Espreso. Global

Putin's decision to keep Prigozhin's funeral secret aimed at preventing future martyrdom

31 August, 2023 Thursday
11:49

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) suggests that the Kremlin's attempt to suppress reports on the funeral of Yevgeny Prigozhin might be due to Vladimir Putin's ongoing concern regarding the popularity of Wagner PMC leader in Russia

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The Institute for the Study of War shared its analysis in the recent report.

"The Kremlin has reportedly undertaken several efforts to silence or confuse reports about Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin’s funeral, which likely indicates that the Kremlin remains worried about Prigozhin’s appeal in Russia and among Wagner forces even after his death," the report says.

According to two current Russian officials, the Putin administration and the Federal Security Service deliberately made Prigozhin's funeral a secret in order to avoid turning him into a martyr in the future.

Officials said that the above-mentioned people met to develop a plan that would prevent any chance of public outrage or protest and mislead the public about Prigozhin's burial site. 

The analysts noted that some Russian Telegram channels noted that Russian federal channels largely ignored Prigozhin's funeral, likely also as part of the Kremlin's planned "coverage" of the funeral.

ISW also observed how some Telegram channels baselessly speculated that Prigozhin had survived the crash, which could also be an information operation to flood the Russian information space with misleading messages to divert attention from Prigozhin's funeral.

Details regarding Prigozhin’s plane crash

On August 23, a business jet belonging to Yevgeny Prigozhin, an Embraer aircraft, crashed in Russia's Tver region, resulting in the confirmed deaths of 10 individuals. Among the passengers was Dmitry Utkin, a key figure in Wagner PMC.

Subsequently, the Institute for the Study of War suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin might have ordered the assassination of Wagner PMC leader Yevgeny Prigozhin to reassert dominance and seek revenge.

France has stated that there are "reasonable doubts" about the cause of the plane crash that killed Wagner PMC leader.

One version from Russian media indicated that an explosive device was planted in the landing gear of the plane carrying Wagner PMC leader Yevgeny Prigozhin. This device would have detonated at a specific moment, leading to wing and stabilizer detachment.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized that Ukraine was not involved in the plane's downing. The death of PMC leader Wagner was officially confirmed by the Russian Investigative Service on August 27.

On August 29, the leader of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, was buried in St. Petersburg, Russia. The funeral was held behind closed doors.

Read more about the plane crash with Prigozhin here.

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