Prigozhin’s War

UPDATED: Putin met with Prigozhin five days after the rebellion as analysts differ on why it happened. It is an episode with lessons to be learned for both Russia and the West, writes Joe Lauria.

Prigozhin screenshot from his Telegram channel.

Updated to include news that Putin met with Prigozhin three days after the rebellion.

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

Two weeks since the bizarre events in Russia on the weekend of June 23-25 there still remain different interpretations of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s 36-hour adventure on the road to Moscow and its aftermath.

Was it a genuine mutiny or coup attempt? Was he working with Western or Ukrainian intelligence?  What is Prizgozhin ‘s and the Wagner group’s future? And, most importantly, why did he do it?

The drama ended when Prigozhin called off his march on the capital, turning around his column of 4,000 or so Wagner men. With Russian special forces in Moscow arrayed to meet him at the city gates, and Chechen forces headed to Rostov-on Don, which he partially occupied, reason took hold as Prigozhin realized death awaited him and his men.

The anguish in London and Washington was palpable. They thought they were on the verge of achieving the principle aim of their war against Russia: overthrowing Vladimir Putin. They are still pushing the line that Putin was irrevocably weakened by the event and that Russia is a dangerously unstable country.

The Deal

The president of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, worked out a deal to end the crisis. In return Russia – for the moment anyway – dropped its criminal charges of mutiny against Prigozhin. 

He lost his post and was reportedly exiled to Belarus. But now there are even doubts about that. Lukashenko said on Thursday that Prigozhin is a “free man.” He said, Maybe he went to Moscow, maybe somewhere else, but he is not on the territory of Belarus.”

The New York Times reported on the same day that Prigozhin may be using a look-alike:

A Pentagon official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation later confirmed that Mr. Prigozhin had been in Russia, between Moscow and St. Petersburg, during most of the period since the mutiny. The official said it was unclear if Mr. Prigozhin had ever gone to Belarus because he apparently uses body doubles to mask his movements.”

On his MOATS TV show, George Galloway on June 25 aired a brief video of a man who looked exactly like Prigozhin sleeping on a park bench in Minsk the day after the rebellion ended. (One would think Prigozhin could afford to book his double a hotel room, if it was indeed his double.)

Prigozhin was not offered amnesty as had the Wagner troops that took part in the mutiny. Those who didn’t participate  were given the option of signing contracts with the Russian Ministry of Defense. Prigozhin being allowed to roam free in Russia without amnesty throws his status and his future into confusion.

Even if he is being allowed his freedom, his main demands in the mutiny of sacking Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov have not so far succeeded.

[Adding to the mystery surrounding Prigozhin, Putin’s press spokesman Dmitri Peskov said Monday that Putin met with him and his top commanders five days after the rebellion on June 29, when it had been reported that he was in Belarus, for a three-hour meeting.

“The only thing we can say is that the president gave his assessment of the company’s actions,” Peskov said. “Putin heard out the commanders and proposed further employment options and further combat options.” He added: “They emphasized that they are staunch supporters and soldiers of the head of state and commander in chief — and also said they are prepared to fight for the country going forward.” Future employment options? Is that Prigozhin’s future?

Apparently, Prigozhin never left Moscow, The New York Times reports. If correct that man on the park bench may have been released as a deliberate deception.] 

Was It a Coup Attempt?

Given that Prigozhin was overtly only seeking Shoigu and Gerasimov’s heads, and not Putin’s, it can be argued that his gambit was not an attempt to overthrow the entire government.

Geopolitical analyst Alexander Mercouris on The Duran channel, on the other hand, contends that if he had gotten as far as seizing the Defense Ministry, which Mercouris says was out of the question, he would have effectively seized power from Putin.

Former U.S. Marines counterintelligence office Scott Ritter told Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s podcast that it was treason and a clear coup attempt. He said Prigozhin had set up cells in Moscow to take part in the overthrow but Russia security services broke them up before they could act.

There are analysts who argue that this was not a coup attempt at all. Retired U.S. Col. Douglas MacGregor, a fierce critic of Washington’s Ukraine policy, believes Prigozhin was instead sending Putin a message to conduct the war in Ukraine more forcefully.

For what it’s worth, on the first day of the move towards Moscow Prigozhin insisted the action was not “a military coup, but a march of justice.”

