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Russia: Wagner Group insurrection (updated)


Well …. You know it’s bad when state-owned RT covers it as an “armed coup.”
This armed insurrection is fair repayment to Putin for relying on a convict army to do his thuggish will. The Wagner Group reveals itself to be the prison-based cultural cohort we knew it to be. Read the article(s) linked in comments.
While Putin may reap what he sows, Americans blindly pulling for the Wagner Group to take control have no grasp of the potential consequences. This is not the group you want taking control of Russia.
Prigozhin’s units are grounded and in Russia’s prison culture, where “brutally imposed caste systems govern life and death” and where society is dives into blatniye (thieves), muzhiki (men), kozliy (billy goats), and petukhi (roosters).
Highly recommended reading: Kristaps Andrejsons. “Russia’s Convict-Soldiers Have Their Own Brutal Rules.”  Foreign Policy. May 16, 2023.
P.S. Americans: This is what an “armed insurrection” actually looks like. The Wagner Group won’t be leaving at curfew.
Russia tightens security in and around Moscow. All mass outdoor events scheduled before 1 July are cancelled. The mayor of Moscow warns residents not to travel. In a televised address to the nation, Putin characterized Prigozhin’s actions as a “betrayal” and “treason” and promised to punish rebels.
24 June 2023
According to Russian TV channel Rossiya 24, after his public statements Putin can’t easily deal directly with Prigozhin and so Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko is serving as a bridge of communication and has helped convince Prigozhin to at least temporarily stand down.
The BBC reports Prigozhin has instructed his forces to abandon their march on Moscow to “avoid bloodshed” and to return to their bases.
Prigozhin denies attempting a coup aimed at the political leadership (Putin) but rather that is focus is on rebellion against and a call for changes in Russian military leadership (and rescinding an unconfirmed Russian MoD move to absorb Wagner minus Prigozhin). Russian state media report Prigozhin will go to Belarus.
There are multiple reports that Wagner forces are moving out of Rostov-on-Don leaving and seized military facilities in Voronezh
Dmitry Peskov, President Putin’s press secretary, says Wagner mercenaries can sign a Ministry of Defense contract and fighters who took part in the uprising will not be prosecuted.
(KLL Comment: This essentially puts Wagner forces (or former Wagner forces) inside the formal Russian military structure yet still allows Wagner to exist an an independent entity. A short term solution with long term danger. If, as it appears, Prigozhin will keep his neck, then he gains influence with the Russian MoD (or he may have negotiated leadership changes within the Russian MoD) and this solution may keep Wagner a separate entity (note: Wagner also operates in Africa).  If I were Ukraine, I would not want Prigozhin active in Belarus.)
Given the chaotic and unclear nature of the information coming out of Russia — especially with regard to whether Wagner will be absorbed into the MoD or allowed to continue as an independent force — it is hard to make any high confidence assessments.
As Wagner pulls back, the question becomes “What is Putin’s next move?” If he compromised with Prigozhin, how does Putin reassert legitimacy and authority among his own loyalists. What steps does he take to prevent further attempts to undermine his authority. Doe he dramatically escalate attacks on Ukraine to avert attention, show strength, etc.?