News around you

Prigozhin’s final months were overshadowed by questions about what the Kremlin had in store for him

Prigozhin made his name as the profane and brutal mercenary boss who mounted an armed rebellion that was the most severe and shocking challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rule.

TALLINN: Yevgeny Prigozhin smiled as a crowd of adoring fans surrounded his black SUV on June 24 in Russia’s southern city of Rostov-on-Don and cheered him on.

“You rock!” fans shouted while taking selfies with the chief of the Wagner mercenary group, who was sitting in the vehicle after nightfall. “You’re a lion! Hang in there!”

Prigozhin and his masked, camouflage-clad fighters were leaving the city after a daylong mutiny against the country’s military leadership. President Vladimir Putin decried it as “treason” and vowed punishment, but then cut a deal not to prosecute Prigozhin. Beyond that, his fate looked uncertain.

Two months later, on Aug. 23, Prigozhin’s business jet plummeted from the sky and crashed in a field halfway between Moscow and St. Petersburg. All 10 people on board the plane were killed, Russian authorities said. Russia’s Investigative Committee said Sunday that forensic testing confirmed Prigozhin was one of them.

The two scenes, which unfolded just two months apart, provide bookends to the mystery-shrouded final days of the outspoken, brutal mercenary leader who initially appeared to have escaped any retribution for the rebellion that posed the greatest challenge to Putin’s authority in his 23-year rule.

You might also like

Comments are closed.