Putin himself called Prigozhin’s action many things: a “grave crime,” “an armed mutiny,” “blackmail,” “betrayal,” “terrorism,” an “internal revolt “ and “a knife in the back of our country and our people.”

He also called it “treason.” Putin said:

Inflated ambitions and personal interests have led to treason – treason against our country, our people and the common cause which Wagner Group soldiers and commanders were fighting and dying for shoulder to shoulder, together with our other units and troops.”

The Surovikin Mystery

Western media uniformly presented the episode as the greatest threat to Putin’s government since he took office as president on New Year’s Eve 1999. The New York Times, unsceptically quoted U.S. intelligence officials, reporting that Gen. Sergei Surovikin, deputy commander of Russian forces in Ukraine, knew about the coup attempt in advance but did nothing to stop it, implying that he was in on it.

CNN reported on June 30 that Surovikin was a “V.I.P. member of Wagner.” Surovikin was replaced in January by Gerasimov as overall commander of forces in Ukraine.

The anti-Putin, English language Moscow Times, published an unconfirmed report that Surovikin was arrested. The Associated Press reported the same, quoting unnamed sources.

But as The Wall Street Journal reported: “Surovikin was the first senior commander to condemn the plot … and urge Prigozhin to stop his men. Forces under Surovikin’s command carried out airstrikes on the Wagner column, the only such attack by regular troops against the insurrectionists.”

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Sergei Surovikin (left).(Presidential Executive Office of Russia)

Why Did He Do It?

Prigozhin had launched several highly public attacks over the previous months on Shoigu and Gerasimov, accusing them of corruption and not providing enough ammunition for Wagner’s battle in Bakhmut.

Prigozhin said this led to the unnecessary deaths of scores of his fighters. Moscow tolerated his antics, even after Wagner completed its takeover of Bakhmut in May.

Prigozhin’s rhetoric racheted up the day before his revolt when he said Russian motives for intervention in Ukraine were bogus. He said Ukraine was not planning an offensive on Donbass in February 2022 and that demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine were just excuses. It sounded like words from officials in Kiev, London or Washington.

There appear to have been several motives to Prigozhin’s reckless move. The first was an apparently insane plan to arrive at the Ministry of Defense and force the removal of Shoigu and Gerasimov.

A second motive appeared to be a lust for power touching on megalomania. The former chef and caterer (to Putin and the MOD) was put in charge of the Wagner mercenary organization though he had zero military experience.

(Prigozhin also ran the Internet Research Agency, which bought $100,000 in Facebook ads during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign and figured prominently in the Russiagate fraud.)

Putin said last week that Prigozhin’s $1 billion contract to feed the Russian military had been cancelled.

Wagner was set up as a private military organization in 2014 to legally avoid the oversight and regulation of regular Russian military branches, though it was equipped and funded by the Ministry of Defense, Putin confirmed in public remarks last Monday.

As a legally separate entity from the Russian government, Wagner troops operated in Crimea and in defense of Donbass starting in 2014 (without the need of official Russian military intervention) against the Kiev coup government’s military assault on Donbass after it declared independence from Ukraine.

No doubt partly because they were fed up with Prigozhin’s constant criticisms, the Ministry of Defense set a July 1 deadline for Wagner to be absorbed into the MOD, making them legally part of the Russian military. Prigozhin knew this would end his career as head of the Wagner force, which is being dissolved.

That was likely the prime motive, especially the timing for his revolt. This, combined with his bravado and hatred of Shoigu and Gerasimov, led Prigozhin on a road to ruin, though he thought he was headed to Moscow.

There was yet another factor driving Prigozhin, according to MacGregor.

The most strident criticism of Putin in Russia is that he’s been too soft on Ukraine, that the military operation has been too careful. These critics want to see Russia smash through southern Ukraine to take Odessa and reach the Romania border, if not take Kiev itself.

(This may be easier said than done, given NATO’s equipping and training of the Ukrainian army, the increased Russian and civilian casualties that would be involved and the stress it would put on Russian armaments production.)

According to MacGregor, among these hard-line critics of the go-slow war is Prigozhin. But rather than openly criticizing Putin for this state of affairs, Prigozhin zeroed in on Shoigu and Gerasimov, blaming them for the piecemeal military strategy.

