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In the previous reviews for July (here and here), a question was raised about the duration and effectiveness of the Russian authorities’ battle against alternative narratives, which began spreading across the country thanks to Prigozhin and his coup. 

On August 23, above the skies of Tver Oblast, the Kremlin seemingly put an end to this narrative. However, Prigozhin’s death only intensified the suspicions of the Russian masses that the government was exploiting them in its war. Now, the specter of revolution haunting Russia has the voice and narratives of the late owner of the Wagner PMC.

But let us examine the unfolding media coverage surrounding the figure of the restaurateur-cum-coup plotter.

Up until the day of his death, Russian media tried to avoid mentioning Prigozhin and the coup altogether. And if they did address it, it was either in reference to Belarusian dictator Lukashenko, who sheltered the members of the Wagner PMC or in the context of tumultuous events in Africa.

Every mention of Prigozhin before August 23 was dominated by the same theme: the Wagnerites pose an “incredible” threat to Poland, Ukraine, as well as the interests of the USA and France in Africa, while having no influence on internal Russian affairs. In other words, the Russian audience was led to believe that nothing significant had really happened:

·       To support this, Lukashenko kept repeating unsubstantiated frightening stories about the Wagnerites being ready to attack Poland.

August 1, 2023, Tsargrad TV:

“Earlier, Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki became particularly concerned that supposedly, fighters from the Wagner Group were infiltrating the country disguised as illegal refugees: ‘More than 100 mercenaries from the Wagner Group have moved to the Suwałki Gap, not far from the Belarusian Grodno.’ At the same time, Morawiecki was not so worried when Polish mercenaries, in alliance with Bandera supporters, were officially fighting against the SMO [special military operation] forces in Eastern Ukraine, thousands of kilometers from the Polish border.

’Listen, the Suwałki Gap is not in Belarus. We are not moving either along this gap or toward the gap. We do not have the slightest need for it. The main thing is that it is quiet,’ Lukashenko responded to all Polish lamentations. At the same time, the Belarusian leader firmly noted that Belarus, as a sovereign state, will move its troops around its territory at its discretion.

I joked that the Wagnerites whisper to each other: ‘Let’s go on an excursion to Rzeszów.’ Why? Because equipment and weapons came from Rzeszów to where these Wagnerites fought near Artemovsk [Bakhmut]. Thousands of their guys died there. And they will not forgive this. Let them [the Polish authorities] thank the Belarusians and me for inviting these fighters. And it’s not one thousand. I don’t even want to say how many. Today, they control more than 30,000 people. These are guys geared up for war... [They have] many crippled, dead. Will they forgive? They will not,” Alexander Lukashenko clearly explained the situation.

The President of the Republic added for all attentive listeners in the West: ‘So let them [in the West] pray that we are holding them, providing for them somehow. Otherwise, without us, they would have infiltrated it and kicked the hell out of Rzeszow and Warsaw. So I should not be reproached but be thanked.”

The interview of Belarusian self-proclaimed dictator Alexander Lukashenko with Ukrainian journalist-collaborator Diana Panchenko was an interesting Russian propaganda technique. Lukashenko is known for his pathological deceitfulness and his zealous attitude toward Putin.

·       In an interview that appeared a week before the plane crash that killed Prigozhin, Lukashenko adamantly insists that the coup was real and that the deployment of the Wagner PMC to Belarus resulted from his decision, not Putin’s.

Minsk, August 17, 2023, TASS reported, “The deployment of the Wagner  PMC fighters on Belarusian territory was not staged and was necessary to ‘quell the rebellion’. This was stated by the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, in an interview with Ukrainian journalist Diana Panchenko, the recording of which is posted on her YouTube channel.

‘Only madmen can say that this was a setup. It was I who suggested [deploying “Wagner” in Belarus]. It wasn’t Putin who suggested this. It was my suggestion in order to quell this rebellion,’ he said.

Lukashenko stated that he “didn’t even discuss this with Putin” when he proposed to the founder of the PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, to relocate to Belarus.

