Vlad the Vindictive

Allen

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You knew it was only a matter of time before Putin's buddy Prigozhin met an unfortunate accident. Personally, I thought he'd die falling down stairs, or out of an open office window like many of those before him who fell out of Vlad's good graces. I guess that was too boring for Prigozhin though.





Associated Press

Mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin is presumed dead in a plane crash outside Moscow​

DASHA LITVINOVA
Updated Wed, August 23, 2023 at 11:40 PM EDT·5 min read
14.4k

FILE - Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin is shown prior to a meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on July 4, 2017. A business jet en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg crashed Wednesday Aug. 23, 2023, killing all ten people on board, Russian emergency officials said. Mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin was on the passenger list, officials said, but it wasn't immediately clear if he was on board. (Sergei Ilnitsky/Pool via AP, File)

This image released by Ostorozhno Novosti on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023, shows the crash site of a private jet near the village of Kuzhenkino, Tver Region. Officials say a private jet has crashed over Russia, killing all 10 people on board. Mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin was on the passenger list, but it wasn't immediately clear if he was on board. (Ostorozhno Novosti via AP)






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Russia Jet Crash Wagner Chief​

FILE - Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin is shown prior to a meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on July 4, 2017. A business jet en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg crashed Wednesday Aug. 23, 2023, killing all ten people on board, Russian emergency officials said. Mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin was on the passenger list, officials said, but it wasn't immediately clear if he was on board. (Sergei Ilnitsky/Pool via AP, File)
ASSOCIATED PRESS
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TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, who led a brief armed rebellion against the Russian military earlier this year, was presumed dead Wednesday after a plane crash north of Moscow that killed all 10 people on board.
Prigozhin was on the plane, according to Russia’s civil aviation agency, which cited the airline. The crash immediately raised suspicions since the fate of the founder of the Wagner private military company has been the subject of intense speculation ever since he mounted the mutiny.
At the time, President Vladimir Putin denounced the rebellion as “treason” and a “stab in the back” and vowed to avenge it. But the charges against Prigozhin were soon dropped. The Wagner chief, whose troops were some of the best fighting forces for Russia in Ukraine, was allowed to retreat to Belarus, while reportedly popping up in Russia from time to time.
The crash also comes after Russian media reported that a top general linked to Prigozhin was dismissed from his position as commander of the air force.
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A plane carrying three crew members and seven passengers that was en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg went down almost 300 kilometers (185 miles) north of the capital, according to officials cited by Russia’s state news agency Tass.
Russia’s civilian aviation agency, Rosaviatsia, quickly reported that he was on the manifest and later said that, according to the airline, he was indeed on board.
Earlier, Vladimir Rogov, a Russia-appointed official in the partially occupied Zaporizhzhia region in Ukraine, said he talked to Wagner commanders who also confirmed that Prigozhin was aboard, as was Dmitry Utkin, whose call sign Wagner became the company’s name.
“I don’t know for a fact what happened but I’m not surprised,” U.S. President Joe Biden said.
Keir Giles, a Russia expert with the international affairs think tank Chatham House, had urged caution about reports of Prigozhin’s death. He said “multiple individuals have changed their name to Yevgeniy Prigozhin, as part of his efforts to obfuscate his travels.”
Flight tracking data reviewed by The Associated Press showed a private jet that Prigozhin had used previously took off from Moscow on Wednesday evening and its transponder signal disappeared minutes later.
The signal stopped suddenly while the plane was at altitude and traveling at speed. In an image posted by a pro-Wagner social media account showing burning wreckage, a partial tail number matching a jet previously used by Prigozhin could be seen.
Videos shared by the pro-Wagner Telegram channel Grey Zone showed a plane dropping like a stone from a large cloud of smoke, twisting wildly as it fell. Such freefalls can occur when an aircraft sustains severe damage, and a frame-by-frame AP analysis of two videos was consistent with some sort of explosion mid-flight. The images appeared to show the plane was missing a wing.
Russia’s Investigative Committee opened an investigation into the crash on charges of violating air safety rules, as is typical when they open such probes. Interfax, citing emergency officials, reported early Thursday that all 10 bodies had been recovered at the site of the crash and the search operation had ended.
Even if confirmed, Prigozhin’s death is unlikely to have an effect on Russia's war in Ukraine, where his forces fought some of the fiercest battles over the past 18 months.
His troops pulled back from front-line action after capturing Bakhmut, a city in the eastern Donetsk region, in late May. Bakhmut had been the subject of arguably the bloodiest battles in the entire war, with the Russian forces struggling to seize it for months.
After the rebellion, Russian officials said his fighters would only be able to return to Ukraine as part of the regular army.
This week, Prigozhin posted his first recruitment video since the mutiny, saying that Wagner is conducting reconnaissance and search activities, and “making Russia even greater on all continents, and Africa even more free.
Also this week, Russian media reported, citing anonymous sources, that Gen. Sergei Surovikin was dismissed from his position of the commander of Russia's air force. Surovikin, who at one point led Russia's operation in Ukraine, hasn't been seen in public since the mutiny, when he recorded a video address urging Prigozhin's forces to pull back.
As news of the crash was breaking, Putin spoke at an event commemorating the Battle of Kursk, hailing the heroes of Russia's war in Ukraine.
Tatiana Stanovaya, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center, said on Telegram that “no matter what caused the plane crash, everyone will see it as an act of vengeance and retribution” by the Kremlin, and “the Kremlin wouldn’t really stand in the way of that.”
"From Putin’s point of view, as well as the security forces and the military — Prigozhin’s death must be a lesson to any potential followers,” Stanovaya said in a Telegram post. According to her, after the mutiny, Prigozhin “stopped being the authorities’ partner and could not, under any circumstances, get that status back.”
“He also wasn’t forgiven,” Stanovaya wrote. “Prigozhin was needed for some time after the mutiny to painlessly complete the dismantling of Wagner in Russia.” But overall, “alive, happy, full-of-strength and full-of-ideas Prigozhin was, definitely, a walking source of threats for the authorities, the embodiment of Putin’s political humiliation.”
Stanovaya doesn't expect much public outcry over Prigozhin’s death. She said those who supported him will be “more scared than inspired to protest,” while others would see it as a “deserved outcome.”
___
This story has been updated to correct that the crash site is almost 300 kilometers from Moscow, not more than 100 kilometers.
___
Associated Press writers Jill Lawless in London, Michael Biesecker in Washington, Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Seung Min Kim in South Lake Tahoe, California, contributed to this report.
 


