In a recent development, Yevgeny Prigozhin’s assassination has been claimed to be a symbolic ‘gift’ to Ukrainian President Zelensky by the nation’s intelligence service.
This assertion comes from Sergei Markov, a former close advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin and a staunch supporter.
Markov stated that the evidence is ‘absolutely clear’ that the Ukrainian intelligence service was behind Prigozhin’s killing, which occurred on the eve of Ukraine’s Independence Day.
Despite Markov’s claims, Prigozhin’s death is commonly perceived as a Kremlin-ordered assassination, orchestrated to eliminate him following his involvement in a failed coup attempt and a plane crash that took place two months prior.
Markov, now a promoter of Russian propaganda at Moscow State University, described Prigozhin as a ‘Russian hero,’ despite his recent role in the attempted coup.
Markov’s assertions lack substantial justification beyond Russian propaganda television claims.
He expressed a 95% certainty about Prigozhin’s death due to the plane crash, despite the presence of evidence confirming the incident.
Notably, the former Kremlin advisor acknowledged that Prigozhin’s death would have negative implications for Russia, even though Putin had previously criticized him for the failed coup.
Prigozhin was depicted by Markov as a ‘hero of Russia and a hero of the Donetsk people,’ even though Putin had denounced him following the coup attempt.
The coup was seen as a major challenge to Putin’s authority, resulting in the Kremlin branding its organizers as ‘treacherous’ and ‘betraying their country.’
Prigozhin had led the Wagner private military group, which was involved in violent activities in Ukraine.
Western officials had anticipated Prigozhin’s death at the hands of Putin, despite promises of dropping charges that were part of a deal ending the failed uprising in June. U.S.
President Joe Biden expressed that while he couldn’t confirm the details, he wasn’t surprised, suggesting Putin’s involvement in significant events in Russia.
The circumstances surrounding Prigozhin’s death led to various theories, with some of his supporters suggesting the plane crash was deliberate.
The crash site was secured by authorities for investigation, and the bodies of the victims, including Prigozhin, were sent for forensic examination.
Prigozhin’s supporters created impromptu memorials, and speculations swirled regarding the reasons behind his assassination.
Many observers, however, perceived his death as a demonstration of Putin’s authority, intended to deter potential challengers.
Tatiana Stanovaya, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center, highlighted the symbolic nature of the incident, irrespective of its cause.
She emphasized that the Kremlin’s perceived role in the event underscores its authority and willingness to ensure loyalty among its supporters.