The head of paramilitary forces Wagner escalated a power struggle with the Russian military leadership over the weekend. With his militia he besieged Rostov and made final demands. Did the coup happen? It’s been a worrying 24 hours, says Russia correspondent Markus Ackerett.
“NZZ Akzent”: The Failed Rebellion Against Putin
Marlon Ohler, Sebastian Panholzer
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Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner paramilitary group, erupted into applause Saturday evening when he left the headquarters of the Southern Military District in Rostov-on-Don in a black SUV. Visitors shout and want to shake hands through car windows. In Moscow, he is seen as a hero who challenged military leaders.
But many people breathe easy. Because it was also the temporary end of a dramatic development in Russia. “It’s been a terrible 24 hours in Moscow,” says Russia correspondent Markus Ageret in a recent episode of “NZZ Akzent.” Because when Prigozhin announced in a defensive tone on Friday night that he and his soldiers would occupy military facilities in the city of Rostov and march on Moscow, it was not clear for a long time how serious the situation really was and how serious the boss Wagner was. Did he really plan an armed uprising?
In the podcast, Markus Ackerett tells how he experienced these curious 24 hours and the unfolding events in Moscow. He recounts a restless night with little sleep, push notifications every 30 seconds, a car trip through Moscow and relief after the uprising’s swift, bloodless end. Still, according to Ackerett, the events are a dramatic sign, especially for Putin.
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