Dimitri Minic: 'The Kremlin's credibility has been shaken'
For this Russian army specialist, at least part of the armed forces rallying behind the founder of the Wagner group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, cannot be ruled out.
A researcher at the Russia-Eurasia Center of the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri), Dimitri Minic is a specialist in the Russian army, and the author of the 2023 essay Pensée et culture stratégiques russes (Russian strategic thinking and culture: From bypassing armed struggle to war in Ukraine").
How do you explain the mutiny instigated by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner mercenary group? What is his motivation?
First of all, it's not a "mutiny". The lucidity Prigozhin can episodically demonstrate – as he did just yesterday – about Russia's war in Ukraine makes it highly unlikely that he believed his own account of the "bad boys" [the Russian Defense Ministry] manipulating and deceiving [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. We need to decentralize and retrace Wagner's recent trajectory. Prigozhin has constantly criticized the military chiefs, the government and the leaders, in terms that are sometimes equivocal, leaving no doubt as to who he is really addressing: Putin himself.
At the same time, the noose gradually tightened around Prigozhin, with the law on volunteers [announced at the beginning of June, which obliged soldiers from private military companies to sign a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense, threatening Wagner with dilution in the army], not to mention the considerable losses the militia suffered in Bakhmut, in Ukraine. Attacking the Ministry of Defense, breaking the official narrative on the reasons for the "special military operation," opposing the law on volunteers: All this amounted to a direct attack on Putin. [...]
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