The head of Russia’s Wagner paramilitary group reportedly been moved to deny his band of mercenaries are going to stage a coup against the Kremlin, following months of speculation that he may seek to overthrow and replace Vladimir Putin.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the chief of the Wagner Private Military Company, denied that he is intending on staging a military coup against Vladimir Putin’s regime, which he has been increasingly critical of, particularly in the handling of the war in Ukraine.
In comments reported by U.S. think tank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Prigozhin argued that his mercenary group does not have the manpower to carry out a successful coup in Russia and that they have good relations with Putin, regardless. He went on to claim that Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, whom he is frequently at odds with, is more likely to try to overthrow the current Russian government than he is.
The Wagner chief raised eyebrows last week when he said that the failures of the Ukraine war and the disproportionate impact on the working classes of Russia could spark another revolution in the country akin to 1917. However, Prigozhin clarified that he was not advocating for a revolution, but merely making suggestions on how to improve the country and the war effort.