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Failing to get people's support, Wagner group or Prigozhin pose no direct threat to Putin

By Harsh Thakor 

In recent weeks, a coup d’état in Russia staged by Yevgeny Prigozhin caused tremors all over the world. There appears nothing left of either the western aspirations of an ‘End of Putin’, nor the advances of some of the Russian authorities. The event was no real coup and it was never designed as such. What happened was a manifestation of a necessary struggle for Russian imperialism on the question of who leads the armed forces of Russia and of the establishment of a sole high command.
Prigozhin deployed every ounce of his energy against key figures of the High Command of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation: General Valery Vasilyevich Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces and First Deputy Minister of Defense and – primarily – General Sergei Kuzhugetovich Shoigu, the Minister of Defense. It is those two who represent the Armed Forces and it is they who compulsively need to posess control over everything, to apply a strict centralisation of all resources of the state under one leadership, due to the war. Through the advent of the grave crisis of the ongoing war, the situation of the rule of the siloviki called inner circle, sharing joint power between several state entities like the armed forces and the secret services, has turned its benefits into disadvantages. It does not fit to this war and does not serve victory.
It danced to the tune for Russian imperialism that the Wagner mercenaries could act independently, when the need was a balance of power for this group around Putin. All political power springs out of the barrel of a gun with the army being the pivot of the state, not the secret service. That is the essence of the so-called rivalry between the contending forces.. Thus Prigozhin even after Putin labelled him a traitor and declared his liquidation, did not open his mouth against his old friend.
The whole ploy was a manifestation of Russian imperialism. Therefore Shoigu, in early June, made a move to bring all the mercenaries under the umbrella of the Ministry of Defense. Prigozhin stated, “Wagner will not sign any contracts with Shoigu”; “When we started participating in this war, no one said that we would be obliged to conclude agreements with the Ministry of Defence”; “None of the Wagner fighters is ready to go down the path of shame again. And so no one will sign contracts”.
Then Putin came to the fore taking side with Shoigu and the ministry: “This has to be done and it has to be done as quickly as possible,” Putin said “in line with common sense, with established practice and the law”.