‘It was not Russia that introduced Wagner here,’ he assured, responding to the journalist’s question that the whole rebellion was allegedly staged to identify traitors and for the transfer of the PMC to Belarus for a subsequent advance on Kyiv.”

·       Additionally, in this very interview, Lukashenko decided to attempt to intimidate not only Poland and Lithuania but also NATO with hints about the possibility of Wagnerites obtaining tactical nuclear weapons.

August 20, 2023, Tsargrad TV:

“The West did not want to see nuclear weapons in the hands of Yevgeny Prigozhin because it would have been quite something. A statement of this level opens up space for a multitude of different interpretations. Firstly, it’s interesting how nuclear weapons could get ‘into the hands of Yevgeny Prigozhin’. Perhaps as a result of the events of June 24? Or maybe it should be assumed that this is about equipping the Wagner forces after their relocation to the territory of Belarus? Especially since information about Russia placing nuclear weapons in the ‘blue-eyed’ [Belarus] appeared almost at the same time.

In this case, we are facing a very sharp and tough statement, though presented in the form of some hypothetical reflection, addressed to the ‘Western partners’: should something happen, we will provide Wagner with TNW [tactical nuclear weapons].”

·       Meanwhile, Russian media hinted that the military coup in Niger opens new opportunities for Wagner to extend Russian influence in Africa.

Tsargrad TV, August 2, 2023:

“For one and a half years, France has been actively losing influence in African countries. This includes Mali, CAR, and Burkina Faso. The ‘musicians’ operate everywhere.

While in the distant Niger, the presidential guard is taking Mohamed Bazoum into custody, the founder of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, is ‘shaking hands’ with the leaders of African countries at the Russia–Africa Summit. And now his recent statement that the outline of the next tasks of the ‘orchestra’ is ‘clearly drawn’ does not seem accidental. And apparently, this contour coincides with the outlines of Africa.”

Tsargrad TV, August 4, 2023:

“It seems that Prigozhin is back in business. At the summit in St. Petersburg, African leaders shook his hand, while Poland was scaring itself with both real and fake photos with Wagner symbols at its borders. The recent audio message of the ‘conductor’ only slightly lifted the veil of mystery, but the question ‘Where will the musicians go next?’ still remains open and agitating...

…But the logic of today is inexorable: against the backdrop of a hot and heavy war, a unit with colossal experience that had seized cities should not waste its forces in distant jungles or rest on the laurels of training activities. We all need Victory. And therefore, Wagner is bound for Kyiv. Most important is that it is recognized where it has to be…’

In a press statement, the head of the ‘Wagners’, Yevgeny Prigozhin, explained the topic very clearly. Two reasons for the change of power in Niger, he noted, are the economic plunder of the West and the long-standing, artificially created poverty of the population:

’A French uranium mining company was selling it on the market at $218 and paying Niger $11 for it. You can work with investors on a 50-50, 30-70 (%) basis. But you cannot give the indigenous people of a country who were born in this country, who live in this country, and who count on the fact that the subsoil of this country belongs to them - and it does belong to them under the Constitution - to only pay 5% of the wealth you get.’

In order for Nigerians not to protest against the economic depravity and sit quietly, the country, according to Prigozhin, was ‘saturated with a huge number of terrorists’ and, ostensibly to counter them, with Western troops who, in fact, ‘did nothing and received colossal budgets that were also plundered at various levels’.”

The power that was with Bazoum (the deposed president) and his henchmen, it was just engaging in protection racket, allowing the coalition that was plundering the people to operate on the territory of Niger. Basically, that’s it. And that’s why this is a liberation struggle, a liberation movement for the independence of this country, and God bless them and let them succeed,’ Prigozhin summarized.”

However, the day before his death, a video appeared showing Prigozhin clearly announcing a new “season” of Wagner’s adventures. It looked like an announcement of his return to the Russian media space.

