- Yevgeny Prigozhin is a Russian businessman with shut ties to Vladimir Putin.
- Prigozhin claimed he based Wagner, a Russian mercenary group that works intently with the Kremlin.
- He additionally confided to Putin about issues with the route of the war in Ukraine, per WaPo report.
As reviews of Russia’s losses in Ukraine circulated in September, one member of Vladimir Putin’s circle expressed misgivings about the Kremlin’s administration of the war to the president.
On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that the confidant was Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, a Russian businessman, restaurateur, and longtime ally of Putin.
Prigozhin denied the report back to The Post and mentioned that he “did not criticize the management of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation during the conflict in Ukraine.”
But Prigozhin has beforehand expressed criticism towards the nation’s army management.
When the Chechen Republic’s head, Ramazan Kadyrov, known as out a Russian commander and senior officers after Russia was forced out of Lyman in Ukraine, Prigozhin echoed these critiques, according to BBC.
Here’s what we find out about Prigozhin:
Born on June 1, 1961, in Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, Russia, Prigozhin was convicted of assault, theft, and fraud in 1981, according to court documents obtained by Meduza, an independent Russian publication.
He was sentenced to 13 years in a penal colony however was launched in 9 years round the fall of the Soviet Union.
According to The New York Times, Prigozhin began his foray into the meals enterprise quickly after his launch by opening up a sizzling canine stand.
He then opened a comfort retailer earlier than he began a series of swanky eating places with a couple of companions in St. Petersburg. Putin would have a good time his birthday at the eating location, the Times reported.
Prigozhin based one of his main corporations, Concord Catering, in 1996 as he began his restaurant enterprise, Wired reported.
Although probably not a chef, in response to The Times, he quickly earned the nickname of “Putin’s chef.”
It’s unclear when he acquired the moniker, however over the subsequent decade, Prigozhin’s catering enterprise acquired profitable authorities contracts to feed Russia’s colleges and army, in addition to a chance to host state banquets.
Concord Catering served at the inaugurations of Dmitri A. Medvedev and Putin, The Times reported.
The state contracts in a span of 5 years have been reported to be price $3.1 billion, in response to an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Foundation that was cited by The Times.
On high of his catering enterprise, Prigozhin is publicly recognized to have based Concord Management and Consulting Company and began his personal on-line information service, in response to The Times.
A 2018 indictment from the Justice Department additionally alleged that Prigozhin financed a so-called troll manufacturing unit generally known as the Internet Research Agency.
The indictment, which included 12 different Russians and Prigozhin’s Concord catering and consulting companies, alleged that the Internet Research Agency “engaged in operations to interfere with elections and political processes.”
The firm did so partially by creating “false US personas” and working social media pages discussing politics and social points. Prigozhin denied his involvement.
“The Americans are very impressionable people; they see what they want to see,” Prigozhin mentioned to Ria Novosti, a Russian state information company. “I have a lot of respect for them. I am not upset at all that I ended up on this list. If they want to see the devil, let them see him.”
In September, Prigozhin claimed to be one of the founders of a Russian mercenary group generally known as Wagner after years of denying involvement with the group.
“I cleaned the old weapons myself, sorted out the bulletproof vests myself, and found specialists who could help me with this. From that moment, on May 1, 2014, a group of patriots was born, which later came to be called the Wagner Battalion,” Prigozhin said through his press service, which confirmed the statement to Reuters.
Wagner was fashioned in 2014. It is just not a legally registered entity and mercenaries are unlawful underneath Russian legislation, according to The Times. But the group remains to be usually seen as a de-facto non-public army service for the Kremlin.
According to BBC, Wagner troops have been first deployed throughout Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Wagner additionally despatched troopers all through Africa and the Middle East, according to The Times. UN investigators accused the group of committing war crimes in 2021.
More just lately, Wagner has aided Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. In March, US officers mentioned that no less than 1,000 mercenary fighters have been deployed to the nation.
“We know they’re there,” John F. Kirby, press secretary for the Pentagon, said in a briefing in March. “And we know that they want to increase their presence there in Ukraine.”
Prigozhin has grow to be a confidant to Putin, even in issues of state affairs, after first getting in contact with the Russian leader via his eating places.
With his presumed management of the Wagner mercenary group, he’s additionally been an influential participant throughout Russia’s war in Ukraine, personally voicing his issues about operations to Putin, according to The Washington Post.
The newspaper reported that a US intelligence report confirmed that Prigozhin felt that the Russian Defense Ministry depended an excessive amount of on Wagner and that his group was not receiving sufficient funds.
US officers consider that Prigozhin then staged a video depicting Wagner’s troops complaining about the lack of assets as a approach to stress Russia to supply extra money, The Post reported.
Prigozhin told The Post that he had not seen the referenced video.
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