Civil war, or revolt, or something, in Russia

Events are proceeding rapidly. The world may look different in a day.

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“Military facilities in Voronezh are taken under the control of the Wagner PMC. The army switches to the side of the people,” read a short statement from Wagner’s Telegram channel.

Unclear how real this is. It’s just a message on Telegram picked up by other media.

Look on a map for Voronezh. This is nowhere near the Ukraine war. It’s 150km north of Ukraine and a third of the way to Moscow.

It’s freeway all the way to Moscow from there. Unless some forces stop them, the Wagner Group may reach Moscow within a day.

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It’s easy to wipe them out on a freeway. Think “highway of death” from Desert Storm.

Also, they’d need at least three full refuelings

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Here is Vladimir Putin’s five minute statement from 2023-06-24 at 07:00 UTC. This is a BBC video with English voice-over.

Here is the official English translation from the President of Russia Web site.

Today, Russia is waging a tough struggle for its future, repelling the aggression of neo-Nazis and their patrons. The entire military, economic and informational machine of the West is directed against us. We are fighting for the lives and security of our people, for our sovereignty and independence, for the right to be and remain Russia, a state with a thousand-year history.

This battle, when the fate of our nation is being decided, requires consolidation of all forces. It requires unity, consolidation and a sense of responsibility, and everything that weakens us, any strife that our external enemies can use and do so to subvert us from within, must be discarded.

Therefore, any actions that split our nation are essentially a betrayal of our people, of our comrades-in-arms who are now fighting at the frontline. This is a knife in the back of our country and our people.

What we are facing is essentially a betrayal. Inflated ambitions and personal interests have led to treason – treason against our country, our people and the common cause which Wagner Group soldiers and commanders were fighting and dying for shoulder to shoulder, together with our other units and troops. The heroes who liberated Soledar and Artyomovsk, towns and villages in Donbass, fought and gave their lives for Novorossiya and the unity of the Russian world. Their memory and glory have also been betrayed by those who are attempting to stage a revolt and are pushing the country towards anarchy and fratricide – and ultimately, towards defeat and surrender.

Once again, any internal revolt is a deadly threat to our statehood and our nation. It is a blow to Russia, to our people. Our actions to defend the Fatherland from this threat will be harsh. All those who have consciously chosen the path of betrayal, planned an armed mutiny and taken the path of blackmail and terrorism, will inevitably be punished and will answer before the law and our people.

The Armed Forces and other government agencies have received the necessary orders. Additional counterterrorism measures are now in effect in Moscow, the Moscow Region and several other regions. Resolute action will also be taken to stabilise the situation in Rostov-on-Don. It remains difficult; in effect, the work of civil and military authorities has been blocked.

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Daniel Hannan has an opinion piece in The Telegraph, 2023-06-24 at 13:05 UTC:

This is the beginning of the end for Vladimir Putin. That may seem an odd thing to say when he is in command of nearly five million armed men in various police, military and paramilitary units. A mutiny by 25,000 mercenaries a thousand miles away might appear, at first glance, to be a minor irritant.

But that is not how autocracies work. Putin’s power rests on projection, on propaganda, on the image of invincibility. Now, all of a sudden, the curtain is being snatched back, revealing the Wizard of Oz as a small, mediocre, frightened man.

From the outside, dictatorships can look monolithic. One of the reasons that Western Kremlinologists failed to predict the end of the Soviet Union was that they knew little of the necessarily secret rivalries within it. None of them foresaw that the chief instrument in the dissolution of the USSR would be Boris Yeltsin’s Russian Federation.

Today, the same Russian Federation appears united. Putin’s approval ratings hover around 80 per cent, and his most vocal opponents are in exile or in prison. There are no meaningful opposition parties or critical newspapers. People rally to their leaders during war, and the effect of sanctions has been to strengthen Putin’s control over the economy.

Look closer, though, and that unity begins to look provisional. The [ital] siloviki [ital], the strongmen around Putin, sense his vulnerability, and are making alliances in preparation for the transition. The generals and admirals who hold the other half of the nuclear codes are manoeuvring. Perhaps nine of Russia’s regions and republics could be ready to call independence referendums, having had enough of a Muscovite clique which seizes their natural resources, conscripts their young men, and offers them nothing in return.