This could not but confuse the Kremlin, as Prigozhin’s bid to return to the Russian public space coincided with the Ukrainian troops’ breakthrough through the first line of the “Surovikin line” near Robotyne. Therefore, Prigozhin’s statement that the Wagnerites are returning to make Russia “an even greater power” after another humiliating defeat on the battlefield could be read by Putin’s clique as the beginning of a new information campaign in support of a new rebellion.

That’s why Prigozhin’s video, which is spreading on the Internet like wildfire in the taiga, is accompanied by comments that are meant to convince Russians that it is exclusively about African affairs.

August 22, 2023, Tsargrad TV:

“The head of Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, released his first video after the revolt. What was implied between the lines was clarified by a senior researcher of the Academy of Military Sciences.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner PMC, shared a video from Africa, his first since the June revolt. Senior researcher of the Academy of Military Sciences, Vladimir Prokhvatilov, interpreted his message for Tsargrad. 

This is about a video in which Prigozhin says that he is in Africa together with the fighters of the Wagner PMC. According to the businessman, his fighters make Africa even freer and Russia even greater. Prigozhin also added that his Wagner fighters continue hitting terrorists and announced the recruitment of people to the PMC.

Vladimir Prokhvatilov noted that there are two main “scares” about Russians in the world. The first is related to nuclear weapons, and the second one is related to the Wagner PMC. And, given the turbulent situation in Africa, Prigozhin and his fighters appeared there quite opportunely. The expert recalled that the French-created Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) plans to launch a military intervention. A tough demonstration of the presence of the Wagner group there should first of all sober up hot French heads, Vladimir Prokhvatilov explained in a conversation with Tsargrad.”

Perhaps it was the overwhelming fear of a man who had not been explicitly defeated on the battlefield in Ukraine, who dared to challenge Putin and get away with it after the coup, that led to further dramatic events. Moreover, after his words about Africa and against the backdrop of the critical situation in the Zaporizhzhia sector, Prigozhin hurriedly returned to Russia, which was later confirmed by Putin himself.

So, as always in an unplanned crisis situation, it is important to closely monitor how the Russian media covered the details and circumstances of Prigozhin’s death.

·       RT in Russian carelessly reported the news of the downing, quoting a local resident who heard a "dull" "pop" before the plane began to fall, which "smoked and started to fall." Tsargrad even went on to report that locals had heard two powerful explosions before the plane went down. In subsequent days, this initial news would become a real headache for Russian propagandists.

August 23, 2023, RT in Russian:

“A resident of the village of Poddubye, Tver region, told RT details of the crash of an Embraer airplane, which, according to the Ministry of Emergency Situations, had ten people on board.

I hear a muffled pop, I look up into the sky and see that the plane went up in smoke and began to reduce its altitude and speed sharply,’ he said. He added that the airplane ‘began to fall practically’. At the same time, when the plane disappeared behind the treetops, there was a loud explosion, and approximately ‘after about thirty seconds, black smoke went up in the direction where it fell,’ the local resident said.” 

August 23, 2023, Tsargrad TV:

“A plane crashed in the Tver region on the evening of August 23. According to preliminary information, about 10 people were killed.

Tsargrad’s sources in the PMC confirm that the business jet, which crashed in the Tver region, belonged to the head of the campaign Yevgeny Prigozhin. It is still unknown whether the businessman himself was on board. Rosaviatsia [Russian Federal Agency for Air Transport] reported that Prigozhin’s name was among the passengers on board.

Eyewitnesses publish photos and videos from the scene on the Internet. According to local residents, shortly before the crash, two powerful explosions were heard. “It banged, exploded twice. Falling! Look, it’s falling,’ one of the witnesses of the disaster commented on what she was seeing. It is reported that the Governor of the region, Igor Rudenya took the incident with the crash of the airplane in the Bologovo district under personal supervision.”

·       Later, the ultra-Putin resource Tsargrad TV gave a detailed picture of the messages on the evening of August 23.

