19 Things You Need To Know About Wagner Boss Yevgeny Prigozhin
“An investigation has been launched into the Embraer plane crash that occurred tonight in the Tver region. According to the passenger list, among them is the name and surname of Yevgeny Prigozhin,” Rosaviatsia said.
Our heritage reporter Nigeria has compiled 19 things you need to know about Yevgeny Prigozhin.” Russian state media reported on Wednesday that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the chief of the notorious Russian mercenary group Wagner, is believed to have met a tragic fate in a plane crash.
The incident unfolded in the Tver region, located northwest of Moscow, and resulted in the loss of all 10 individuals onboard the business jet.
Russian authorities have confirmed that the aircraft, a private business jet, crashed in the Tver region with no survivors.
While details are still emerging, it is reported that all 10 people who were on the plane lost their lives in the crash. Among those onboard was Yevgeny Prigozhin, the enigmatic figure at the helm of Wagner, a private military company known for its involvement in various international conflicts.
Russian officials have indicated that Yevgeny Prigozhin’s name was on the passenger list of the ill-fated flight. However, at this juncture, it remains unclear whether he was physically present on the aircraft. Prigozhin, often referred to as “Putin’s chef,” due to his close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been a controversial figure both domestically and internationally.
The incident has sparked speculation about the potential implications for the Wagner group and its operations, as well as the broader geopolitical landscape. Prigozhin’s involvement in the company has drawn attention from global observers, raising questions about the group’s activities and its connections to the Russian government.
The aftermath of the crash is expected to prompt further investigation into the circumstances leading to the plane’s demise.
As Russian authorities work to piece together the events surrounding the tragedy, the world watches closely, awaiting official confirmation of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s fate and any potential ramifications for the shadowy world of private military contractors.
Here are 18 things to know about Wagner boss Prigozhin: Yevgeny Prigozhin was a Russian oligarch, mercenary leader, and former close confidant of Russian president Vladimir Putin until he launched a rebellion in June 2023. Prigozhin was sometimes called “Putin’s chef”, as he owned restaurants and catering companies that provided services for the Kremlin.
Once a convict in the Soviet Union, Prigozhin controlled a network of influential companies, notably the Wagner private military company, which was supported by the Russian state, as well as three companies accused of interference in the 2016 and 2018 US elections.
According to a 2022 investigation by Bellingcat, The Insider, and Der Spiegel, Prigozhin’s activities “are tightly integrated with Russia’s Defence Ministry and its intelligence arm, the GRU”.
After years of denying links to the Wagner Group, in September 2022 he confirmed that he was its founder. He stated that he founded it in May 2014, to support Russian proxy forces in the Donbas War against Ukraine.
This admission was prompted by a viral video in 2022 in which Prigozhin was shown at a Russian prison recruiting inmates, promising them freedom if they served six months with the Wagner Group. His Wagner Group played an important role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
It also supported Russian interests in Syria, Libya, the Central African Republic and several other countries. In November 2022, Prigozhin also admitted his role in Russian interference in US elections, saying such operations would continue.
In February 2023, he stated he was the founder and long-time manager of the Internet Research Agency, a Russian company accused of online propaganda and disinformation. The FBI offered a reward of up to $250,000 for information leading to the arrest of Prigozhin.
In October 2020, the European Union (EU) imposed sanctions against Prigozhin in connection with his financing of the activities of Wagner Group in Libya.
In April 2022, new sanctions were imposed on him by the EU because of his role in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Prigozhin openly criticized the Russian Defense Ministry for corruption and for mishandling the war against Ukraine.
On 23 June 2023, he used the Wagner Group to launch a rebellion against the Russian military leadership, accusing the Defense Ministry of shelling Wagner soldiers. Wagner captured the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don and headed for Moscow.
Negotiations led to the rebellion being called off the following day. Prigozhin agreed to move to Belarus and criminal charges against him for rebellion were dropped.
Wagner mutineers would not be prosecuted if they agreed to either sign contracts with the Defense Ministry or move to Belarus