| 19 April 2024, Friday |

Wagner’s chief ‘gone off rails’ after receiving billions in public funds: Russian TV

On Sunday, a prominent and well-known Russian propagandist made allegations against Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner mercenary group, claiming that he had lost control or acted inappropriately after receiving a significant amount of public funds. These accusations come as part of Moscow’s anticipated efforts to portray Prigozhin in a highly negative light, aiming to protect their reputation following his recent brief mutiny.
“The Wagner group, within the framework of contracts concluded with the state, received a little more than 858 billion rubles ($35.8). This is under a trillion. Under other contracts, the Prigozhin holding [company] Concorde provided services in the amo0unt of 845 billion rubles (35.3). This does not mean that they earned so much, but all of that speaks of the scale of the business and the scale of the ambitions,” state news agency Ria Novosti cited Dmitry Kiselev as saying.

Prigozhin started a brief revolt last week which swiftly ended with him calling off his Wagner forces’ march on Moscow after agreeing to a deal which would see him exiled in Belarus without any legal action taken against him in Russia. He said in his first remarks since the aborted revolt that the march was a “demonstration” not an attempted coup.
Prigozhin’s mutiny had a resounding impact within Russia and internationally as well. The general consensus amongst international politicians and analysts is that the mutiny had weakened Putin and raised questions about his ruling with an iron fist at a critical time when his forces confront an intense counter-offensive in Ukraine.

Kiselev, known as a highly recognizable cog in the Russian propaganda machine, went on to assassinate Prigozhin’s character. He said: “Prigozhin has gone off the rails because of big money… He thought that he can challenge the defense ministry, the state itself and the president personally,” the Moscow Times cited him as saying.

The Russian TV personality went on to claim that Prigozhin’s operations in Syria and Africa gave him a false sense of invulnerability that was bolstered by his forces’ successes in the battlefield in Ukraine, specifically the seizing the key city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.

In a shocking revelation, President Vladimir Putin fully financed the Wagner group. He said on Tuesday: “I want to note and I want everyone to know about this: the content of the entire Wagner group was fully provided by the state. From the Ministry of Defense, from the state budget, we fully financed this group,” state news agency TASS cited him as saying.

According to Putin, in just a year, the state sent companies for the financial support of fighters and incentive payments more than 86 billion rubles ($977.8 million).

“Of these, 70 billion, 384 million are financial support, 15 billion, 877 million incentive payments, insurance payments – [another] 110 billion, 179 million,” Putin said.

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