“Live Broadcast

21:15 The Embraer Legacy 600 airplane belonging to Yevgeny Prigozhin disappeared from radar at 18:20. Dispatchers tried to contact the crew, but to no avail, sources say — read about the catastrophe with Prigozhin’s plane in minutes on Tsargrad.

21:14 Military observer, retired colonel Viktor Litovkin on who benefits from the crash of Prigozhin’s flight.

21:13 There are reports on social media of unusual activity near the Ostafyevo airfield near Moscow.

“Ostafievo is a kilometer from the house. [Planes fly] by the windows to land. In the last half hour, 6 planes arrived. There have never been so many at the same time”, reads the comment of a user on the KB Telegram channel.

21:10 Rosaviatsia said that they will be looking for “black boxes” at the crash site to understand the circumstances of the accident.

20:59 Clarification on the second board. The airplane landed at the airport of Ostafyevo near Moscow.

20:53 According to Flightradar, the second plane owned by Prigozhin landed at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport.

20:47 The bodies of 8 people have been found at the crash site of the Embraer business jet, the region’s emergency services say.

20:46 Yevgeny Prigozhin today really flew to Russia from Africa, on board with him was the entire command staff of PMC Wagner, according to journalist Andrey Zakharov* *Recognized as a foreign agent in Russia.

20:43 “Look, it’s falling”: A resident of the Bologovsky district took a video of the moment of the plane crash.

20:39 Fontanka’s source reports that the inner circle cannot reach Prigozhin.

20:17 Yevgeny Prigozhin’s friends note that the flight manifest lists may not reflect who was actually on the plane.

20:15 Ksenia Sobchak reported on her Telegram channel about a conversation with Prigozhin’s press secretary. According to her, the entourage of the head of the Wagner PMC refused to say anything directly after the news about the crash.

20:13 Before the plane crashed in the Tver region, eyewitnesses heard two strong pops. Afterward, the plane’s wing and stabilizer fell off. According to preliminary data, parts of the plane fell near an abandoned farm in the village of Kuzhenkino.

20:11 Sources of the Verum Regnum channel say that Prigozhin’s right-hand man Utkin was also on board the crashed plane. There is no official confirmation of this information yet.

20:02 Prigozhin was in the plane that crashed in the Tver region, according to Rosaviatsia.

20:00 Rosaviatsia said that it had launched an investigation into the Embraer plane crash that occurred in the Tver region. Meanwhile, fake news stories about the causes of the crash started to appear on Ukrainian social media groups.

19:59 The plane was on a flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

19:58 Video footage from the crash site of an airplane in the Tver region has emerged.

19:57 Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations said 10 people were killed in the crash.

19:52 Photo from the plane crash site.

19:50 Representatives of the Wagner PMC confirmed that the plane belonged to Prigozhin, — Tsargrad’s sources. Whether the businessman was on the fallen plane is still unknown.

19:47 According to preliminary data, an airplane with the flight number RA-02795 crashed in the Tver region. It belongs to Yevgeny Prigozhin, Baza writes.

19:46 Media reports that 7 people died in the crash.

19:29 A military plane crashed in the Bologovsky district of the Tver region. The source reports that, according to preliminary data, 4 people were killed, and 3 others were injured. There is no official information and data on casualties and possible victims.”

·       Almost immediately after the crash, however, Russian anonymous Telegram channels began spreading versions that Prigozhin was not on the plane and that his death was simply staged. This claim was actively echoed by ultra-Putinists, such as war criminal Zakhar Prilepin.

August 23, 2023, Tsargrad TV:

“Rosaviatsia reported that Yevgeny Prigozhin was on the passenger list of the Embraer airplane that crashed in the Tver region. However, several sources, including Belarusian bloggers, claim that the founder of Wagner PMC was not on board the crashed business jet.

‘According to the incoming information from various sources (mine and public), there is information that there was no EV [Prigozhin] on board,’ Belorusskiy Silovik specified.

‘To the best of our knowledge, Yevgeny Prigozhin was not on board this airplane,’ Tri Sestry channel reported.

