During the brief rebellion by a group of Wagner mercenaries, a prominent Russian publicist made allegations against Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of Wagner.
The publicist claims that Prigozhin has lost his way, citing the receipt of substantial public funding, which has drawn criticism and raised concerns in Moscow’s political circles. A mutiny led by Prigozhin against Russia’s senior military leadership last weekend has left the Kremlin deeply embarrassed.
“Big money has derailed Prigozhin,” one of the main faces of the Russian propaganda machine, Dmitry Kiselev, was quoted as saying on his weekly television show by AFP on Sunday. “He thought he could challenge the Ministry of Defense, the State and the President personally.”
According to Kiselev, the Wagner Group’s operations in Syria and Africa provided Prigozhin with a sense of impunity, which was further reinforced by his successful operations in eastern Ukraine. Kiselev made these claims without offering any supporting evidence. Additionally, Kiselev claimed that the Wagner Group had received a substantial amount of more than 858 billion rubles ($9.7 billion) in state funds.
In a stunning revelation earlier this week, President Vladimir Putin publicly acknowledged for the first time that Russian authorities were providing full financial support to the paramilitary organization. Putin said that between May 2022 and May 2023, the Wagner Group had received more than 86 billion rubles directly from the Russian state.