Unless the nation’s leaders fully commit to the struggle, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s Wagner Group, cautions that Russia could experience a revolution and lose its war in Ukraine. He also calls for martial law and lambastes the elites for living well while soldiers perish.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of Russia’s private mercenary army, the Wagner Group, has issued a warning that Russia could face a revolution and lose its war in Ukraine unless the country’s elites fully commit to the fight. Prigozhin criticized Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and other elites for leading comfortable lives while soldiers die in battle. He compared the situation to the 1917 Russian Revolution and warned that Russian citizens could turn against the elites. Prigozhin blamed strategic blunders by Russian military forces for the lack of progress in the war and called for martial law to be imposed. He also offered two scenarios for the future of the war in Ukraine, neither of which he believed would be favorable for Russia. Prigozhin claimed that his private army had recruited 50,000 convicts from Russian prisons, with a 20% casualty rate, and 10,000 other contracted forces. His ability to criticize senior Russian officials without consequences has surprised observers, considering the strict laws enacted to silence dissent during the Ukraine invasion. Despite criticism, Prigozhin’s mercenaries have had limited success on the front lines, which has garnered praise from President Vladimir Putin.