“The sooner everything is taken away from them, the better.”
Boss Wagner railed against oligarchs on Russian television
He doesn’t usually appear in the media. Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin acts in the background. Even more surprising is that the Russian could now be seen for an interview on state television. In it he spoke in plain language – indicting oligarchs.
He was mad at the oligarchs: Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner Group.
In a televised interview, Yevgeny Prigozhin (61), a financier of the Wagner group, lamented the lack of commitment on the part of oligarchs and the wealthy in Moscow’s war against Ukraine. “You’re scared. You want comfort. They all want to have fun in the evening in a hot pool,” the 61-year-old, who otherwise doesn’t appear in the media, said in an interview with Russian state TV channel RT on Saturday. He advocated taking everything away from these Russian guys. In his view , they will also be willing to support the front.
“At some point, you have to understand that you have to part with everything you have, the glamorous world, the restaurants, the health resorts, the dachas, the swimming pools,” he said. “The sooner everything is taken from them, the better.” Like many wealthy Russians, Prigozhin is subject to Western sanctions for supporting the war in Ukraine.
The businessman is considered a close confidant of Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin, 70. He is also known as “Putin’s Chef” from his earlier days in St. Petersburg, as he made his fortune catering for the Kremlin and the Russian military. Prigogine, who is wanted by the FBI in the US for election meddling, recently revealed himself as the mastermind behind the Wagner mercenary group, made up of volunteers and criminals. He repeatedly criticizes the mistakes made by the Russian military leadership in the war against Ukraine.
He conducts a power struggle with the St. Petersburg authorities
On Saturday, Prigogine made a public appearance at a St. Petersburg cemetery at the funeral of a Wagner fighter killed in the war in Ukraine. State media in Russia treated this as a sensation, because Prigozhin has spoken often recently, but never appeared on camera.
For the businessman, the funeral was a victory in his struggle for power with the St. Petersburg authorities, who initially refused to honor the dead man in the military section of the cemetery as a convicted felon. Prigogine, on the other hand, hailed the man as a “true patriot.” He stressed that everyone is equal in the front line. The US Institute for War Studies (ISW) assessed the appearance and interview as a new attempt by Prigozhin to gain respect and influence in Russian society. (SDA/jmh)
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