Rowdie

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Either Putin Clintoned him, or they staged it and Priozhen is alive and well and getting to live his life out of the spotlight.
 


espringers

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he's alive. its a way for putin to save face without having to publicly hang his old buddy. and its a way for him to just take a few billion and live happily someplace without having to fight a fight he was never going to win.
 

Kurtr

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He fucked around and found out he is dead. People like Putin don’t leave loose ends
 

snow

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Surprised this man was so bold to expose himself taking a flight to moscow after such a rebellion against this gangster putin,curious if generals merc's will revenge.
 


espringers

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@snow... i totally agree. if he really felt threatened, i doubt he would have exposed himself as he did. tis what i figured he is sipping and dipping both black and white russians on a beach somewhere.
 

Rowdie

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They would have to let a foreign investigative team in to conduct an investigation and DNA test the remains if possible before I believe he's dead.
 

snow

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I was thinking as crooked as putin is,this general staged this rebellion, traveled to Belarus with his elite 25k member team to advance on ukraine from the west,escalating another frontal attack.but wtf do i know,conspiracies run wild.
 


lunkerslayer

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Did you know that a young elected president of the soviet union wanted to actually join nato, but because the president of the united states influenced nato to stop Russia from joining. Do you know who that president was and how come you think he stopped it?
 

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