At the same time, Fontanka’s source specifies that his close circle cannot reach Prigozhin. Rescuers are now working at the site of the plane crash. So far, there has been no official confirmation that Prigozhin boarded the plane nor that he was not on board.

Moreover, the bodies of eight dead people were found at the crash site. And so far, none of the bodies have been identified as Yevgeny Prigozhin.

In addition, the case with the staging of a plane crash in 2019 under similar circumstances, which was earlier disclosed to Tsargrad by its own source, gives reason to believe that this crash was also staged. It is possible that someone from the leadership of the Wagner group could have been on board the plane that crashed in the Tver region, but Prigozhin himself, although on the passenger list, could have flown on another business jet for reasons of secrecy.

Zakhar Prilepin refused to believe in the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin. ‘Zhenya, Yevgeny Viktorovich, live for some more’, writes the political journalist.”

·       However, starting on the 23rd, Tsargrad TV began to disseminate comments from various "authoritative experts" that emphasized an important message for the Kremlin: after Prigozhin's death, no one else in the country would dare to challenge Putin's power:

Tsargrad’s political observer Andrey Perla commented on the crash with a private plane in the Tver region, which could have been carrying businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin. Note, according to Rosaviatsia, several people died in the crash of the plane, but the death of Prigozhin himself has not been officially confirmed.

Andrey Perla emphasized that ‘what exactly happened to the plane, we will learn from official reports and the results of the investigation. There will be a lot of rumors, but unlikely that they will be confirmed. What is interesting is not whether it was an assassination or a tragic accident. What’s interesting is what happens to Wagner...

So in a sense, if Prigozhin is dead, his cause lives on. But here’s the important thing. Never henceforth will a non-state power structure be able to claim political influence in Russia,’ Perla summarized.”

August 24, 2023, Tsargrad TV:

TV host Ksenia Sobchak says on her Telegram channel, also citing her sources, that Prigozhin was on board the crashed plane. ‘An absolutely clear signal to all the elites, in fact. Everyone who had any foul thoughts - both about the course of the SMO and in general,’ she writes.”

August 24, 2023, Tsargrad TV:

“The author of these lines is ready to make a prediction. The nearest and subsequent sociological surveys, and public opinion polls will not show a decrease in trust in the president. Nor a change in the attitude to the SMO. Nor will the polls show an increase in readiness for protest actions in Russia. Nor will we see any panic actions by representatives of the ‘elites’ in the next weeks and months. Domestic policy in Russia will honor the fallen heroes and remain the same as it was during their lifetime...

Second, whatever Wagner may now become, it will most definitely never again be associated with political influence and opportunities. A non-state security structure in the Russian State cannot have political significance. We can think of this as Prigozhin’s theorem, which has now been fully proven.”

·       The Kremlin's second important message is that anyone could be involved in Prigozhin's death, from birds that got into the engines to the Ukrainian secret services, the United States, or the Wagnerites themselves, but not Putin.

August 23, 2023, Tsargrad TV:

“Military observer, retired colonel Viktor Litovkin, when asked about it, explained that there could be different versions of the accident. It is now essential to establish step by step what happened. ’It is necessary to know what happened there. Maybe an explosion on board, engine failure, birds got into the engine... It could be beneficial to Prigozhin’s enemies abroad, enemies of his PMC, which is in Africa, as they say now. Some of his own PMC fighters may benefit. But it could be an accidental death,’ he added.

‘Yuri Kot, political scientist, dean of the faculty of media communications at Moscow State Institute of Culture, in a conversation with Tsargrad, assessed the plane crash of businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin.

‘As an Orthodox man, I sincerely wish Prigozhin to be well, whatever mistakes he made. We are not all saints, we want to have the opportunity to repent and correct these mistakes,’ he said.

As for the rumors, if it is confirmed that he is dead, this can be regarded solely as a provocation to accuse the top leadership of our country. If Prigozhin is dead, what conclusions automatically follow? That Putin took him out, that Putin blew him up, Putin killed him, terrible Putin, and so on. It’s inevitable,’ Yuri Kot commented on the disaster.

