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Vladimir Putin’s grip on power in Russia came to the spotlight this weekend after the Wagner mercenary group marched on Moscow on Saturday before turning away from the Russian capital in a mutiny initially described as “treason” by the Russian president.
Late on Friday, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner mercenary group fighting alongside the Russian army in Ukraine, demanded the removal of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and armed forces chief Valery Gerasimov for consistently failing to supply ammunition to the Wagner group.
Prigozhin led Wagner fighters to the large southern Russian city Rostov-on-Don, which was occupied by the mercenaries early on Saturday. Rostov-on-Don is the headquarters of the Russian Southern armed forces.
The Wagner group then proceeded north to another large Russian city, Voronezh, and were heading to Moscow.
But later on Saturday, Prigozhin said his forces were turning back from their march on Moscow, when they were just 120 miles from the Russian capital, after talks with Belarus’s President Alexander Lukashenko, who had brokered a deal.
Prigozhin will head to Belarus and will not face criminal charges, the Kremlin said.
The truth is likely much more complex than the information officially given by all Russian participants in this weekend’s bizarre attempt at a coup.
Prigozhin is a “kind of dead man walking at this point,” Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group, told CNBC’s program “Squawk Box Asia” on Monday.
“I would be very surprised that he’s still with us in a few months’ time,” Bremmer added.
Many other analysts have also commented on Prigozhin’s revolt.
“Putin is vulnerable and the Russian state is decrepit,” says Daniel Fried, former assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that the Wagner group mutiny showed “cracks emerge that weren’t there before” in Russia.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.