Image of the leader of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin. Credit: Twitter @Flash_news_ua
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the infamous Wagner Group is said to be about to form his own political party to compete in Russian politics.
According to media reports, the leader of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, plans to form a kind of “conservative movement” which could eventually turn into a political party. This is what Meduza suggested on Tuesday, November 15, citing two sources close to the Kremlin and close to the mercenary boss.
This movement is allegedly based on “patriotism and statehood”, they said, and is engaged in constant criticism of Russian officials and businessmen. His recent “anti-elite rhetoric” is surely no accident.
According to Meduza’s sources, Prigozhin came up with this idea, among other things, after observing the activities of Alexei Navalny’s team, which regularly publishes corruption investigations. This information would have been confirmed to the media by a source close to the authorities of Saint Petersburg.
“Prigozhin grasps quickly and learns quickly. He can present himself as a person among the people who demand equality,” said one of Meduza’s interlocutors.
The sources added that in addition to the “anti-elite,” Prigozhin plans to use a “revengeful” agenda: “A sense of revenge for military failures will be cultivated – so we will win back anyway. Well, who is to blame for the fact that we did not reach Kyiv and conditionally hand over Kherson? Yes, the same elite”.
Meduza’s sources also said that Yevgeny Prigozhin could be called the “junior partner” of the Kovalchuk brothers in this project. They are businessmen close to Vladimir Putin. Together with Prigozhin, the Kovalchuks were struggle Governor of St. Petersburg Alexander Beglov for more than a year, although they have already helped him.
The reason for the conflict was contracts for the implementation of large-budget projects in the city. Not so long ago, Prigozhin even filed two petitions against Beglov with the Prosecutor General’s Office. It called for an investigation into the allegations concerning the alleged creation of a criminal community by the governor and his possible treason.
Prigozhin is “one of the tools of the Kovalchuks”, the sources said, explaining that they wanted to show Putin that they could be one of the “main operators of the country’s politics”. For them, it is a tool to work in the patriotic segment, as well as to intimidate and demoralize the elite so that they do not even think of ‘jumping’ from the president”.
Previously, Meduza reported that before the 2021 State Duma elections, the Kovalchuks “patronized” the New People’s Party, which eventually reached parliament. Around the same time, Prigozhin had similar political plans: the businessman planned to win control over the Rodina party, but ultimately the presidential administration decided that this party did not need to be developed.
Since the outbreak of the war, however, Prigozhin has been in constant contact with Putin and “can reach him”. Meduza’s interlocutors, however, stressed that they did not know if the founder of the Wagner PMC had discussed his political career with the president. At the same time, they noted that Prigozhin may well receive “sanctions” from the Kremlin for this.
“It must be understood that this is a niche project, designed for the ultra-patriotic majority, which both does not support the authorities in everything and criticizes the elites, officials and businesses,” concluded The source, adding that Prigozhin’s growing influence is already worrying some senior officials.
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