One man who understands these subtleties is Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin, a minor Leningrad gangster who rose with Putin and was rewarded with a big catering contract before he launched the Wagner Group.

We’ll come in a moment to Prigozhin’s motives. For now, note the single most extraordinary fact of the past 24 hours, namely that Wagner, which could not complete the capture of Bakhmut in six months, was able to take the Russian city of Rostov in six hours.

What, then, is Prigozhin up to? One possibility is that this is simply the climax of his feud with the defence minister, Sergei Shoigu. If, as the former convict claims, his men were being targeted by regular troops, he may have felt that his only option was to stake everything on a rising.

A second is that he has swapped sides – that the Ukrainians, in one of the most brilliant tactical moves in the history of warfare, have grasped that mercenaries will fight for the highest bidder. Prigozhin’s pronouncements about Ukraine have been strikingly warm in recent weeks.

A third possibility is that he has allies in the Russian high command, and that this is part of a co-ordinated revolution. At the time of writing, it is impossible to know whether, as Prigozhin claims, regular forces are joining his men or whether, as Putin’s spokesmen maintain, the mercenaries are isolated. We will know soon enough.

Read the whole thing: at the moment, it is not behind a paywall.

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Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin responds to Vladimir Putin on 2023-06-24:

And no one is going to turn themselves in at the behest of the president, the FSB, or anyone else, because we don’t want the country to continue to live in corruption, deceit, and bureaucracy.

So, we are the patriots. And those who oppose us today are those who rally around bastards.

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Putin could have staved this off with militia.money rather than BRICS but failed since he had to rely on “aristocratic” mercenaries. Empires always fall in this manner because their “Caesars” refuse to recognize the foundation of civilization in the flesh blood and bone of the MEN as opposed to The Whores of Babylon. So now, The Whores of Babylon (ie: The Mid-Atlantic Elite that control the USD as world reserve currency) used their network effect monopoly on money to buy the “aristocratic” mercenaries to castrate Putin.

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The governor of the Kaluga region, which borders the federal area of the city of Moscow, has said that movement on the region’s roads will be restricted in the areas bordering several nearby regions Tula, Bryansk, Oryol and Smolensk regions.

“Please refrain from traveling by private vehicle on these roads unless absolutely necessary,” Vladislav Shapsha said on Telegram.

There is no suggestion that Wagner mercenaries, who have been spotted a way south of Moscow, are in Kaluga. But Wagner troops do appear to be moving north, roughly in the direction of the capital.

Could suggest Putin is clearing the way to rush troops east from Belarus to cut off the Wagner advance.

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It is interesting how legacy media makes sure to identify the Wagner Group as “mercenaries”. This, one presumes, is meant to imply that professional troops who are paid to perform military tasks for a private employer are somehow less noble than professional troops paid and unwilling conscripts pressed into service to perform military tasks for an illegitimate coercive government of a railway-era, continental-scale, resource-extraction empire.

“But the Wagner Group fights on contracts in Syria, Africa, and elsewhere!” Well, the paid, professional troops of the United States are currently deployed in more than thirty countries outside the borders of their country, not counting the places (like Syria) where they’re deployed covertly. But they’'re not mercenaries because…because…because….

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This works as long as you control the world reserve currency so no one can outbid you for your mercs. However, when you’ve instituted a world-wide policy of parasitically castrating your young men, there comes a point when the young men start wondering whether what they’re really selling isn’t just their balls.


We’re not in “history as usual” here folks. We really are on the verge of having to choose between militia.money and Queen Boss as the solution to the afore-illustrated so-called “demographic transition” which is code-word for depopulating the most economically valuable portions of the population.

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Some kind of deal may be underway with Prigozhin. News reports are thin.

The practical issue - the drive to Moscow was headed for bridges at the Oka River, and Russian Federation armored units are reportedly already in position at those bridges.

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Apparently all Prigozhin gets out of this is exile. That probably wasn’t the original plan.

