Vladimir Putin could be losing close military ally in Russia as alleged feud escalates

For months reports suggested the rise of Yevgeny Prigozhin as a close ally and likely successor of Vladimir Putin, but the tide seems now to be changing.

The close Vladimir Putin ally reportedly turning into a sideliner
© Contributor / Contributeur
The close Vladimir Putin ally reportedly turning into a sideliner

A new report suggests there is a fallout between Vladimir Putin and Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the infamous Wagner private military company.

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Yevgeny Prigozhin's role in Ukraine

Yevgeny Prigozhin is known as ‘Putin’s chef’, andit is believed that he accumulated great wealth from the catering contracts of the Kremlin.

Just months after Russia unleashed the invasion of Ukraine, Prigozhin came out in public to confirm that he is the founder of the infamous Wagner mercenary group that has also been called 'Vladimir Putin’s private army'.

Prigozhin had become a central figure in Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked War in Ukraine, having been vocal about the war and performing symbolic visits to the frontlines.

At the same time, Prigozhin's Wagner mercenaries were reported to have been involved in the fiercest battles and often paid a heavy price against the Ukrainian army by suffering heavy losses.

For months the Russian forces had been losing battles and were on the retreat. Most recently the only advances were reportedly made by the Wagner mercenaries who were able to capture the town of Soledar.

Although this alleged Russian victory was disputed by the Ukrainians, Prigozhinclaimed all the credit and praised his troops as one of the most experienced armies in the world.

But Vladimir Putindid not mention the Wagner group and instead attributed the success entirely to the Russian defense ministry, Newsweek reports.

This is why it is now believed that there is a growing rift between Putin and Prigozhin and that they are no longer allies.

Supposed clash between Vladimir Putin and Yevgeny Prigozhin

The Wagner group has been conducting Vladimir Putin’s dirty work for years now on different continents. Nevertheless, according to Newsweek, it has come to a situation where the Putin and Prigozhin groups are clashing against each other.

Joana de Deus Pereira, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), said that the relationship between the Wagner group and the Russian state was purely commercial at the beginning of the war.

'[The mercenary group] was initially seen as a very useful tool and as an instrument of war'.

According to Deus Pereira, the problems between Putin and Prigozhin emerged after the latter has been showing political aspirations.

Now, Prigozhin has become much more dangerous in terms of the political persona he wants to be. He sees himself as a defense minister or someone with a high profile inside the Kremlin, at least visible and respectful enough to be rewarded for what he has been doing for the country'

Read more: Vladimir Putin allegedly feuding with close ally and sources reveal he could soon be 'eliminated'

Yevgeny Prigozhin wants a bigger role in Russia

Vlad Mykhnenko, an expert on the former Soviet Union and post-communist transformation at the University of Oxford, believes that Prigozhin seems to have decided that he needs a bigger public role in Russia.

''with just being a shadowy private sector contractor. He looks like he wants something more, a more serious official public kind of job.'

Another aspect of why Prigozhin seems to have fallen from the grace of Vladimir Putin is because his forces were not able to conquer the heavily embattled city of Bakhmut.

‘Despite countless attacks, shelling and a reported loss of thousands of soldiers, including fighters who were recruited from Russian jails, freshly mobilised reservists and forcibly conscripted men from separatist-held Ukrainian areas, the Wagner Group has failed to decisively take Bakhmut.’

Sources used:

-Newsweek: ‘The Putin and Wagner Group Clash Is Coming to a Head’

-AlJazeera: ‘Why does ‘Putin’s chef’ want Ukraine’s Soledar so badly?’

Vladimir Putin allegedly feuding with close ally and sources reveal he could soon be 'eliminated' Vladimir Putin allegedly feuding with close ally and sources reveal he could soon be 'eliminated'