The Wagner Group's Unorthodox Feud with the Russian Military
Infighting in Russia's ranks
Pictured above, Prigozhin (right) is the man behind Wagner Group.
In a surprising turn of events, the mercenary Wagner Group has taken an unexpectedly combative stance against its former ally, the Russian military. This development is the latest twist in an ongoing feud that has seen the relationship between Wagner's boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and Vladimir Putin, sour over recent months .
The conflict has escalated to the point that Prigozhin has publicly stated his troops will not sign special contracts drawn up by the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Prigozhin was quoted by media outlets declaring:
“None of Wagner’s fighters is ready to go down the path of shame again. That’s why they will not sign the contracts”.
This statement underlines the deepening rift between the two entities that once stood together, raising questions about the immediate future of Russia's military efforts.
In a bold move, Prigozhin retaliated by delivering his contract to Moscow. The content of this document remains undisclosed, but its mere presence is a clear act of defiance against the authority of the official military authorities. It's seen as a deliberate effort to undermine the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD), a development viewed as deeply unfortunate by the MoD, especially at a time when they are grappling with Ukraine’s counter-offensive.
This confrontational tone isn't new for Prigozhin. As the Wagner Group’s military success became increasingly apparent, he has become more vocal in his criticism of the Kremlin’s handling of the war in Ukraine. Prigozhin accused Russian military chiefs of “treason” in February for allegedly denying his fighters adequate ammunition. He even warned of a potential return to the 1917 revolution if the general Russian public continues to see their children die in Ukraine while the children of the elite enjoy the safety of their privileged lives.
This infighting in the ranks shows the ever-evolving structure of Russian military organizations. The repercussions of this feud could have far-reaching implications for Russia's ongoing operations and strategic decisions.