One should not negate the consequences that the incidents could invite, as well as the fatal general crisis Russian imperialism is submerging or the fact that they will definitely not be able to achieve a complete victory by conquering or demilitarizing Ukraine, as their stated goal. The outcome will be most probably, a frozen war, with some large Ukrainian territory in the south and east occupied by Russia. For now Putin, Shoigu and Gerasimov have compromised a military conflict with an outstanding trained and well equipped mercenary troop at least in the size of a division on their home territory within only one day and without any mayor casualties on both sides. This cannot be analysed as a manifestation of weakness, but it has parallels to the development of the German Reich during the First World War: The Kaiser was on path of retreat while the OHL (Oberste Heeresleitung -High Command of the German Armed Forces), Hindenburg and Ludendorff, were gaining, because the war plundered too many resources for two heads. If Putin, Prigozhin Gerasimov and Shoigu are ousted, is out of question.
The failed general political line that could not suppress the people to stand up against their interests to advance losing the war – has crystallised the current situation. On the other hand, it is illustrated that it was Prigozhin’s desperate position and his bureaucratic ambitions under pressure from the Defense Ministry that motivated this mutiny.
Constructing a private army of such size as the “Wagner” PMC would have been impossible otherwise; Prigozhin, though he is a millionaire (if not a billionaire), definitely did not possess the resources to maintain all combat units on his own, the resources for which were granted to him directly by the monopolists. It was with the help of “Wagner” that Russian imperialists could fight for the capture of oil and gold mining sites without tarnishing the face of the Russian army and, therefore, operating much more flexibly. Military formation of the “Wagner” PMC demonstrates the fascist method of organizing The very existence of a private military army is completely prohibited in the constitution of the country. Thus, the Wagner is the modern equivalent of the fascist Freikorps formed in the Weimar Republic, but with the distinction t from the beginning “Wagner” is deployed as a weapon against Third World nations and not against communists.
The struggle between the two sides has features of absolute and primary nature, while the collusion is temporary and secondary. Both sides have adopted political positions that would pave way to make super-fast decisions and divert path depending on the specific impact of the situation. Putin, speaking about the mutiny, never mentioned Prigozhin by name, but simply threatened to punish “those” people who are responsible for organizing the mutiny. The same tactics were used by Prigozhin with regard to Putin. This alone manifested a possible resolution of the struggle through collusion. Nevertheless, the military actions of Prigozhin and the Ministry of Defence confirmed their determination to use violence. Never before has a government army air strike been launched within the borders of the country against a moving army column of a hostile faction in the middle of the day when there were civilian cars on the highway.
The lack of volunteers and the gigantic organizational problems that emerged even before the first failed offensive of forced mobilization in September meant it was imperative to recruit more people than were available. In order to accumulate the numbers of recruits they turned to prisons. The army of the Russian Federation could not afford to tarnish its “denazifying” and “orthodox” image with higher criminals as mercenaries, so was forced to adopt another organizational form. Still such an organization to undertake the most daunting military work was already there – the PMC “Wagner”. This structure already had trusted people and planted it’s work. All that was left to do was to reinstate their troops. Nevertheless, even after all this, the problem was still not completely solved, and more people were needed. In order to attract even more criminals, “Wagner” was provided another fascist benefit: at the end of the contract with the “Wagner”, the criminals, without trial, being released without completing the remainder of their prison terms.
Thus, the role and tasks of the “Wagner” PMC since the start of the war with Ukraine have expanded and now conduct not only dirty military operations in Africa and the Middle East, but also the recruitment of criminals for the needs of the front.
However, Prigozhin’s mysterious moves are not affecting the Russian movement, or the Russian masses. The Russian government will lie in the most derogatory ways that in fact everything was under control, that the dismantling of their power posed no peril to the lives of citizens and soldiers, that from the beginning the peaceful outcome was an inevitability. An objective analysis of the events of June 23rd and 24th shows that everything that could destabilised has gone out of control. All the leading fascists, their trusted bureaucrats and ideologues were shaken to the floor. They are making hasty and unprincipled change of positions, to cover up their mistakes. But the Russian imperialists will never be able to retract Putin’s words that a real mutiny is taking shape in the country which poses a mortal threat to the Russian nation and statehood.
No section of the army officer caste expressed support over Prigozhin and he did not receive any support from the population. The only real concrete result is that the Wagner group, and Prigozhin in particular, no more pose as a direct threat to Putin, which is what Putin’s objective. The Prigozhin adventure reveals is that there are deep cracks in the armour of the regime.


Both Prigozhin and the Ministry of Defense endorse – the rotten old autocratic and monopolistic order, in which the people have no right to protest, let alone to strike. Prigozhin only pays lip service to “oligarchy” and says that he is working on behalf of the welfare of the people.
Neither of the two sides wants to end the war with Ukraine. Both sides of this conflict champion the prospects of Russia’s monopolistic capitalists, primarily oil and gas capitalists. Prigozhin, while condemning in form about the leadership, is in essence not being critical about the aggressive nature of this war, but only about the conditions that were placed before him as part of it. Both sides are waging a war of aggression to loot the Ukrainian national economy for the benefit of the Russian oligarchy – the Russian imperialists, which would pave way to enhance their strategic economic and military position in the fight against American imperialists for hegemony in the third world, particularly in Ukraine. Both are simply two sides of the fascist coin.
Thus, this situation is a personification of the incredibly sharp internal contradictions of the rotten Russian society, which is in a never ending crisis. On the economic level it is an incredible waste of resources for the Russian imperialists, which otherwise could have been used on the front lines. On the political level, it is a launching pad in the embryonic stage for the escalating struggle within the ranks of the imperialists themselves, which will lead to self –destruction on their own state with each passing day. On the ideological plan, it portrays of absence of principles, opportunism and disrespect for the people.
Contradictions have unfolded to the fore. Still democratic forces should combat such a scenario for Western imperialist countries to exploit and promote their expansionist interests or hegemony. Indirectly it has acted as a prop for Western Imperialism.
Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist who studies world affairs .Thanks information from Russian Maoists and Red Herald



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