Wagner spook over

Eine mehr als gefährliche Situation für Russland wurde unkonventionell und schnell gelöst – beeindruckend.

Peter Hanseler

When I learned on Saturday during a walk that Prigozhin had mutinied with his Wagner group, I was overcome with great fear.

I called my partner Denis Dobrin and asked him to gather all the information available within 3 hours. Then my co-author René Zittlau and I left a museum visit with our wives and we went directly to our office.

The first thing that came to my mind was a reference from an Italian friend who, since January, had repeatedly drawn my attention to the fact that he was concerned about Prigozhin’s aggressive statements against the Russian military leadership.

I have to admit that I did not share these concerns and thus had totally underestimated the dangerousness of the situation. Let that be a lesson to me.

In the office, we read everything we could get our hands on and tried to make sense of it.

We decided to write a brief article entitled “Coup, civil war or deception?“. First, we described the facts of the case in telegram style, reported on General Surovikin’s video message and analyzed President Putin’s speech.

The possibility that it was a feint by President Putin, a variant which was passed around in the social media, was, in our opinion, settled after President Putin’s speech.

As for the reasons for this suicide mission, we were quite sure that Prigozhin could not accept the subordination of the Wagner Group to the command of the Ministry of Defense and was driven to this – in our opinion – insane strategy.

We never believed that Prigozhin could assert himself militarily – the Wagner Group is simply too small for that. Nor did we believe that the population or the military would join Prigozhin.

However, the column of 25,000 Wagner soldiers moved toward Moscow at lightning speed, broke through roadblocks, and seemed ready for anything.

It should be noted here that these mercenaries and their leader had been involved in brutal and bloody house-to-house fighting for over a year. This craft has influences on people and can lead to non-rational actions or even downright insanity – this was now a reality.

“We could hardly believe our luck and were gobsmacked.”

After the publication of our article we went to a restaurant and tried to enjoy a dinner with our wives, which was very difficult for us.

Thousands of Wagner soldiers in the city of Moscow would have been an absolute nightmare. At about 7:30 p.m. Denis informed us that Prigozhin had turned his column around and were on their way back to Rostov-on-Don.

We were very relieved.

What had happened that a disaster could still be averted?

“Order has returned and there are probably few Russians who do not welcome this outcome.”

Then we learned that President Putin had once again sought and probably found the non-bloody solution. It will take time for details to come out how – with the expert help of President Lukashenko – a diplomatic solution was found so close to a bloodbath.

We had a great evening afterwards – there was a Russian, a Ukrainian, a German and a Swiss – all happy.

We were not surprised by the contributions of the Western press over the weekend: President Putin’s power at an end, this is the proof that Russia is rotten and weak.

Who cares about this helpless crying. Order has returned and there are certainly few Russians who do not welcome this outcome.

Whether this brief storm will have any influence on the Russian leadership or on the military situation in Ukraine is not foreseeable. We will keep an eye on this and try – as always – to refrain from speculation; we leave that to others.

Wagner spook over

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