The Mutiny – Prigoshin’s Struggle for the Sovereignty of Interpretation

Statements of Prigoshin and Putin – a Classification

René Zittlau

On June 27, we published Russian President Vladimir Putin’s June 26, 2023 address to the Russian people. 

Even though he did not mention Prigozhin’s name, it is clear to everyone that this speech was made in response to Prigozhin’s statements in two audio messages after his departure for Belarus, in which he tries in his own way to justify his behavior, the behavior of the Wagner group during the mutiny on June 23/24/25, 2023. 

While Putin’s speech is recognizably for everyone carried by responsibility for the state and the people, for the already very difficult situation, in the analysis of what Prigoshin meant to communicate to the world, few questions remain whose brainchild he is. 

Today, practically only hours later, even after various publications by those involved in the events – not least Belarusian President Lukashenko – a picture of Prigozhin emerges that only shows Vladimir Putin’s appearance and actions more clearly as that of a truly great politician. 

Here are Prigoshin’s key statements:

As a result of intrigue, the Wagner Group is to cease operations on July 01, 2023.

Therefore: march on Rostov and march on Moscow with the goals:

“Do not allow the dismantling of the Wagner Group”.

“To hold accountable all persons who by their actions made possible an enormous number of mistakes during the Special Military Operation in Ukraine.” 

Prigoshin concluded, literally, “Our goal was not an overthrow of the regime and legally elected power.”

Apart from the obvious contradictions in the statements: it had to be clear to everyone involved that it was simply impossible for the Wagner Group to be able to implement the stated goals within the framework of the existing state order and legality. This is because the Wagner Group is a company organized purely under private law, which has no executive powers whatsoever in Russia. The goals were the script of a coup, which could then easily have turned into a civil war. 

Given Wagner’s limited resources, the complete lack of support in society for adventures of this kind, I can’t help but describe Prigoshin’s behavior as megalomaniacal, devoid of any real assessment of the balance of power in society and thus detached from reality, the behavior of an egoist who feared his own loss of power above all else.

We can assume that Prigoshin’s character weaknesses, which became obvious to everyone in this behavior, may have played a significant role in the demanded incorporation of the Wagner group into official military structures, which had been on the table for some time. 

The loss of power is now a reality. And the Russian leadership will learn lessons from it.

The Mutiny – Prigoshin’s Struggle for the Sovereignty of Interpretation

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