Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin reportedly died in a plane crash on Wednesday afternoon. The plane crashed south of Kuzhenkinskoe in Russia’s Tver region, instantly killing all ten aboard. News outlets are pointing to Vladimir Putin. After all, Prigozhin did attempt to stage a coup two months ago. Other outlets claim the Wagner boss has faked his death. Russia is launching an investigation into the crash, but we may never have answers.
“An investigation of the Embraer plane crash that happened in the Tver Region this evening was initiated. According to the passenger list, first and last name of Yevgeny Prigozhin was included in this list,” Russia’s Federal Agency for Air Transport said in a statement.
So why would Putin not have had him arrested or killed after the coup on June 23 that he deemed treasonous? Some may say Putin wanted to maintain a cool head and appear unbothered as if his leadership was never questioned. But why would he choose to take out Prigozhin at this stage? The two men were personal friends. Prigozhin apologized for the attempted coup, claimed he went crazy, and allegedly met with Putin after the incident to apologize.
Prigozhin was allegedly in Belarus with his eyes on Poland. Yet, Russia has not been concerned about Poland. There is an ongoing proxy war between the West and Russia playing out in Niger. There we saw a coup that overthrew the government while chanting “Wagner” and raising Russian flags. He was spotted in Africa on August 21 in a video, which was his first time addressing the public since the failed coup.
“We are working. The temperature is plus 50 [Celsius]. Everything’s the way we like it. PMC Wagner is conducting reconnaissance, making Russia even greater on every continent – and Africa even freer,” Prigozhin said in the video. “Justice and happiness for the African nations,” he said. “We are messing with ISIS, Al-Qaeda and other banditos. We hire real supermen and continue working on tasks that were set to us and we promised to carry out.”
There is a long list of people who would have wanted Yevgeny Prigozhin dead. The White House and others are blaming Putin, but I do not believe it is that cut and dry, although it is mysterious that the plane crashed in Russia. Russia would retaliate against any country or organization found responsible, but they would not be so careless as to attack a NATO nation. So the question remains — who killed Wagner boss, Prigozhin?