MacGregor told Galloway on June 25, the day the rebellion died:

I wouldn’t call it a coup. I think what happened is that Mr. Prigozhin … who is a well-known blowhard and has frequently said outrageous things, reached a conclusion that I think a lot of people in the senior ranks of the Russian army have reached, and that is … first, that this war has dragged on too long, and they want Putin to take decisive action to end it. And secondly, I think the fear is the United States will be tempted to intervene in Western Ukraine with its Polish allies, and others potentially, if this does not come to an end. …

Both Prigozhin and Wagner are very popular with the Russian people. They see him as the kind of aggressive leader they want on the battlefield in this war with Ukraine. So I expect now what we will see is a very powerful offensive unleashed against the Ukrainians. And secondly I think you are going to see some changes at the top of the command structure. I would expect Gen. Surovikin to rise as a result of this.”

This was before reports of Surovikin’s “arrest.”

Mercouris, on the other hand, said Putin had

“lanced the boil that Prigozhin and Wagner represented, and it has probably once and for all banished any idea on the part of the nationalist fringe — the people who are hostile for various reasons to Gerismov and Shoigu and other figures within the Russian Defense Ministry – … that they can force Putin’s hand through any kind of political agitation.”

At press time, Gerasimov and Shoigu were still in their posts.

Was He Working for Foreign Intelligence?

Because Prigozhin appeared to be fulfilling the West’s aims there has been speculation he may have been working with either American, British or Ukrainian intelligence, or all of the above.

Ritter stated categorically on his Substack page and in podcast interviews that Prigozhin was working with foreign intelligence: “Let there be no doubt in anyone’s mind — Yevgeny Prigozhin has become a witting agent of Ukraine and the intelligence services of the collective West.” He wrote:

Prigozhin’s antics, which were played out in intimate detail on social media, caught the attention of pro-Ukrainian information warfare specialists, who began promoting the narrative of Prigozhin—a former convict with zero political experience—assuming a leadership position in Russia. Prigozhin himself seemed to feed off this notion. While publicly denying any such ambition, Prigozhin continued his public trolling of Shoigu and Gerasimov. …

At some point in time Prigozhin’s antics caught the attention of Ukrainian intelligence, and their British and US counterparts. The narcissistic need for attention, coupled with grandiose notions of self-importance, made Prigozhin an ideal candidate for recruitment by a hostile foreign intelligence service. A financial component—basic greed—can be added to this behavioral model as well.”

Ritter then added this qualifier: “The collusion between Prigozhin and the Ukrainians, while unproven at this juncture, appears obvious in retrospect.”

The New York Times and other outlets reported that U.S. intelligence was aware of Prigozhin’s plans to rebel days in advance. “The possibility that a major nuclear-armed rival of the United States could descend into internal chaos carried with it a new set of risks,” the Times reported.

Despite this, the U.S. did not alert Russia to what they knew, which could have perhaps prevented a nuclear crisis, as Ritter said in a Consortium News piece on Monday.

Perhaps most significantly, the so-called Discord leaks of U.S. intelligence revealed that Prigozhin was prepared to give Ukraine intelligence Russian troop positions in exchange for calling off its defense of Bakhmut.

Long before the mutiny, The Washington Post reported on May 14:

Prigozhin said that if Ukraine’s commanders withdrew their soldiers from the area around Bakhmut, he would give Kyiv information on Russian troop positions, which Ukraine could use to attack them. Prigozhin conveyed the proposal to his contacts in Ukraine’s military intelligence directorate, with whom he has maintained secret communications during the course of the war, according to previously unreported U.S. intelligence documents leaked on the group-chat platform Discord.”

The U.S. raised suspicions by going out of its way to say it had nothing to do with the revolt. President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the U.S. ambassador in Moscow all made statements to that effect.

MacGregor disagreed that the former Wagner chief was in cahoots with Russia’s enemies.

He said: “I see no evidence that Mr. Prigozhin was made an agent by MI6 or the CIA or anybody else. Anybody who knows the Russians knows that any senior officer or commander or leader is surrounded by numerous FSB informants. The idea that he could have sold out even if he wanted to seems ludicrous.”

Ritter pointed out in his CN piece that the Russian government is investigating the matter.

