Infighting and Power Struggles: Tensions Rise in Russia Amid Conflict with Ukraine
Tensions are high in Russia as rival factions battle for power and control in the midst of the ongoing conflict with Ukraine. The founder of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has accused the Russian military of attacking a Wagner camp and killing a “huge amount” of his men. He threatened to retaliate with force, insinuating that his forces would “destroy” any resistance, including roadblocks and aircraft. Prigozhin has also criticized the Kremlin's rationale for starting the war, claiming that the Armed Forces of Ukraine were not planning to attack Russia with NATO.
In response, the Russian government has accused Prigozhin of mounting an armed uprising and called for Wagner fighters to detain their leader. The domestic intelligence service, the FSB, has opened a criminal case against Prigozhin, accusing him of “calling for an armed rebellion.” Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials have been closely monitoring the situation, with the country's defense ministry and armed forces both posting on Twitter: “We are watching.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin is aware of the situation and is receiving round-the-clock updates from security officials on their efforts to counter “the attempt at an armed mutiny” by Prigozhin, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. The situation highlights the infighting and power struggles that are occurring within Russia's government and military, as various factions vie for control and influence.
Prigozhin has long been a controversial figure, known for his ties to Putin and his mercenary force, which he has used in conflicts around the world. He has also been vocal in his criticism of Russia's military leadership and has used social media to promote his personal brand as a competent and ruthless operator. The ongoing conflict with Ukraine has only exacerbated these tensions, as various factions within Russia seek to gain the upper hand.
The situation is likely to continue to be tense and unpredictable in the coming days and weeks, as the conflict with Ukraine shows no signs of abating and the power struggles within Russia's government and military continue. The international community will be closely watching these developments, as they have important implications not just for Ukraine and Russia, but for global security and stability as well.
0. “Why Russia is investigating Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin” CNN, 24 Jun. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/06/23/europe/wagner-prigozhin-criminal-case-explainer-intl/index.html
1. “Putin in crisis: Wagner chief Prigozhin declares war on Russian military leadership, says ‘we will destroy everything’” POLITICO Europe, 23 Jun. 2023, https://www.politico.eu/article/putin-in-crisis-as-wagner-chief-prigozhin-declares-war-on-russian-military-leadership
2. “Russia-Ukraine live news: Russia accuses Wagner chief of mutiny” Al Jazeera English, 24 Jun. 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/liveblog/2023/6/24/russia-ukraine-live-news-russia-accuses-wagner-chief-of-mutiny
3. “Russia accuses Wagner Group chief Prigozhin of mounting an armed uprising” Business Standard, 24 Jun. 2023, https://www.business-standard.com/world-news/russia-accuses-wagner-group-chief-prigozhin-of-mounting-an-armed-uprising-123062400106_1.html