News was out yesterday that Putin had taken possession of a large part of Prigozhin’s weaponry — more than 2,000 tanks, 20,000 rifles, 2500 tons of artillery ammunition along with launch rocket systems and air defense launchers.
Part of his troops are being absorbed into the Russian Army, some being allowed back to Ukraine to fight under different commanders while others are being put to work in Belarus training their soldiers.
Prigozhin’s uprising took place on June 24th, so it took 19 days for the famous Wagner Group to be neutralized. It fought fiercely to defend and occupy the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut — at a cost of 20,000 dead soldiers — but now their role in the war has come to an end.
Prigozhin and his commanders apparently remain free.
I think this also marks the end of Prigozhin’s involvement in Africa.
But the Prigozhin Effect won’t die so easily.
He rocked the Russian military. That was his contribution.
Yesterday, a private communication from Ivan Popov, a Russian general deeply engaged in the war and respected by his soldiers, was made public. It sharply criticized his superiors for not providing his troops with the necessary supplies to fight back Ukraine. Notably missing were artillery reconnaissance systems that have put Russians troops at a marked disadvantage. General Popov was released from duty.
The news item remarked that Popov was not close to Prigozhin.
So even as Prigozhin is being defanged, the Prigozhin Effect is alive and well.
And what it does is remind the Russian Army that opportunities are there to be seized, to topple Putin and send him to do hard labor in Siberia for the remainder of his life.
The charge? Inventing the need for a war that has resulted in the death of 50,000 Russian soldiers, a large, probably similar number of Ukrainian losses, a regression in the evolution of Russian society, the emigration of large numbers of valuable people and immense human suffering.
Somehow, the bulk of the Russian people, not all, failed to see how atrocious their choice of leader was. They not only failed to see it, they failed to challenge Putin’s increasingly authoritarian style. History will not forget such failure.
But the new Russians, the children of the parents who failed, have a chance to do something about it and put Russia, with its enormous pool of human talent and natural resources, back on the course to fulfilling its potential to become a leading nation in the…