Saturday, June 24, 2023


Last December, @juliaioffe  asked me what I thought Prigozhin would do. I said he'd try a coup within six months. (Julia even asked me if I was okay to commit to a timeline on the record). Anyhoo..

I spent most of last night on Twitter and Telegram. A friend tells me Prigozhin's language in this diatribes is untranslatable, rich. A great orator. J's parents lived through the Holodomor, Russian speakers in Kiev.


Kremlin spox Dmitry Peskov:
– charges dropped against Prigozhin, who will leave Russia for Belarus
– Wagner fighters who didn't take part in the uprising will sign contracts with the MOD
– Wagner fighters who did take part not charged
– No word on potential MOD leadership changes

Despite declaring Prigozhin a "traitor" and vowing to "liquidate" Wagner on Saturday morning, Peskov said Putin had asked Lukashenko to mediate in the hope of avoiding any further bloodshed because the Belarusian leader has known Prigozhin for 20 years.

Peskov described the uprising – in which Wagner shot down helicopters, captured a major command post, and marched most of the way to Moscow – as "fairly difficult" and "full of tragic events," but said "there were higher goals of escaping bloodshed and internal confrontation."

Putin will not make any further comment on the issue. The invasion of Ukraine will continue as normal.

No word from Peskov on whether Prigozhin managed to secure Shoigu's resignation – he said only Putin has that authority so Prigozhin and Lukashenko couldn't discuss it.

Closer and closer to a failed state. Even Gazprom has it's own militia. And the videos from Moscow last night were teenagers celebrating the end of high school. It's terrifying. 


There are three distinct groups in Russia: 1/25

1) radicals – a sizeable but extremely loud minority that actively supports war, is engaged, follows the news and in rare cases even goes to the frontlines (15-25%). This is the audience of the milbloggers, Telegram channels and vampires like Solovyov or Skabeeva 2/25

2) dissenters – a sizeable minority that categorically opposes the war. It is banned from Russian-based media and generally depressed (20-25%) 3/25

3) laymen – a passive majority that is completely depoliticized and doesn’t want to have anything in common with politics & war (50-65%) 4/25

"a passive majority that is completely depoliticized and doesn’t want to have anything in common with politics & war" 

Balthazar. related in more ways than one.

A thread by Mateev.
Fact: Wagner troops did have their own command structure and were ready to follow Prigozhin.

Fact: in multiple videos from Rostov-on-Don, people were cheering and greeting Prigozhin's troops.

Fact: the army reacted to Prigozhin's coup... by starting negotiations. Prigozhin was caught on camera talking rather arrogantly to Yunus-bek Yevkurov, deputy minister of defense (!!), along with a high-level MoD officer responsible for the interaction with PMCs.

Fact: some skirmishes between Prigozhinists and the army did happen. Several helicopters were downed. One helicopter crew died.

Fact: instead of court-martialing Prigozhin and the rest of the mutineers, Putin - through Lukashenko, of all people! - offered them amnesty and an escape route.
What to make of this?
The contours of the possible civil war are suddenly brought into sharp relief.
What do the Russian troops consist of at the moment?
1) Akhmat/Kadyrovites, 2) LDNR militias, 3) multiple PMCs other than Wagner (!), 4) local regiments created in each Russian region and financed locally, at least in part (!!)

Furthermore: FSB and other agencies apparently do not have military counterintelligence capable of preventing something like this.

In effect, a free-for-all across the country is totally possible.
Putin said many times that Russia's very existence hangs in the balance - apparently it's true, thanks to his own actions and the system he has built in the last 23 years.

Incredible result for the self-proclaimed "gosudarstennik" [state-minded person] - the state he built is brittle like a porcelain cup.
repeats, October 2022. Grozev and Ragozin, Prigozhin and Arestovych.
Looking forward to nuclear blackmail by the competing warlords of the failed Russian state.

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