Wagner Group Mutiny in Russia

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Authors: Andrew S. Bowen
Page Range: 395-398
Published in: Current Politics and Economics of Russia, Eastern and Central Europe, 38#4
ISSN: 1057-2295

Table of Contents

ABSTRACT

On Friday, June 23, 2023, Russia’s Wagner Group and its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin launched the most serious threat yet to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rule. The mutiny followed worsening tensions between Prigozhin and the Ministry of Defense (MoD), specifically Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov. Prigozhin accused the military leadership in a video of fabricating the pretext for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and killing troops unnecessarily— including attacking Wagner units. Some observers speculate Prigozhin’s video and the subsequent escalation was initially an attempt to preempt the demand that all “volunteer” formations sign contracts with the Russian MoD, effectively ending the Wagner Group’s autonomy. Russian authorities issued an arrest warrant for “incitement to armed rebellion” for Prigozhin shortly after midnight on Saturday, June 24, 2023.

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