Wagner Group founder Prigozhin “undermining the authority” of Putin claims ISW

Image of Vladimir Putin. Credit: Frederic Legrand - COMEO/Shutterstock.com

WAGNER Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin and Wagner-affiliated social media outlets are “undermining the authority” of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

“While Prigozhin does not directly oppose or criticize Putin, his growing notoriety within the nationalist community may undermine Putin’s “strongman” appeal by comparison,” claims the ISW.

“Wagner Group financier Yevheny Prigozhin and Wagner-affiliated social media outlets are increasingly commenting on the ineffectiveness of traditional Russian military institutions and societal issues, which may indirectly undermine the Kremlin’s rule.”

It added: “Prigozhin reiterated that only Wagner troops are operating in the Bakhmut direction, seemingly denying the Donetsk People’s Republic’s (DNR) claims DNR forces are operating in the area.

“Prigozhin also emphasised that he fully sponsors all of the equipment for his troops when responding to a question about whether the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) assists Wagner with supplies.

“Wagner-affiliated Telegram channels published footage in which elements of the 126th Separate Guards Coastal Defense Brigade of the Black Sea Fleet thanked Wagner for providing them with military equipment.

“Prigozhin additionally offered a realistic portrayal of the situation in Bakhmut, noting that Ukrainians are unwilling to surrender. Wagner-affiliated Telegram channels commented on the Belgorod training ground shooting incident, noting that a “quiet civil war” is currently ongoing in Russia due to the Russian government’s long-term inability to restrict migration presumably from Central Asian countries.”

“Prigozhin’s narratives have the ingredients to appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nationalist constituency that has long called for oligarchs to finance supplies for the armed forces, demanded transparency about what is really going on at the front, and criticized Russian higher military institutions for their failures on the frontlines,” it continued.

“While Prigozhin does not directly oppose or criticize Putin, his growing notoriety within the nationalist community may undermine Putin’s “strongman” appeal by comparison. The emerging discussions about a civil war in Russia may further disrupt the Kremlin’s narratives about the national, ethnic, and religious unity within Russia.”

Back on Thursday, September 15, the ISW also claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin was being replaced by Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin as the face of the Russian “special military operation” in Ukraine.


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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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