Yevgeniy Prigozhin the Russian tycoon has been identified as the key ally who reportedly met earlier this month with Russian PresidentVladimir Putin.
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Notorious reputation, furious rise to power
Prigozhin has been merely known as ‘Putin’s Chef’ until it was revealed by a Foreign Policy report, that he is the founder of the infamous ‘Wagner Mercenary Group’ that is behind Vladimir Putin’s dirty jobs on at least three continents.
The Russian billionaire has a notorious reputation, and in 2022 he experienced a furious rise to power.
‘People like Prigozhin now see a chance to grab for the brass ring, This really shows the system is under stress when people start pushing themselves forward like this.’
The previous outcry led to the private meeting with Putin
An earlier US intelligence report revealed that Prigozhin criticized the Russian Defense Ministry over their handling of the situation in Ukraine.
‘The Russian Army is relying too heavily on Wagner mercenaries while giving them insufficient support.’
However, in a statement Prigozhin denied that he met or spoke to Vladimir Putin or that he has criticized Russia’s army, The Washington Post reports.
‘First, I did not communicate personally with Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin either recently or in any foreseeable future. I did not criticize the management of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation during the conflict in Ukraine. Therefore, I cannot comment on anything.’
Nevertheless, it remains unclear if Prigozhin simply wants increasingly more influence in the Russian Army or whether he has higher political ambitions, as many analysts see him as a likely successor if Vladimir Putin is ousted.