The author of the Filin channel noted that there are versions about ‘a holiday gift. I believe in the Ukrainian version. If Prigozhin was killed, it was probably done by Ukrainians. Prigozhin died just before Independence Day [of Ukraine, August 24]. There is obvious symbolism here, which is extremely necessary for Kyiv – it needs ‘victories’ to cover up the failure of the counter-offensive.’

These are the versions. I can tell you one thing. Whoever did this earned himself 25,000 sworn enemies. Maybe 250,000, given the attitude towards Wagner in the fighting units. I think it was better not to do it. And the truth will still emerge,’ the author of the channel noted.”

August 24, 2023, Tsargrad TV:

Undoubtedly, the elimination of Prigozhin, Utkin, and with them, the Wagner PMC, benefits the USA. This substantially weakens Russia’s position in Africa. This may explain why the assassination was synchronized with the BRICS summit. Moreover, it undermines Belarus, whose army recently began its training year under the guidance of seasoned instructors from the Wagner PMC.

One doesn’t need to be a genius to foresee how the West will exploit Prigozhin’s death. They will likely employ psyop centers and other media outlets they control, such as the network of the fugitive oligarch Khodorkovsky*, to push the narrative that the Russian government killed an effective and popular fighter against the ‘oligarchic regime’ due to his June uprising.”

“Did the government kill Prigozhin?

This version instantly raises many questions. First, why? After June, Prigozhin had lost the power to spring any surprises that might threaten the system. Besides, he had plenty of work in Africa. 

Second, settling personal scores by blowing up a plane over Russian skies is more the style of Latin American drug cartels, not Russian special forces. 

Thirdly, why was the plane destroyed in Russia? Couldn’t this have been executed more subtly? Aren’t there enough crocodiles, malaria-carrying mosquitoes, and bogeymen with MANPADS in Africa?

“Was Prigozhin killed by Putin’s enemies inside the country?

If anyone within Russia stood to gain from the assassination of the Wagner PMC head, it would be those within the administration opposing Putin, who recognize that by, metaphorically speaking, firing this missile, they profoundly shake the public’s trust in the          Supreme Commander-in-Chief. They introduce confusion and discord within the society, creating doubt and despair.”

·       The third important message from the Kremlin is that the plane crashed due to an internal explosion. It is this version of Prigozhin's death that has been circulated since August 25, no less actively than the denial of Kremlin involvement. The idea is that the crash was caused by explosives that somehow made their way on board the plane. Thus, the version that the plane was shot down by an air defense system, which was discussed on August 24, is being actively denied.

August 25, 2023, Tsargrad TV:

“Among the various theories proposed by experts, the word “explosion” frequently emerges. Supporting this notion are the actions of the crew (the pilot didn’t find even a split second to press the radio transmitter button to alert ground control) and statements from witnesses who reported hearing two loud bangs resembling an explosion sound right before the plane crash.

Yevgeny Prigozhin was a person always fully aware that he was treading on thin ice. Despite his frequent dramatic claims of disdain for death, he nonetheless paid utmost attention to his personal safety.

For travel, he typically used not one but two nearly identical business jets from the Embraer family. Sources close to the businessman’s circle revealed that often even his closest associates weren’t certain which jet he would use. Prigozhin might spontaneously point at one, saying, ‘We’ll take this one,’ and that was that.

In a conversation with Tsargrad, ex-intelligence officer Anton M. expressed his belief that the explosive device might have been smuggled into the airport either by the airport staff (who obviously undergo rigorous checks, but loopholes might still exist) or someone from Prigozhin’s inner circle.

I am confident that, aside from the routine pre-flight inspections carried out by technicians, Wagner PMC’s own security service would have been thorough in their checks. This suggests the saboteur (for now, let’s label them this way) had very limited time to plant the explosive. If it’s confirmed that Prigozhin was indeed aboard the crashed aircraft, he would have known about this — he’d have known the first jet took off without him. Otherwise, it would seem logical to plant bombs on both planes, the expert noted.”

