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The Final Weeks Of Yevgeny Prigozhin

Last week, a plane in which the Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin was supposed to be a passenger crashed. The Kremlin confirmed that the Wagner boss was among the dead. For many, Prigozhin’s death came as no surprise – he had, after all, marched on Moscow and embarrassed Vladimir Putin in what the Russian president called a coup. What did surprise people was that the Wagner chief survived so long, when so many opponents of the Russian regime have met untimely deaths.

The Guardian’s Russian affairs reporter, Pjotr Sauer, tells Michael Safi how Prigozhin did not lie low in the final months of his life but continued to criticise the war in Ukraine and to run his lucrative business in Africa. Yet behind the scenes there are signs the Kremlin may have been silently working to ensure his financial and political power could be transferred to the state.

With so much unclear about the reports of Prigozhin’s death, what does it tell us about Putin’s power and the Russian state?

Photograph: Reuters Support The Guardian

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