WHATEVER way you look at it, the reported death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of Russia’s Wagner Group mercenary force, will not be a sad day to anyone, except perhaps to those who benefitted from his benevolence and wealth and agreed to do his bidding in terrorizing the rest of the world.
If ever there will be an epitaph etched upon his gravestone to commemorate his untimely death it would have to read something like this: “Here lies a dealer of death. Good riddance”.
In the dark history of mercenary soldiers, private armies and organized killers, nothing comes close to what Prigozhin has created using his influence, millions and military hardware to serve the interests of someone sitting in the throne of his motherland. His Wagner Group of mercenaries serve no other purpose than to wage proxy wars on behalf of Russia via his boss Vladimir Putin while further enriching himself and earning favors, political and otherwise, all at the expense of some poor souls killed or brutalized by his paid soldiers.
That his death is being attributed as a result of him having fallen out of favor from the good graces of his boss Putin should not come as a surprise since it is already well known that those who live by the sword often eventually die by the sword. Of course what really is surprising is how the drama of his life played out, how his Wagner group of mercenaries has caught the public eye and how a merchant of death has nearly succeeded in toppling the throne in Russia, all displayed in their full glory for the entire world to see. And what a sordid and despicable affair that was.
For those not yet fully aware of who Prigozhin was before his unworthy life was ended in a plane crash a couple of days ago, Reuters, an internationally renowned news agency, published these key facts about him: “Born in St Petersburg on June 1, 1961, Prigozhin spent nine years in Soviet prisons for crimes including robbery and fraud. Released in 1990 amid the Soviet Union’s death throes, he launched a career as a caterer and restaurateur in his hometown. He is believed to have met Putin, then a top aide to St Petersburg’s mayor, at this time. Leveraging political connections, Prigozhin was awarded major state contracts, becoming known as “Putin’s chef” after catering for Kremlin events. In 2014, Prigozhin founded Wagner, a private military company whose fighters have deployed in support of Moscow’s allies in countries including Syria, Libya and the Central African Republic. The United States has sanctioned it and accused it of atrocities, which Prigozhin has denied. Prigozhin, 62, soared in prominence after Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, where his fighters – including thousands of convicts he recruited from prison – led the Russian assault on the city of Bakhmut in the longest and bloodiest battle of the war. Prigozhin used social media to trumpet Wagner’s successes and wage a feud with the military establishment, accusing it of incompetence and even treason. In June, Prigozhin led a mutiny in which Wagner fighters took control of the southern city of Rostov-on-Don and shot down a number of military helicopters, killing their pilots, as they advanced towards Moscow. President Vladimir Putin called it an act of treachery that would meet with a harsh response. The revolt was defused in a deal whereby the Kremlin said that in order to avert bloodshed, Prigozhin and some of his fighters would leave for Belarus and a criminal case against him for armed mutiny would be dropped.”
From a caterer and chef to becoming a monster whose idea of pleasing his masters was to order his men to go out and kill someone, whoever decided that Prigozhin should no longer walk this earth, whether it was his boss Putin or someone else, does not deserve any praise for his or her actions but may be merely acknowledged for having rid the world of a monster.
But the question that needs to be asked is, will the death of Prigozhin bring about the extinction of his Wagner group of mercenaries or will they be just absorbed in some other paramilitary outfit and continue their penchant of waging death and destruction at the behest of some other monster. The economy of war and strife has created the likes of Yevgeny Prigozhin, his death is merely a pause to the almost never-ending conflict all across the globe as superpowers have begun to flex their influence and dominion over lesser States or third world countries.