Only after active measures in the information space to deny any involvement of the authorities in Prigozhin’s death and to brand such versions as “subversive work of the Anglo-Saxons” did Putin decide to go public in order to posthumously and “generously” rehabilitate the man who challenged his power.

Instead, the ultra-Putinists, immediately after receiving a signal from the Kremlin, began to canonize the “figure of Prigozhin” and share his legacy, the “charismatic vacuum.” That is, to call for creating a similar figure that would mobilize Russians for a permanent war with the West, but without questioning Putin’s authority.

In short, Prigozhin is dead, but the Kremlin will never be able to forget his cause.

August 24, 2023, RT in Russian:

“President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to the families of the victims of the air disaster in the Tver region, which occurred on the evening of August 23. 

‘First and foremost, I want to convey heartfelt condolences to the families of all those who perished. Such incidents are always tragic,’ stated the president during a work meeting with the acting head of the DPR, Denis Pushilin.

The country’s leader mentioned that, according to preliminary information, the plane was carrying employees from the Wagner company. According to Putin, these individuals had played a significant role in the collective fight against the neo-Nazi regime in Ukraine. 

We remember, acknowledge, and will never forget this,” stressed the head of state.

The previous day, Rosaviatsia, citing data from the airline, announced that one of the passengers aboard the downed private Embraer Legacy aircraft was Yevgeny Prigozhin. Preliminary information from the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the Investigative Committee indicates that none of the passengers survived. Putin on the airplane crash in the Tver region.

Commenting on the crash, Putin added that he had known Prigozhin since the early 1990s. 

‘He led a complicated life. Despite making significant mistakes, he achieved meaningful results both personally and, when I requested, for our shared cause, especially in recent months,’ said Putin.

The president described Prigozhin as a talented individual and businessman who worked effectively not only in Russia but also abroad, notably in Africa. According to Putin, on August 23, Prigozhin had just returned from Africa and already had meetings with some official representatives in Russia.

The president noted that the Investigative Committee had initiated a preliminary investigation into the incident (the Committee opened a criminal case under Article 263 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation – a violation of air transport operation and safety rules).

‘The investigation will be conducted thoroughly and completed in its entirety. There’s no doubt about that. We’ll await the findings of the investigators soon. Currently, both technical and genetic examinations are being carried out. This will take some time,’ Putin concluded.”

August 26, 2023, Tsargrad TV:

’We’re currently witnessing the formation of a new charismatic, passionate, patriotic pole. It’s a pivotal issue. Believing that with Prigozhin’s death, this pole ends and everything will now follow a set script or program is utterly naive,’ emphasized Dugin. 

In his opinion, the highest leadership of Russia understands this well. Furthermore, the philosopher admits that it was President Vladimir Putin, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, who largely crafted Prigozhin’s image as a public and social phenomenon, having supported him at a critical juncture despite the risks. ‘The head of state profoundly understands that without this sincerity, dedication to the cause, heroism, will to win, and sacrifice, we simply cannot win.’

Konstantin Malofeev, Deputy Head of WRPC [World Russian People’s Council] and Chairman of the Tsargrad Society, further noted that with Prigozhin’s demise, the voice of the people won’t be silenced. ‘The voice of those who care won’t go quiet. We’ve conveyed the truth up to the latest events and will continue to do so afterward. Nothing will stop us. Prigozhin’s mission won’t die, neither in the media nor on the front lines.”

The founder of the ‘First Russian’ [channel, meaning Tsargrad TV] stated that he and other genuine patriots differ from the founder of Wagner in one significant way, ‘We acknowledge – that’s why we are monarchists – that the supreme authority is always right. This is because we are people of faith. That’s the stark difference. We believe that power comes from God, and therefore, we’ll never make a mistake like Prigozhin did and won’t allow others to either. But in everything related to the civilian and military perspective, we completely align with him.”

Photographs courtesy of Getty Images

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