If Prigozhin was indeed working for Western or Ukrainian intelligence they clearly did not get what they paid for.


Putin addressing nation on June 26. (

For Russia: Don’t repeat the mistake of hiring a private army.

Several analysts pointed to a 500-year old lesson from Niccolo Machiavelli that Russia ignored:

Mercenaries and auxiliaries are useless and dangerous; and if one holds his state based on these arms, he will stand neither firm nor safe; for they are disunited, ambitious and without discipline, unfaithful. …

I wish to demonstrate further the infelicity of these arms [i.e., mercenaries]. The mercenary captains are either capable men or they are not; if they are, you cannot trust them, because they always aspire to their own greatness, either by oppressing you, who are their master, or others contrary to your intentions; but if the captain [i.e., the leader of the mercenaries] is not skillful, you are ruined in the usual way [i.e., you will lose the war].”

MacGregor disputed the whole idea. He told Galloway:

I reject the notion that these people are mercenaries. I would compare them to the French Foreign Legion. The French Foreign Legion consists of large numbers of non Frenchmen in many cases, but they have sworn allegiance to the French state and the French nation, and no one has fought harder and more loyally for France than the French Foreign Legion. I would say you have something very similar in the Wagner group.

These are still Russians overwhelmingly, but there are numbers of Serbs or some Germans or others in the group, and they too have sworn allegiance to the Russian state. And as far as we can tell, none of them thought that they were marching on Moscow to remove Putin. On the contrary, they saw themselves as going to Moscow to rescue Putin from what was widely considered bad advisors, bad councilors who have held up the Russian offensive and caused this war to drag out beyond the point of reason.”

Whether they were mercenaries or not, the Kremlin and the MOD tried to get away with a dodgy legal maneuver and it caused them international embarrassment and nearly a bloody civil conflict.

For the West: Wait until an operation is over before popping the corks. Cries about a Russian civil war being under way, such as tweets from former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, which blared that “The fight is now on. This is now a civil war,” blew up in their faces when Prigozhin turned tail.

The bigger lesson would be not to meddle in other nations’ internal affairs but that would be too much to ask.

The entire Russian nation had rallied around Putin, leaving him in a much stronger position, exposing the continuing line that Russia is now a dangerously unstable nation.

Western governments and pundits clearly suffered more embarrassment from this episode than Putin did.

But ideologues rarely learn any lessons.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times. He is the author of two books, A Political Odyssey, with Sen. Mike Gravel, foreword by Daniel Ellsberg; and How I Lost By Hillary Clinton, foreword by Julian Assange. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe     

35 comments for “Prigozhin’s War

  1. July 10, 2023 at 04:00

    At the end of the day Russian serviceman lost their lives Preghozin should be held accountable and tried for treason.

  2. Sam F
    July 9, 2023 at 18:29

    An excellent summary and analysis, to put this to rest for now.
    Thank you, Joe Lauria!

  3. IJ Scambling
    July 9, 2023 at 12:12

    Developments in the last few days surrounding Prighozin are surely important because they cast doubt on Putin’s success in defusing the convoy’s march on Russia June 23 -24. Ray McGovern’s suggestion that Putin’s effectiveness has plummeted from 95% to 55% must also be taken seriously, not as a talking point for MSM. No, this is Ray McGovern, who always makes a lot of sense. Why did he say that? Ray? What do you think at this point?

    The doubt now includes the Kremlin’s saying, after Lukashenko indicated Prig is no longer in Belarus, that it won’t be bothering to keep track of him. All this (including a raid on Prig’s establishment in St. Petersburg) is confusing. It suggests Putin’s actions on the crucial weekend of June 24-25 were not as strong and brilliant as they looked at the time. It is incomprehensible that this rogue element Prigohzin, bewigged or not, is left to wander around Russia when the deal was exile to Belarus (although whether that included sleeping on a park bench instead of being housed at The Green City Hotel is not clear).

    Unless, that is, it assists fostering more confusion and disorder for Western Intell to deal with as to just what the state of Putin’s mind is in dealing with the war as a deliberate ploy. That is, that Putin is deliberately playing the role of chameleon. It’s interesting that amongst the various analysts we have come to rely on–Crooke, MacGregor, Ritter, McGovern et al–there is disagreement on what Prigohzin is or was, and to what degree he is a traitor or on the other hand a double agent. Also, on to what degree there is disarray in the Russian side of what’s going on, with Putin having to be careful about public opinion and deal with the discontent over the slow meat-grinding approach being taken so far.

