close with Putin, announced that he ordered his forces to return to their respective bases.

As for the official response from the United States, it was curious.

The U.S. State Department on Saturday nonchalantly published a press release about pollinating birds and habitat. The White House kept up a steady stream of Twitter posts about LGBTQ+ issues and the coming anniversary of the Dobbs decision by the Supreme Court last year, and repeating how awful the decision was and how much the nation needs to have a national abortion law such as Roe v. Wade.

Readers are advised that war reporting is incomplete, comes from unreliable sources, and is subject to disinformation campaigns from various parties.

21 COMMENTS

  1. The Wagner Group isn’t likely to survive this as a functioning unit, which is the best Russia has. Russia’s foreign allies are weakened by this. Prigozhin had better not frequent anything except ground floor rooms going forward.

  2. I dont know the next play but think this is a wag-the-dog. Maybe Putin thinks Lukashenko needs a mercenary force force the next real estate play.

    • erak – Exactly! Russia recently moved tactical nukes to Belarus. Now Prigozhin is in Belarus. Coincidence or is he there to train another mercenary force on the doorstep of Kiev? The Ukraine counter offensive is stalled and they haven’t even reached the Russian first line of defense. Very dangerous times.

  3. “it has been run by Lukashenko and is an authoritarian state.”

    by what metric are you basing the “authoritarian state” I mean I’m no expert on Belarus but I saw quite a bit of authoritarianism in the town I was born and raised in by mostly outsiders from the lgbtqia2spmap community and their allies. they decide when youre allowed to leave your property how many people you can have at your residence what youre allowed to carry your groceries in what you must wear when you leave you residence if you open your bussiness to the public they can assign you large arbitrary fines without proof of law violation or harms caused at any point they can just redefine words to suite their political ideology they can cancel your doctors appointment and cancer screenings they just install a mayor with unlimited power and then when it’s time for the dictator to step down they decide nope all while they do all this while they claim to love democracy

  4. The same such move is waited on and highly hoped for by the Communist Chinese……here in America. Commander- in-Chief Joe Biden doesn’t have a clue what’s going on with his own country, other than he is trying to rescue his brain-fried son from federal prosecution. If there was ever a ripe time for a military coup d’etat in the US, it is during dirt-bag Joe Biden’s presidency. It would be welcomed by about 65% of US residents. And there would be many, many civilian conscripts signing up for active duty.

  5. The moment he stopped advancing on Moscow Peigozhin became a dead man.

    Putin and Russia have a very long, very bloody tradition of killing dissidents. Often brutally.

    I wonder what they found on Peigozhin to make him essentially commit suicide.

    This isn’t good for Putin, either. He was already unpopular, losing support from the oligarchs, and ill. When this happened he ran.

  6. The poor Slav stands down, cuts a deal, and then runs and hides! Putin will have him hunted down and killed! Prigozhin’s corpulent body will then be dragged through the streets and then left to be fed upon by hungry dogs!

  7. Was it an effective ploy demonstrating the weakening Russian psyche by Prigozhin; that Putinsky would cut a deal? In any case Prigozhin may wish to avoid all open windows, even on ground floors, wear his radioactivity detector, and drink only from sealed vodka flasks. Whose side are the oligarchs? The older propaganda-saturated, entrenched probably still support Putinsky rhetoric.

  8. Interesting Prigorzhin is treated with more leniency from Putin than the Jan 6th protesters were by Biden.

    • Maybe not. Maybe Putin doesn’t want to add anymore division to Russian unity. Maybe Putin will settle the matter discreetly and privately when Russians and the world isn’t watching. Putin seems like the sort of man and leader not to put his laundry out in the open.

    • Well that’s because we are a country of laws and Russia is a country of bribery and violence. If your so unhappy here please by all means move to Russia, they are in need of new citizens.

  9. Hey CMAN? Still loving this? You know Zelensky is as corrupt and dirty as Biden right? Maybe CNN hasn’t been filling you in on why it’s not in our interest to propagate a war in Ukraine.

  10. SD nails it- Lukashenko is a corrupt dictator.

    This may be the beginning of the end for the state sponsor of terror- Putin. He might well end up dead in a ditch like Gaddafi in Libya.

    The damage Putin and his corrupt band of ministers have done to Russia is remarkable. The economy is in freefall, the military is weaker than its ever been, and NATO is expanding.

    Sad, really, that Putin is to Russia as Biden is to America.

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