The Wagner chief Prigozhin has died in a private jet crash along with other nine, six Wagner members and three cabin crew. There is looming confusion over his death whether this is Putin’s revenge or a coincidental death. The revenge theory is getting its primacy because of Putin’s past comments during the Wagner mutiny on 23 July. He labelled the mutiny as act of treason. Moreover, ex Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officer Alexander Litvinenko was accused of being killed in the United Kingdom through poisoning Polonium-20 by FSB with the approval of Putin. The reason behind the assassination was that he left Russia, criticized Putin regime and collaborated with British intelligence. Most of the western medias are comparing these two incidents and has concluded that Prigozhin is also being killed on Putin’s direction.

Among the other 6 members, Dmitry Utkin is another key figure of Wagner. He is regarded as the influential commander of Wagner who has strong relation with Prigozhin. He was also accused of being part of the June mutiny. There was another close associate of Prigozhin, Valery Chkalov who is believed to be close with him and has business links to the Wagner leader stretching back to the 2000s. After analyzing these facts, many analysts and media have drawn the conclusion of assassination theory. However, accusations need hard evidence as well to prove. No one can reach any conclusion so earlier rather can just discuss the debates hanging over.

Who is Prigozhin?

Yevgeny Prigozhin, also dubbed as Putin’s chef, is basically a Russian businessman. He had the catering and restaurant business that provided services to Kremlin. He became very close with Putin gradually. He then established a private military company “The Wagner Group”. The group was originally founded by Dmitry Utkin, but the ownership and financial activities are controlled by Prigozhin. The group came into the limelight during Crimea annexation in 2014. Then it participated in the Syrian civil war and many African conflicts.  Lastly, it joined in Russia-Ukraine war and helped Russian military to win battle if Bakhmut with a heavy casualty Wagner faced ever. Prigozhin led a mutiny against Russian government just after that battle, accusing Russian military’s non-cooperation during the battle which had to endure a heavy death toll. Although the mutiny did not last long and Wagner group was relocated to Belarus, the permanent damage of the relation between Putin and Prigozhin occurred for good.

How his death occurred?

Missile Debate:

Various western medias are directly claiming that Putin assassinated Prigozhin by shooting down the plane through missile attack. British military analyst Sean Bill has even claimed the validity of this missile theory. However, the Pentagon has dismissed the missile theory. The US has rejected the concept of surface to air missiles that have brought down the plan as they did not find enough evidence.

Pre-Planned Bomb or Technical error debate:

Some people are even accusing that there should a pre-installed bomb in the plan before. There might also be a pre-planned technical error problem of the plan. No claim is verified until now.

Accidental crash debate: Putting aside all these plannings, this might be just an accident. The jet may have had some technical problems or fuel problem which led to a sudden crash. The reason behind rejection of this natural crash theory is because of the political nature of the incident.

Who is responsible?

Putin’s Revenge Theory:

Most of the media are confidently alleging that the death of Prigozhin is nothing but Putin’s revenge. He defied Putin’s regime openly, although did not mention Putin directly. Controlling him became a big challenge for Putin. Wagner mutiny was also labelled as an act of treason. Uniting all these facts, many analysts have identified this incident as Putin’s revenge.  On the other hand, Putin has recently delivered a public comment over his death. Putin showed his condolences to Prigozhin’s family as describing him as a “talented businessman”, but someone who “made serious mistakes in life”.

A repercussion from Military Theory:

Prigozhin openly delivered his hatred speech towards the Russina military command, Chief of the Army staff Valery Grasimov and Defence minister Sergei Shoigu. Moreover, he challanged Russian military leadership and their questioned their effectiveness in Ukraine-Russia war. There was a tacit dissatisfaction among the military over Wagner’s activities. According to this theory, military might take action to stop Prigozhin, independent of Putin’s consent. Although one might question, does anything happen in Russia without Putin’s knowledge?  The believers of this theory  give a strong argument that there are many things happening in Russia without Putin’s knowledge nowadays.

CIA/DGSE involvement Theory:
The recent activities of Wagner in Africa, especially Sahel region, indeed a threat to USA and French interests. The uprising in Niger has complicated the situation more as ECOWAS still could not initiate a military intervention. Both USA and France have their strategic presence in Sahel region which is under direct threat from Wagner group. More and more countries are inviting Wagner instead of western military presence. By killing Wagner chief and main commander might hamper the activities of Wagner in Africa. Naturally, the allegation goes to Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of USA and Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE) of France as their national interests are best served with the fall of Wagner.

Just a Coincident, Dude:

There is another bunch of people who see this incident just as an accident. The death of Prigozhin might serve the purpose of various actors involved here, but according to this theory believers it’s just a coincidental incident.

Conclusion

Under the term classified, the actual reason for the Prigozhin’s plane crash might not be revealed any more. It will be lost in the history page as just a great confusion. From outside of Russia, many analysts will continuously give thesis and anti-thesis about this incident. But we will never know what’s the actual reason behind the plane crash is and who committed this or just a natural coincidence. The future of Wagner Group also remains under heavy confusion whether it will sustain without Prigozhin or not.

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