    That a person could march a convoy toward Moscow including shooting down aircraft and killing fellow-Russians and ten days later be left to do whatever he’s up to next surely must be significant, including the shock of Putin’s deal immediately broken. What’s going on?

    • Valerie
      July 10, 2023 at 02:05

      “Unless, that is, it assists fostering more confusion and disorder for Western Intell to deal with as to just what the state of Putin’s mind is in dealing with the war as a deliberate ploy.”

      If that was their intention, (and i veer towards this camp) then they have succeeded. As you say “what’s going on?”

      • IJ Scambling
        July 10, 2023 at 09:16

        Sorry–the first line of the 2nd paragraph should read: Lukashenko indicated Prigozhin was not in Belarus.

  4. vinnieoh
    July 9, 2023 at 11:01

    I remember reading about the Cossacks in the era of Stenka Rozin, loyal to the Czar and vehement enemies of the Boyars, that class of bureaucrats which had become wealthy by inveigling themselves into the Russian halls of power. Several “revolts” and “rescues” and there were also issues surrounding the territory that is the Ukraine.

    Thanks to Joe Lauria for this. I’m in the Scott Ritter camp, though it would take extraordinary proof to prove such extraordinary claims. What I DO KNOW is that the MIC, Neocons, whatever you want to call it in the US is absolutely determined to politically and economically demolish Russia. Single-minded, relentless, and insidious. Realities that are fully known and not lost on Russian leadership.

    I suspect that Prigozhin is already dead, or he will be shortly.

    • Robert
      July 10, 2023 at 09:39

      “Single minded, relentless, and insidious” is a very good description of our MIC and Neocons. I will add names: Blinken, Sullivan, and of course, Vicky. Instead of being in charge of Himars, F-16’s, and cluster bombs, this group never should have gained control of any weapon beyond a pea shooter. It really is frightening to think that those 3 twits, who collectively couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag, have control of what’s left of Joe Biden’s mind.

  5. Vera Gottlieb
    July 9, 2023 at 09:27

    I understand Putin ‘going soft’ in this war but…the moment Ukrainian Nationalists started attacking Dobass Russia should have moved to stop this.

    • Valerie
      July 9, 2023 at 10:57

      I wonder how that would have turned out Vera. And why they didn’t.

    • Renate
      July 9, 2023 at 21:52

      Putin made his biggest mistake believing the people in the WH were rational people. He was wrong, no doubt.

  6. HelenB
    July 9, 2023 at 03:45

    A picture is worth a thousand words, right? So is a map. In many articles about Prigozhin’s recent antics with his men, did you ever, ever see a map of their journey “toward Moscow”.
    Check out a map of Rostov-on-Don.
    Try it! You’ll like it! I tried it. Boy was I surprised.
    Moscow is quite a ways STRAIGHT NORTH of Central Ukraine. Rostov-on-Don is a tiny bit over the central eastern border of Ukraine with Russia. Prigozhin’s group never got anywhere near Moscow and just barely got out of Ukraine.
    Huge possibilities for real story. Make up your own!

  7. colin purdy
    July 8, 2023 at 21:53

    Just don’t see how the apparent “mutiny” facade here, a 4k or whatever armored column to Moscow, even passes the sniff test. Does Prig have Mikoyan/Sukhoi, an airforce. That alleged column woulda been pounded into sand forthwith by Russian Federation airpower had it been real in force and intent.

    Think about it. If Prig *could* do it, why wouldn’t Ukraine? Just because Ukraine doesn’t have default “home field” or “backdoor” advantage like the Russian Prig? You think so? Could Prig have really pulled off “Assault on Moscow” with only a smidge of home field surprise?

    Reports are that nothing Russian significantly backed him. And how about that Russian Nazi whathisname who assaulted Belgorod with “Ukraine-supplied” US armoreds. He didn’t get very far.

    Prig’s 4000 vs. a mobilized Russian Federation was a unicorn.

