Russia: Are questions about Prigozhin’s potential political aspirations real?

Russia: Are questions about Prigozhin’s potential political aspirations real?

Prigozhin, a 61-year-old ex-convict, has grabbed headlines in recent months over his role in Ukraine and is sometimes portrayed in the West as a real-life James Bond villain.

According to Romaniuk, an expert interviewed by Radio NV, there has been a notable transformation in Prigozhin’s role and position within the Russian landscape, which many individuals have overlooked for at least a year.

Romaniuk describes Prigozhin as an independent stronghold within the Kremlin, distinguishing him from the other towers. He likens Prigozhin to the self-contained Spasskaya Tower, a famous clock- and star-bearing tower in the Kremlin.

The expert emphasizes that Prigozhin is only accountable to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, who holds direct influence over him. Romaniuk suggests that Prigozhin has already started building an independent political career in the past six months.

Prigozhin recognizes that Putin’s reign has a limited duration, and he anticipates the future of Russia, often referred to as the post-war era. Romaniuk draws parallels to Prigozhin’s survival in the prison zone and suggests that he will strive to adapt and survive in the upcoming period, along with his Wagner group and other associates.

Contrary to Prigozhin’s rhetoric, Romaniuk speculates that Prigozhin’s current focus may rely on the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ victory over Russia. In Romaniuk’s opinion, Prigozhin sees the collapse and failure of the Russian Federation and Ukraine’s victory as an opportunity to seize power amid the resulting chaos, comparable to the Bolsheviks’ actions in October 1917.

Romaniuk also cites UK intelligence estimates, claiming that Prigozhin enjoys more than 30% of electoral support in Russia.

UK intelligence warns that the conflict between Prigozhin, owner of the Wagner PMC, and the Russian Ministry of Defense could escalate on July 1, 2023. This date marks the deadline for mercenaries to sign contracts with the ministry.

The requirement for mercenaries to sign contracts with private armed formations has received approval from Russian leader Vladimir Putin, whose authority Prigozhin acknowledges, unlike that of the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Previously, Prigozhin refused to sign contracts with the Ministry of Defense, denouncing it as a “path of shame.”

While the questions surrounding Prigozhin’s potential political aspirations are intriguing, it is important to acknowledge that they remain speculative at this stage. The expert opinions and intelligence estimates presented shed light on the possibility of Prigozhin carving out an independent political career and his desire to seize power amid potential chaos. However, without concrete evidence or definitive statements from Prigozhin himself, the validity of these questions cannot be conclusively confirmed.

The implications of Prigozhin’s political ambitions, if indeed they exist, are significant. They raise concerns about the consolidation of power within the Kremlin and the potential for further instability in Russia. The alleged electoral support Prigozhin enjoys and his influence over private armed formations like the Wagner PMC add another layer of complexity to the situation.

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