Espreso. Global

Wagner chief Prigozhin buried in St. Petersburg in private funeral

29 August, 2023 Tuesday

The leader of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who reportedly died in a plane crash on August 23, was buried in St. Petersburg, Russia. The funeral was held in a “closed format”

This was reported by Prigozhin's press service.

"The farewell to Yevgeny Viktorovich was held in a closed format. Those wishing to say goodbye can visit the Porokhovskoye cemetery," the statement said.

At the same time, one of Prigozhin's closest associates, Valery Chekalov, with the call sign "Rover," was buried at the Northern cemetery, the BBC Russian service said.

The media outlet notes that preparations for the funeral of the members of the Wagner group who were on board Prigozhin's plane have been taking place at several cemeteries in St. Petersburg since yesterday, but Porokhovskoye cemetery was not mentioned among them.

Throughout the day, journalists followed the movements of the mourning motorcades, but there was no accurate information about where and when Prigozhin would be buried.

The Porokhovskoye cemetery is located in the northeastern part of the city and is considered semi-closed. There, urns with the ashes of the deceased are buried in the graves of relatives who have died earlier.

The VChK-OGPU Telegram channel clarified that Prigozhin's father was buried at the Porokhovskoye cemetery.

"A source of the VChK-OGPU said that this morning Yevgeny Prigozhin's mother arrived, accompanied by Wagner's employees, paid the administration for the plot and for the grave preparation work. Around 4 p.m., a hearse with a closed coffin arrived. The path at the cemetery is narrow, the hearse traveled only halfway, then the coffin was carried by mercenaries from the PMC," the Telegram channel writes.

The funeral was allegedly attended by about 40 people. Prigozhin was buried without honor, and an ordinary wooden cross was placed on the grave.

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. Multiple theories have emerged about the crash: 1) the plane might have been downed by an S-300 anti-aircraft missile system; 2) it could have been hit by air defense systems; 3) an explosion might have occurred onboard.

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.

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 and made light of the situation by joking that such "aircraft assistance" wasn't what Ukraine had asked for.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speculated that after Prigozhin's probable death, Wagner operatives might continue to destabilize Belarus' neighboring countries.

The US officials suggest that the aircraft, carrying passengers linked to Wagner PMC leadership, was likely shot down by a missile from Russian territory.

The Russian leader also reacted to Prigozhin's death, referring to the Wagner leader as a man with a difficult fate who achieved the necessary results but also made significant mistakes.

ISW analysts believe that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's willingness to publicly kill Wagner's leadership is likely to prompt the PMC's Council of Commanders to refrain from publicly appointing successors to Yevgeny Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin.

Experts in the investigation of the plane crash in the Tver region of Russia on August 27 have completed molecular genetic examinations. In particular, the study confirmed the death of the founder of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin.

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