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Prigozhin’s Reported Demise: Implications for Putin’s control over Kremlin

The convergence of Prigozhin's demise and Navalny's imprisonment bolsters Putin's control over both the Kremlin establishment and the political landscape.

Moscow, Russia, August 24:  In a shocking turn of events, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the chief of the notorious Wagner Group, met a tragic end in a plane crash along with nine others. The private jet crashed north of Moscow, leading to the demise of all on board. This further ended the months-long Prigozhin-Putin struggle.

Prigozhin, who once led his fighters in a fierce assault on Ukraine’s city of Bakhmut, had recently turned against Russia’s defense minister Sergei Shoigu, initiating a march towards Moscow.

However, after direct discussions with President Vladimir Putin, he abandoned the planned march, aiming to prevent further bloodshed.

The crash of the Embraer plane, on which Prigozhin was traveling, prompted an immediate investigation by Russia’s aviation authority Rosaviatsia.

The incident occurred in the Tver region, and initial reports from TASS confirmed the tragic loss of ten lives.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, who had risen to prominence through his Wagner Group’s involvement in Russia’s military operations, had orchestrated a mutiny earlier this year.

The mutiny led to Wagner forces taking control of Rostov-on-Don and even downing military helicopters, an act denounced as treachery by President Putin, giving rise to the Prigozhin-Putin struggle.

In response to the mutiny, Russia filed criminal charges against Prigozhin for his role in the uprising.

However, subsequent developments saw the Wagner boss and his associates finding refuge in Belarus, with the promise of dropping the mutiny-related charges.

Prigozhin’s recent video address, his first since the June mutiny, showcased a defiant tone. Filmed in an undisclosed location, possibly Africa, he reiterated his commitment to strengthening Russia’s influence globally, particularly in Africa, while combating terrorist groups such as ISIS and al Qaeda.

The timing of the incident has ignited global speculation and intrigue.

President Putin, known for his uncompromising stance against political adversaries, has recently demonstrated his firm approach with Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. Following charges of large-scale fraud and contempt, Navalny received a harsh sentence of 9 years in a maximum security penal colony by a Russian court.

The pressing question emerges: Could Prigozhin’s death be another chapter in Putin’s alleged political vendetta?

CIA Director William Burns has contemplated the prospect of revenge as a motivating factor in light of the reported death. As official investigations unfold, the circumstances surrounding the incident do raise suspicions of potential targeting.

Analysts at Indic Worldview offer a perspective that extends beyond the cause of the accident.

Irrespective of its origin, the reported passing of Yevgeny Prigozhin could potentially further solidify President Putin’s influence within Russia.

This could translate into a reaffirmation of loyalty towards Putin’s leadership, particularly considering the relative absence of challenges to his authority following the recent mutiny attempt.

The convergence of Prigozhin’s demise and Navalny’s imprisonment bolsters Putin’s control over both the Kremlin establishment and the political landscape. This amplified grip on power is likely to reverberate in Putin’s decision-making concerning the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

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