Suspicions arise as Kremlin meeting precedes death of Wagner group leader

Written by Henrik Rothen

Sep.18 - 2023 8:57 AM CET

Kremlin meeting reveals why Putin took time to eliminate prigozhin

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Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner Group, a private military company, died in a plane crash near Moscow on August 23. While the cause remains uncertain, Russian President Vladimir Putin is suspected of orchestrating the event.

According to Yahoo News a meeting at the Kremlin shortly after Prigozhin's failed rebellion against Russian leadership suggests that Putin was waiting for the right moment to take over Wagner, a significant player in Russian foreign policy.

Five days after Prigozhin's failed rebellion, Putin convened a meeting with him and his commanders. During the meeting, Putin proposed a new leader for the group, Alexei Troshev.

While the commanders agreed, Prigozhin, unaware of their response, declined. This meeting may have sealed Prigozhin's fate.

Preparing for Prigozhin's elimination

Matthew Orr, a Eurasia analyst at RANE, stated that the meeting aimed to show the discord between Prigozhin and his commanders, preparing them for his eventual elimination.

The lack of notable dissension after Prigozhin's death suggests that the meeting achieved its goals.

With Prigozhin and other key figures gone, it may be easier for Putin to bring Wagner under state control. Moscow is likely to use its security and intelligence services to ensure that Wagner's operations align with Russian state interests.

Reports indicate that Russian military officials began assuming control of Wagner's operations even before Prigozhin's death.