In light of the aborted rebellion of Wagner PMC owner Yevgeny Prigozhin against the Russian military leadership, the UK aims to get prepared for a sudden collapse of Russian Federation. The Times reports this by quoting its informed sources.
A source in the British government said that since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine, London has been predicting the probability of destabilisation in Russia.
However, according to the source, the pace of events since Prigozhin announced his “march on Moscow” has prompted diplomats to prepare for various scenarios quickly.
“We have to wait and see what happens next. This can only be ‘Chapter 1’ of something new,” the Times source said.
According to John Foreman, the country’s former military attaché in Moscow, “a successful seizure of power by Prigozhin would be the worst-case scenario.” Prigozhin is far from being a liberal, peaceful democrat “because he is a fascist,” he said.
Forman also said that Prigozhin’s “march on Moscow” caught London off guard. Nobody expected a rebellion by Wagner mercenaries.
We remind that back in November 2022 we predicted in our article rebellions and civil conflicts in Russia that can eventually lead to a coup or to Russia collapse.
The invasion of Ukraine and the cruel and disastrous war will almost certainly end in defeat for Russia. It is only a matter of time. The loss will cause severe consequences that can cause the fall of Putin’s regime and even lead to a total collapse of the Russian Federation. Disputes have already emerged among Russian elites on the background of defeats on the battlefield in Ukraine, unpopular mobilization, harsh economic sanctions by the West, and further isolation of Russia on the international scene.“Russia collapse or coup against Putin: what scenario is more likely?” (link to the article)
Still, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, despite Prigozhin’s blow to his authority, is still a dangerous opponent for the West who should not be underestimated. Wagner’s uprising has reduced Putin’s chances of remaining president for life but adds that he still holds on to his position, British experts say.
Prigozhin’s rebellion: how it happened
The conflict between the founder of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and the Russian Ministry of Defence persisted for several months. Still, the crisis escalated sharply on the evening of 23 June.
Then Russian troops allegedly launched a missile attack on the Wagner PMC base. The leader of the Wagnerites, Yevgeny Prigozhin, announced a “march of justice” and said that 25,000 mercenaries were marching on Moscow after the Russian leadership failed to comply with the demand to fire Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov.
On Saturday, 24 June, Wagner’s mercenaries also took control of Voronezh, in addition to Rostov-on-Don, where they had been camped around the headquarters of the Southern Military District since the evening of 23 June. Their military columns, diverted from the border with Ukraine, were moving towards Moscow. Shoygu’s military aviation and artillery tried to stop them. The last time Wagner’s PMC units were spotted was in the Lipetsk region of Russia. And in the Russian capital, firing points were being built at the entrance, trenches were being dug, and all security forces were being mobilised.
However, on the evening of 24 June, the press service of the dictator of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, released a statement saying that the head of the Wagner PMC was ready to stop the movement of his mercenaries’ convoys, which were already approaching Moscow, and to reach an agreement with the Kremlin. Prigozhin allegedly agreed on this during a conversation with Lukashenko.
Instead, Prigozhin said that before reaching 200 kilometres to Moscow, the Wagnerites stopped their movement and returned to their field camps: “Therefore, realising the full responsibility for the fact that Russian blood will be shed – on one side – we are turning our columns around and heading back to the field camps according to the plan”, rebels leader claimed.
Subsequently, Prigozhin and all his mercenary fighters left Russia’s Southern Military District headquarters. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin promised that Prigozhin would be able to go to Belarus and Russia would close the criminal case against him.
The Institute for the Study of War believes that the agreement reached through Lukashenko’s mediation will likely eliminate the Prigozhin-led Wagner PMC in its current form. However, some elements of the organisation may continue to exist under the Russian Ministry of Defence.