  8. JonT
    July 8, 2023 at 15:29

    How do we know if the photo of supposed Prigozhin is not one of these so called ‘deep fakes ‘ that we hear about these days. After all, this is precisely the sort of thing that could be used to sow disharmony, confusion or whatever?

  9. Mark Thomason
    July 8, 2023 at 14:09

    “Western governments and pundits clearly suffered more embarrassment from this episode than Putin did.”

    But not in their own outlets, nor in the minds of those who only read those outlets. Their lies continue, and they believe themselves despite the real world out there.

    The twisting of our media perception of the world into spin, smoke and mirrors, is well advanced. It is suicidal to become so disconnected from reality.

  10. Peter Loeb
    July 8, 2023 at 13:52


    Having read analyses of the failed “revolt” many of which have been excellent (Hersh, Ritter, Jack Rasmus etc.) ,
    I still fail to understand why he is worth any more of my attention. Let us go on to other things such as the
    sad state of the current Administration narrative (See Jake Sullivan in the White House press briefing of July 7)
    Or sending cluster bombs despite Congressional bans. (Joe Biden has always been a good friend of the military
    industrial complex lobby who were described as “borderline euphoric” days after Russia annexed Crimea.

    “Winning” the war in Ukraine is an electoral imperative for President Biden and others with strongly hawkish
    mindsets, perspectives which benefit the military industrial complex. Most of that narrative can be reversed such
    as the assertion that Russia provoked the war, that Ukraine (and the US is guaranteed impunity for killing
    civilians or for the tremendous suffering for Ukrainians. Either they die or flee. Is Ukraine a “democracy”? Is
    it really fighting to “defend” itself? These views have been answered many times over in Consortiumnews and

    • Patrick Powers
      July 8, 2023 at 23:44

      ‘“Winning” the war in Ukraine is an electoral imperative’

      So they say. But didn’t they say that about Afghanistan and Iraq? The US loses but the ball keeps rolling unimpeded.

  11. Rudy Haugeneder
    July 8, 2023 at 13:11

    Politics is like religion. The secret of survival is to trust nobody, not even and perhaps especially a cook who runs a kitchen but little else. It is something American and European leaders should beware of as yesterday’s collapse of the Dutch coalition government shows — and proves. Trust nobody.

  12. Crown
    July 8, 2023 at 12:03

    Guess it goes to show never trust your ego-inflated oligarchs whether in the west or Russia.

    • Valerie
      July 9, 2023 at 03:58

      Or any heads of state, as witnessed yesterday with Turkey and the release of 5 Ukrainian commanders under a previous deal, that they remain in Turkey till the end of the fighting.

      • vinnieoh
        July 9, 2023 at 11:05

        Erdo?an is like a greased pig – you think you’ve got him cornered and he slips past you, again and again. And just like, it’s the greased pig against the world.

  13. Joseph Tracy
    July 8, 2023 at 11:49

    What happens next with Prigozhin will tell the true story, I agree with Jamie that it makes little sense to send Prigozhin to Belarus if he is a potential source of betrayal. I read somewhere that he is actually in St Petersburg??? I still think it possible that this stunt of moving toward Moscow , then stopping, was a distraction and that it served other purposes. Remember that the whole “we are out of ammo” thing went public right before the Ukrainian army lost decisively in Bakhmut/Artemivsk. Russian psyops anyone?

    For the west this war looks increasingly like Gallipoli with Ukrainians playing the role of Australians. For Russia it is slow and tactical with the difficulty of not wanting to escalate beyond the original stated goals and it is embedded in a larger struggle against Anglo Hegemony. It is 3d Chess before any obvious endgame has revealed itself with the west unwilling to stop the escalation despite a shortage of pawns and knights.

    The west will obviously be in very bad shape if they accept current boundaries especially if they give up on nuclear weapons and foreign troops in western Ukraine. Ukraine will be a massive boondoggle either for Russia or the Capitalists and Ukrainians who will own the rubble and the farmland along with a devastating iceberg of debt crunching into the corrupted ship of the Ukrainian state. The Russians could cancel the debt since the west already owes them billions of their own money and have no other way of punishing Russia.

