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Wagner Chief Yevgeny Prigozhin Laid to Rest Amid Secrecy and Controversy

Published September 21, 2023
8 months ago

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the infamous leader of Wagner Group, killed in a plane crash on August 23rd, was buried under a shroud of secrecy at the Porokhovskoye cemetery on the outskirts of St Petersburg. The discreet funeral, a complete departure from Prigozhin's typically flamboyant style, was confined to close associates and family members, thus deflecting a potential public show of solidarity.

Prigozhin, a figure known for his ruthlessness and audacity, had irked several authority figures, including President Vladimir Putin. He was known for his frank critique of the Russian military authorities during the Ukraine war and for staging a mutiny, posing the most significant challenge to Putin's rule since 1999.

Despite the controversies, Prigozhin commanded a following among some Russians. Following his death, makeshift shrines sprouted across Moscow, St Petersburg and other parts of the country, where admirers laid bouquets of flowers in tribute to the Wagner Chief.

The authorities have been vague about the circumstances surrounding Prigozhin’s death, with suggestions of a politically motivated assassination being dismissed as an “absolute lie” by Kremlin. Skepticism persists due to the baffling nature of the plane crash that left Prigozhin and nine others dead, the cause of which remains a mystery.

Prigozhin’s larger-than-life personality and his subsequent strained relationship with the Kremlin have left a significant impact, causing Putin to demand Wagner fighters to pledge an oath of allegiance in the aftermath of the former's death.

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