Discover more from La Ventana al Mundo
The most feared man
Even the boss fears him
La Ventana al Mundo is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Shocking events took place on June 23rd, when the mercenary company known as the Wagner Group carried out a rebellion against Russian forces. The man behind the short-lived uprising is Yvegny Prygozin. Here, I will tell you who this man is, known as the only man feared by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Yvegny Prygozin was born in St. Petersburg, the same town as Putin, in 1961. Prygozin served a 10 year prison sentence during his teenage years, for fraud and robbery. However, other crimes included trafficking in underage minors. He was released in 1990 under the Glasnost and Perestroika reforms. He started a hot dog stand after being released. He would then be involved in the hospitality industry.
Source: Guerras y Geopolíticas
During his hospitality years, he founded Concord Catering, his own deluxe catering enterprise. His restaurant gained a reputation for its luxury food. He gained Putin’s attention while he was in the hospitality industry, meeting him in his own restaurant. Back then, Putin was the deputy major of St. Petersburg.
He then rose up until he helped serve the state dinners, after gaining contracts for school lunch or feeding the military. One of the examples of the aforementioned is the dinner between Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush and his wife Laura. This legend started in 2001, because it is said his restaurant was used by Putin to impress French President Jacques Chiraq. This earned him the nickname “Putin’s chef”. During that time, his catering firm began to win govnerment supply contracts, getting to a bigger level.
He opened a school-lunch factory with state loans and the help of Vladimir Putin. He owned part of Concord Management and Consulting, accused of interfering in the 2016 elections. He was involved in the attacks against domestic opponents of the Kremlin. An example is the 2011-12 protests, in which he infiltrated. He also funded a documentary framing those protests as paid by the West.
In 2012, his companies netted a lucrative contract from the Defense Ministry to provide food and catering services for the military. He also created the “Internet Research Agency”, a trolling factory attacking online political opposition. Prygozin is the director of Patriot, media group affiliated with the trolling factory aforementioned. This is allegedly to be involved in the 2016 US elections.
The Wagner Group was created on summer 2014, in order to fight in eastern Ukraine with no Russian casualties. Prygozin requested the use of military facilities to train men to fight in Ukraine, endorsed by Vladimir Putin. He participated in the anexation of Crimea, and supported separatist forces in the Donbas. However, the existance of the group was denied by the Kremlin. He also played an important role in Syria in 2015, gaining benefits too. In return for concessions in natural resources he offered security services to the Syrian regime. He did the same in Libya and African countries, like the Central African Republic and Mali, where he has access to strategic areas.
His men have also been present in Mozambique. In Sudan, he has aimed to get gold and diamond mines, like in the aforementioned countries. In Syria, they have protected oil fields. He also aims to get government contracts. His men have been accused of carrying out atrocities in these countries. However, the Kremlin had kept its distance from him, since private military services are illegal.
His influence got to the point of asking for the arrest of Alexander Begov, St. Petersburg’s governor. For two years, they have been fighting, until Prigozyn accused Begov of many things, like promoting Ukrainian nationalism or heading an international network of organized crime.
The European Union, the US, and the UK, hold him responsible for misinformation about the war in Ukraine, or in elections in African countries like Mozambique and Madagascar. He also is accused of interfering in the 2016 US election, with a misinformation campaing expressing skepticism of the legitimacy of the process. His army of trolls allegedly acted on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, appearing as controlled by Americans, and used those accounts to move Americans to vote for Donald Trump. For this, he is a wanted man by the FBI. Since 2018, the US Justice Department indicted him and other 13 Russians and issued an arrest warrant for him for conspiracy to commit electoral fraud.
His men have fought alongside Khalifa Haftar in Libya, and against jihadists in Mali. His role in the Ukraine war earned him international sanctions. He has confirmed he is in command of the Wagner Group. The US government has accused him of funding the Ukrainian campaing with African resources.
During the 2022 Ukraine war, he participated in battles like Soledar and Bakhmut, with thousands of casualties. Many of his men come from Russian jails. His men are responsible for the takeover of Bakhmut. Despite denying it for years, he admitted last year on social media that he created the group in 2014. He promised prisoners freedom if they could survive in Ukraine for six months.
On June 23rd, he posted a video criticising Russian military leadership for the war and for Ukrainian advances. He claimed that the lack of Russian ammunition was to blame for Wagner’s casualties, as well as that the military chiefs were incompetent. He also stated the Russian military establishment for failures in Ukraine, and questioned the war’s official narrative. However, he has not criticised Putin directly. In October 2022, he condemned Russian military leaders for signing a deal retreating for Kherson. Previously, he threatened to withdraw because of that problem.
Prygozin in Rostov. Source: Intel Republic
During the year of the war, he accused the Russian Army of stealing Wagner’s victories. He has also accused the Russian government of ordering state media of not mentioning Wagner’s contributions in the battlefield. He would later denounce them for airstrikes on his men’s positions. His men then attacked the city of Rostov, claiming control of military facilities there and Vorozneh. He threatened then to march on Moscow. The Kremlin declared a counterterrorism alert, sealed Moscow with checkpoints. This led Prigozyn to withdraw. Russian officials then launched a criminal investigation against him.
Moscow gave his forces until July 1st to sign contracts with the Defense Ministry, and Prigozyn refused. However, on June 24th he accepted a peace deal in order to move to Belarus, facing no charges. That day, he stated that Putin had made a mistake when he accused the Wagner Group of treason.
It has been claimed that he aspires to hold a political office in Russia, and that his influence over Putin has grown.
Prigozyn is where he is because of his luck. He gradually went rising until he got to the point where he is. On the other hand, Vladimir Putin would not have the reach he has if it was not by Prigozyn. It is because of this that his influence over the President has increased, until he got to be known as the only man to be feared by Putin.However, it remains to be seen what will happen with him after the riot of June 23rd.
Guillermo is a journalist, writer and independent international analyst. If you like what you read, please support him by donating:
CLABE: 014320 260229 251515
This money will help to do more research, improve this website, and get more material. Thank you!