    Now we have to ask why depleted Uranium and cluster bombs if the US is not desperate to provoke the kind of large scale Russian action that can justify a major escalation? WTF do they have in mind? It is as though they are begging for Russia to pursue the complete devastation of Ukraine up to its western remaining european borders to stop this kind of ultra poisonous western offense. If this happens will they then resume the war from Poland, Germany etc. if Russia accommodates, or leave Russia to deal with the devastation of an angry impoverished Ukraine and use it as rallying point to retain the holy hegemony? Regardless there is no happy future for Ukraine or Europe or anyone apart from international peace and reconciliation and a new paradigm of multipolar balance of interests.

  14. Maricata
    July 8, 2023 at 11:16

    “Despite this, the U.S. did not alert Russia to what they knew, which could have perhaps prevented a nuclear crisis, as Ritter said in a Consortium News piece on Monday.

    Perhaps most significantly, the so-called Discord leaks of U.S. intelligence revealed that Prigozhin was prepared to give Ukraine intelligence Russian troop positions in exchange for calling off its defense of Bakhmut.”

    If one is familiar with the history of what people call ‘the deep state’ one is not surprised that the US might have known of Prigozhin’s plans to rebel days in advance, and probably did.

    I am referring to Allan Dulles and the Cold War 1.0.

    There, we find Dulles failing to tell Truman, our own executive branch, of the ratline, Vatican-Nazi gold smuggling, Operation Sunshine and then covering it up.

    Truman never knew until the end of his life how the OSS and CIA purposely failed to convey information that was deemed essential for Dulles, Sullivan and Cromwell, his former clients.

    Former President Jimmy Carter fell into the same trap, as the CIA and George Bush worked behind his back to set up the Safari Club and failed to notify Carter of the goings on of the CIA and the oil companies during the Israel-Egypt crisis of the late 1970’s.

    Reagan, the same.

    The point is that the CIA runs the United States as a praetorian guard for the US dollar and the plutocrats.

    They not only know what is going on, they keep it guarded for they represent a ‘fifth column’ in the world at large.

    They had to know.

    • evelync
      July 8, 2023 at 12:56

      RE: “The point is that the CIA runs the United States as a praetorian guard for the US dollar and the plutocrats.”

      Yes, Maricata, thanks.
      It’s taken me many years to figure out that this is the case.
      And I think it’s also true that the NEOCONS in the State Dept serve only those interests too.

      Who serves the American people and the sustainability of the economy etc etc?

    • Rob
      July 8, 2023 at 14:39

      If US intelligence agencies were aware of Prighozin’s uprising in advance, then so were Russian intelligence agencies. Moreover, the Russians almost certainly knew that the Americans knew. Whether western nations assisted Prighozin in any way is an unanswered question, at least for those of us on the outside.

  15. IJ Scambling
    July 8, 2023 at 10:58

    There’s confusion on Prigohzen’s current whereabouts with Lukashenko saying (yesterday) he’s in Russia, not Belarus. There also seems doubt on whether Wagner forces are in Belarus.


    So the deal Putin struck is not clear. How could Prig be wandering around in Russia, especially after the FSB raided his place to find a lot of loot and weapons? (It is now doubtful he returned to this residence to pick up the weapons himself as reported on MSM a few days back).

    Adding to the mystery is Ray McGovern, recently on Judge Napolitano’s podcast (circa minute 6), discussing these developments:

    “Putin was 95% effective 10 days ago; now I put him to about 65%, 55% …”


    • Valerie
      July 9, 2023 at 03:54

      “How could Prig be wandering around in Russia”

      Well he’s got all those wigs and disguises you know. He’s probably got a hotdog stand in front of the Kremlin. LOL

  16. Robert Emmett
    July 8, 2023 at 09:01

    I hear you, Joe L. Untangling spun webs is a sticky business.

    For instance, “…headed to Rostov-on Don, which he partially occupied…” partially occupied or was allowed to occupy?

    The anguish in London & Washington is overwrought, overplayed, over everything. Were that it were over over.

    On the other hand, if they suddenly were to realize how much their reach exceeds their grasp would they then turn to the one weapon where it doesn’t? What a feckin’ dilemma.

    Talk about backing Russia into a corner, the yanks & brits have wormed themselves into a pickle-hole. As in take your pick, they’re all bad options.

