Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s plane crash: Was Vladimir Putin involved?

By Mason Berlinka

Published Aug 24, 2023 at 01:29 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

According to Russia’s civil aviation authority, a private jet travelling from Moscow to Saint Petersburg crashed in the Tver region, killing ten people. And according to what’s said on the plane’s flight list, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Russian mercenary Wagner Group, was among the passengers. Alongside Prigozhin was his right-hand man, Dmitry Utkin. So, just to be sure—we’re all thinking the same thing here, right?

It would appear that Putin has finally taken care of his surprise traitor. But before we delve into any potential conspiracy theories, here’s a quick reminder on everything Prigozhin-related for those of you who haven’t done their reading yet. The highly controversial Russian oligarch was responsible for an attempted coup back in June 2023, following an alleged attack on Wagner troops from the Russian President.

The world was taken aback by Prigozhin’s impulsive decision to march tens of thousands of soldiers to the Russian capital. We watched eagerly as someone who had previously been a close confidant of Putin suddenly turn in the name of justice for his troops. It was an exciting moment, and led many to hope that the Eastern superpower was finally beginning to feel strain under the weight of the war.

Once an invaluable tool for the Russian regime’s dirty work, nobody was expecting Prigozhin’s surprise march, not even Putin. However, the march quickly fizzled out amid negotiations, Wagner soldiers were absorbed into the military, and the warlord fled to Belarus. That seemed to be that for a while—the drama appeared all smoothed over in a surprising move of restraint from Putin. To everyone’s surprise, Prigozhin was even seen furthering Russian interests in Africa in a propaganda video posted last week:

But of course it couldn’t end there, not after Putin had been humiliated in front of the whole world. With recent reports that Prigozhin is now dead, this looks like nothing short of an inside job. From footage of the plane going down to rumours from MI6 that an explosive crate of wine was on board, it’s hard to believe that this is mere coincidence. Watch the plane tank to the ground in the following footage:

Footage shows how Russian Army Air Defense shut down the plane of Wagner Group CEO Prigozhin.
byu/carlesskey3000 inRussiaUkraineWar2022

Redditors were quick to eat up the rumours of the crash being an inside job, with one particularly brainy user sharing that the site of the downed plane located in the Tver region, is a deliberately significant one, bearing reference to another rebellion in Russia’s history from the 1300s:

Comment
byu/carlesskey3000 from discussion
inRussiaUkraineWar2022

It’s clear that Putin was biding his time, and when the opportunity arose, he eliminated those who posed a threat to his global interests, without caring whether or not they’d dined at the same table.

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