Evgeny Prigozhin, the owner of Wagner PMC, has launched a series of information operations aimed at to show himself as a hero of Russia in a “crusade” against the petty and corrupt Russian authorities.
Analysts from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) analyzed the publication of Prigozhin's personal press service. In particular, on January 21, the press service distributed a letter from the family of the deceased Wagnerian, which states that “indifferent” local officials did not help with the funeral of their son.
ISW analyzed a letter from Prigozhin's press office
Russian officials are contrasted with Prigozhin, who listens to the appeals of “ordinary people.” In the letter, the head of the Wagnerites is mentioned as “the only person who is not indifferent to the fate of the defender of Russia and his family.”
Prigozhin also sharply criticized the officials of the Sverdlovsk region, apparently showing solidarity with the “common man”.
According to ISW, Prigogine mistakenly portrays himself and the Wagnerites as subjects who will continue their moral deeds despite likely prosecutions.
Russia fears Prigozhin's ambitions
- It is known that Prigozhin is one of the closest Russian oligarchs to Vladimir Putin. Putin uses the Wagnerites along with the regular Russian army in the war against Ukraine.
- Prigozhin has repeatedly criticized the Russian Ministry of Defense, as well as the country's military leadership. It was reported that he had an alliance with the former commander of the occupying forces, Sergei Surovikin.
- But recently, Valery Gerasimov, who was heavily criticized by the Wagnerites and Prigozhin himself, became the new commander of the Russians. Surovikin became Gerasimov's deputy. Probably, in this way, the Kremlin responded to Prigozhin's criticism of the Ministry of Defense.
- In Moscow, not everyone favors Prigozhin. This mainly concerns military and political leaders. In Russia, they fear because of the political ambitions of the oligarch.
- Prigozhin is responsible for the section of the front near Bakhmut, where Russia is suffering heavy losses. He is trying to show at least some results in order to gain Putin's trust.