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From cnn.com:

Wagner chief says his troops stopped 200 kilometers from Moscow

Well, it wouldn’t the first time an invading army was stopped within sight of the Moscow skyline.

If this is a deal rather than a capitulation, it’ll be interesting to see what Putin gave to end the insurrection.

Wagner chief says his troops stopped 200 kilometers from Moscow

It’s interesting, as CTLaw has noted:

The fact that this didn’t happen can be interpreted in at least two ways. As I was speculating earlier today, it might mean elements of the Russian military were unwilling to take out the Wagner armoured column advancing on Moscow or else (as I was not speculating) that a deal had been done whereby Wagner would stop before reaching the ring road and threatening the capital.

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I remember reading some piece from the 1920s, some American intellectual trying to figure out what in the world was going on in Russia.Plus ça change…

I just pray, or send my hopes toward, the Russian people, in their dachas or their apartments in those blocks and blocks of skyscrapers tonight, Мододцы! Мир миру!

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Well, it looks like we will have to wait until the history books are written to find out what happened on Frantic Friday:
Did Prigozhin suffer from a Biden-level mental breakdown?
Did Putin/Prigozhin mount a cunning operation to ferret out US/NATO/Ukrainian activists in their midst?
Did Perfidious Albion try to buy the services of the Wagner Group?
Did cunning Russian planners implement a scheme to encourage the Ukrainians to continue their self-destructive failing offensive?

Perhaps the most amusing speculation on the InterWebs is that US/UK/EU offered Prigozhin $6.5 Billion to stage a coup; P. did the minimum to collect their money – and is now sharing the foreigners’ money with Russia.

But talking about $Billions, notice that Hunter Biden’s escape from the jaws of (true) justice has totally dropped off the radar as eveyone focuses on Prizoghin’s squirrel. Cui bono?

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It seems to be over now.
"The Kremlin representative said earlier that the mercenary leader will not face criminal charges for his short-lived rebellion and will instead be exiled to Belarus after its President Aleksander Lukashenko negotiated the end of the rebellion.

The fighters who marched with Prigozhin will also avoid prosecution due to their “service” on the front lines of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Those who did not join in the “mutiny” will be able to sign contracts to join the Russian Ministry of Defense, Peskov added.

He told reporters that he “cannot answer” exactly what the Wagner Group leader will do once in Belarus."

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Did Prigozhin suffer from a Biden-level mental breakdown…

Enough with the weird conspiracies.

Prigozhin, being a reasonably competent military commander with a planning staff, presumably had a plan. We don’t know what the plan was. It may have involved help from some commanders in the Russian military. The Wagner group took over the Russian HQ in Rostov without a fight, so there was some level of cooperation. The Wagner troops got about halfway to Moscow without a fight. But then, the bridges ahead at the Oka River were blocked by an opposing force. No more easy drive up the freeway to Moscow. Whatever was supposed to prevent that from happening - didn’t.

This is a classic way a fast advance fails - the opposition gets a strong blocking force to a key choke point you can’t bypass. Go watch “A Bridge Too Far”.

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Twitter chatter

This was all a distraction from a certain crime family’s problems in the U.S. Prigozin was never going to attack Moscow. He and Putin will be hugging within two weeks. Watch.

Don’t You remember the TURKEY coup during Erdogan July 15th 2016 ? Same thing they took control Erdogan and his government managed to retain power, and the aftermath led to significant purges against those who were perceived as being involved in or supportive of the coup…

It was set up between Putin and Prig. It was a PsyOp. Flushes out the disloyal. Throws Ukraine into disarray. It was all orchestrated

Totally agree. Prigozhin took the CIA’s money and faked his coup! Probably in coordination with Putin. Then bounced… with the cash.

People keep regurgitating the false reports that Wagner took down Russian aircraft. There is zero video corroboration of this, and zero confirmation from anyone on this.

That coordination would have helped them figure out which Russian leaders were ready to abandon Putin - this flushed them out?

