Explosive Report: Patrushev's Alleged Role in Wagner Leader's Assassination

Written by Jeppe W

Dec.22 - 2023 11:12 AM CET

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In a stunning revelation, the Wall Street Journal reported on December 22 that Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev is alleged to have orchestrated the assassination of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the former head of the Wagner mercenary group, citing sources from Western intelligence and a former Russian intelligence officer.

Prigozhin's significant role in the Russian war effort, particularly after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, had created increasing tensions with the Russian Defense Ministry.

This escalated into a short-lived rebellion by Prigozhin in June 2023, known as the "march of justice," which ended when Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko negotiated his safe passage to Belarus.

However, the saga took a deadly turn in August when Prigozhin and other Wagner commanders died in a plane explosion. This incident, initially shrouded in mystery, was widely speculated in the West to be an internal Kremlin operation.

The WSJ report sheds light on the internal power dynamics within the Kremlin, highlighting Patrushev as a pivotal figure. Seen as one of President Vladimir Putin's most trusted allies, Patrushev reportedly viewed Prigozhin as a growing threat due to his influence and open criticism of Russian military leadership.

Patrushev, who has been with Putin since his early presidency and is now described as Russia's second-most powerful individual, allegedly saw the necessity of eliminating Prigozhin.

Following Prigozhin's relocation to Belarus, sources indicate that Patrushev was adamant about punishing the former Wagner head. Putin, according to the report, did not oppose this plan. In the aftermath of the plane explosion, Putin acknowledged Prigozhin's death, attributing it to "mistakes" he had made.

Later, he speculated that the explosion resulted from mishandling grenades onboard, hinting at possible drug and alcohol involvement.

Contradicting Putin's narrative, the WSJ cites sources claiming a small bomb was placed under the wing of Prigozhin's plane while at a Moscow airport. Neither Patrushev nor other Russian officials have responded to these allegations.

This incident, if true, underscores the complex and often ruthless nature of power politics within the Russian state.