    For now, not having a complete picture & not sure how much that really matters, I just refer to it as the Prigozhi thing. (you have to admit, though, in his photos he does sort of look like a perogi, or that he’s eaten a lot of them)

    This whole thing has got to be a one-off though, right? I mean it’s not like more billionaire oligarchs bestride the planet are going to whip together mercenary armies & cause big trouble in the world, is it?

    Thanks for taking the time to unravel u.s. corporate mass media’s bizarre rantings. Hope it opens some more eyes in general.

    Oh & as for my take, how about Putin was the whip & Perogi the flagellant to whip Russian sentiment more firmly into line up & down the line behind the military operation which is, reportedly, the outcome (so far).

  17. jamie
    July 8, 2023 at 03:27

    the question I like Ritter and McGregor to answer is: Why Putin who sees Prigozhin as threat to Russia and his government send him to Belorussia to build a new army, in a country which is the only true ally of Russia in this war, a country in which Russia is investing a lot militarily and strategically.
    If Prigozhin was a threat to great Russia, it is an even greater threat to Belorussia much more unstable politically and socially, and if Prigozhin is able to size Belorussia with the help of anti-government forces, and Ritter is right on the fact Prigozhin was an “instrument” of CIA, would you not call Putin a total idiot?

    Despite the fog, something is clear: the west was even happy if an ultra-nationalist government had took over Russia. The west see Putin as a threat not only militarily but even more diplomatically/economically, it is an extraordinary strategist and negotiator, but he could do much better, he could unite the world better, and he will. An ultranationalist government could even be a threat to China.

  18. Lois Gagnon
    July 7, 2023 at 22:45

    Russia, despite its tumultuous history is today run by statesmen and women who are loyal to their people and promote international law. The US and the rest of the west are run by thoroughly corrupt corporate henchmen and women who have no idea what the rule of law looks like nor the need for real diplomacy. It’s win at any and all cost even when you consistently lose.

    Whatever the true story turns out to be in this caper, Russian leadership proved its ability to bring it to a swift conclusion. Washington and its lapdog press have already made asses of themselves with their hysterical pronouncements of Putin’s inevitable demise. They are demonstrating to the world what their fondest desire has been all along. What a sorry lot.

  19. Dave E
    July 7, 2023 at 21:03

    If the guy sleeping on the park bench is the double, that suggests to me the possibility that he has suddenly found himself without a job. It may be possible that Russia did want to investigate further and they may be talking with Pregozhin in some location but, preferring that the Russian people think he is free because he is so popular, they don’t mention that. If he was being a double agent and double-crossing the Western agencies, he might need to be protected from their retribution by having his whereabouts kept secret or by having him in an arrest for his own safety type situation.

  20. Greg
    July 7, 2023 at 20:51

    Such a good informative article, thank you!
    It’s easier and easier to see how this can progress to WWIII

  21. July 7, 2023 at 20:13

    What a total mess. The best solution is to heed the votes of the United Nations General Assembly. The votes were overwhelming, and they voted that way twice. Heed the UN charter. Peace now.

    • Andrew Thomas
      July 8, 2023 at 22:32

      The behavior of both Pregozhin and Hunter Biden as reported over the last few weeks brings to mind a character in a decades-old movie named Tony Montana. Hunter’s self-confessed powdery activities offer a potential partial explanation for his exploits, assuming that he is still wearing that old white tuxedo. If Pregozhin is spending half the day with his head buried in a pile of it, Tony M. style, it still wouldn’t explain his rote repetition of US narratives that everyone else has abandoned. If Putin has suffered a domestic loss of prestige, as Ray McGovern believes, it has to be because he allowed this guy anywhere near him. Or anyone under Russian arms.

  22. Patrick Powers
    July 7, 2023 at 20:00

    “In this corna, head of state, with a 85% approval rating. In this corna, Uncle Fester’s evil twin brother. May the best man win!”

    • Larry McGovern
      July 9, 2023 at 09:04

      “Uncle Fester’s evil twin brother.” – priceless!!! I’m still laughing at that one! :-)). Thanks.

      I’m angry with you, Joe Lauria. Here I go spending all that time reading, watching, listening to MacGregor, Ritter, Mercouris, et al, and all I had to do was wait for this succinct summary/digest. Let us know the next time something like this is coming and save me all that time. Only kidding, of course, since your article is more that a summary, with your own astute perceptions, especially your very last sentence about ideologues never learning their lesson.

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