Alexander Mercouris of The Duran gave an interesting analysis of the death of Prigozhin. He agrees that Prigozhin was on the plane and was murdered. We learned today that his death is officially confirmed through DNA analysis.
The Russians seem to think that there was a bomb onboard in the hold or the landing gear. A missile attack appears to have been all but ruled out. He was flying too high for anything but a very prominent missile. That type of thing would have been obvious.
Alex began by saying Prigozhin had many enemies and there were many possible suspects.
IT COULD ONLY BE PUTIN?
The West indicates only Putin and the Russian government are responsible.
Russians had a motive, Mercouris says, since Prigozhin wanted to overthrow Defense Minister Shoigu. It was legitimately an attempted coup.
Putin or the Russian government might have felt insecure while the insurrectionists were still alive.
Putin offered to sign the Wagner Group up as a division of the army, but Prigozhin stepped in and stopped it. Alex admits that could have been a reason for Putin to kill him.
Two months could be sufficient time to investigate and plan an assassination.
An alleged friend of Prigozhin’s in the military, a General in charge of the Aerospace division, was dismissed. Another potential clue.
Mr. Mercouris mentioned a couple of other potential signs that could’ve indicated planning, such as a meeting Putin had with the military. However, there is no information on what they discussed.
Mr. Mercouris said you could make a case for asking questions, but it would never hold up in court.
He doesn’t think the Russian government had any role in this because he doesn’t think Prigozhin presented any threat. Alex believes that the complete failure of his first attempted coup would have convinced him never to try anything like that again.
Alex doesn’t think that Putin needed Prigozhin out of the way to assert his authority.
Alex doubts it was Putin for several reasons.
For one, why would Putin go about it spectacularly, killing his command and pilots who are entirely innocent Russian people?
Prigozhin and his command were planning to fight in Africa. He even made a video of himself allegedly in Africa, that would’ve been a far better place to commit an assassination.
Also, why do it in the middle of the very important BRICS event? Putin spent months convincing the BRICS members that he was secure in his position and that Russia was stable. The last thing he would want to do is remind the members of the Prigozhin affair.
In summary, Alex says there was no need for Putin to put him out of the way since he was not a threat, and it could have been done in a much less spectacular way in Africa. He also would not have done it as he was trying to make deals with BRICS.
Alex thinks the arguments against Putin and the Russian government assassinating Prigozhin are much stronger than the arguments for doing it.
THE MANY OTHER SUSPECTS
He said that the men of the Wagner group are very tough and ruthless individuals. They could’ve been angry with Prigozhin for the damage he had done to the organization.
Other suspects could have been people within Russia, such as the Russian oligarchs, who might be unhappy with the changes Putin is making inside Russia. They might have been involved with the coup and had to get Prigozhin out of the way.
Prigozhin recruited from prisons, putting these men on the front lines in Bakhmut with inadequate training. Ten thousand of them died. Putin is still recruiting from prison but is giving them extensive training; it is possible the people tied to these dead prisoners could have arranged for Prigozhin’s assassination.
Ukrainians with power have gloated about his death, claiming Prigozhin belongs in hell. In the past, Ukrainians have been vocal about killing Russians on Russian territory.
Alex believes the West – in particular, the United States – is capable of an assassination. Allegedly, the US is worried about the Wagner group in Africa and Belarus and is considering declaring Wagner a terrorist group.
The US is very concerned about West Africa and the coup in Niger. They’ve warned Niger to have nothing to do with the Wagner group. With Wagner going back to Africa, they could have acted.
The fact that the entire command of Wagner was on that plane suggests that someone wanted to get rid of the threat of the Wagner group.
Mercouris said the Russians are conducting a thorough investigation, and while they might not name a suspect, they might provide information.
Alex said there are many more potential suspects, and in time, we will learn a lot more.
Furthermore, Alex believes that the importance of Prigozhin‘s death has been overstated and will fade in due time.
Mr. Mercouris appears to lean pro-Putin, but his analyses are always thoughtful and most often accurate.