This ‘coup’ and its aftermath make no sense. How can Prighozin trust a security guarantee from Putin after launching a coup, destroying Russian aircraft, and disparaging the MoD leadership? How can it be that Wagner just drove from Ukraine to the environs of Moscow with no resistance or lives lost? It only makes sense if Putin and Prighozin remain on great terms, which implies a totally coordinated act. What am I missing?

Some early thoughts: -More questions than answers -Short-term compromise ≠ long-term solution -This was a mutiny not a coup -Too soon to say Putin will fall anytime soon -Not clear this will affect Ukraine’s offensive -The previous Kremlin-Wagner relationship is over

It made Wagner look even stronger. So if enemies were already afraid of them, now they look way more intimidating.

This is exactly what I was thinking!. Some things about this “coup” looked stage. From the attack on the wagner camp to the quality of the Wagnerites in Rostov. Also, quite a few were in sneakers. Just seemed off.

Never saw anything about PMC moving to Belarus. PMC by all accounts has been disbanded but some could join the actual army if they wanted. Only one going to Belarus is Prigozhin.

They could/should move on Kyiv. This would turn Ukraine’s defense posture and counteroffensive strategy on its head.

What should be obvious but I am the only one pointing out:

Prigozhin and PMC Wagner moving to Belarus is not “exile” but playing an important role for the Russian Federation.

And it isn’t “guarding” the Polish border.

It’s keeping Lukashenko in power.

Lukashenko has real problems in that area.

Not just the usual liberal-homo dissidents but a hard right and elements of the military who despise him.

This situation can be compared to pre-Euromaiden Ukraine.

Belarus is of huge strategic importance, plus with the announcement nuclear weapons will be on Belarussian soil, keeping Lukashenko in power is a must for Russia.

Been thinking much the same, could you also argue that once the Wagner unit reforms it could also be used to attack Ukraine with troops and hardware direct from Belarus ?

What should be obvious but I am the only one pointing out: Prigozhin and PMC Wagner moving to Belarus is not “exile” but playing an important role for the Russian Federation. And it isn’t “guarding” the Polish border. It’s keeping Lukashenko in power.

Wagner forces were replaced in Bakhmut at the end of May-early June. I don’t think any Wagner troops are currently on the front lines, or were pulled from there for this event. Not clear this event will have any immediate direct effect on the battlefield.

Trump warns about ousting Putin in Russia, says successor could be ‘far worse’ He is right. The Wagner leadership wants a more aggressive war. You don’t want nukes on the table. Putin is restrained. Our leaders are incompetent. Pray for peace.

It was a psyop to flush out disloyal troops and make them think twice next time for any next attempted coup.

Surely it occurs to you that the version of events fed to you by the MSM is bogus?

This ‘coup’ and its aftermath make no sense. How can Prighozin trust a security guarantee from Putin after launching a coup, destroying Russian aircraft, and disparaging the MoD leadership? How can it be that Wagner just drove from Ukraine to the environs of Moscow with no resistance or lives lost? It only makes sense if Putin and Prighozin remain on great terms, which implies a totally coordinated act. What am I missing?

If I had to guess… This was a planned false flag by to draw out those who would support a coup and/or were partial to subversion and to provide an excuse for Putin to both expand his powers by citing state emergency to help identify and purge all possible sister’s Dissidents Its the only explanation that makes sense given the leniency of the punishment handed out…not just to but also all Wagner contractors that supported the coup The latter being the most suspiciously illogical

It was either a total inside job in which Prighozin read a script OR Russia lured him into a padded trap with a plan to de-escalate by making compromises the top brass knew would work

CIA outplayed. Reminds me of the scene in Braveheart when Longshanks thinks the Irish will front line his troops against the Scots and William Wallace. Zero bid. Now he will be set up nicely in Belarus and can disrupt Ukraine from the North.

Maybe they conspired to draw in Ukraine with perceived weakness? Maybe it was a trap that Ukraine wasn’t lured into?

“Appear weak when you are strong”-Sun Tzu, The Art of War. Trump has played this one many times. Putin is intelligent and cunning. He just made a productive play.

The FBS, the successor the the KGB doesn’t mess around. Every family member of the Wagner army had a target in their back. It doesn’t matter what country you are from family trumps everything.

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I saw a comment on Twitter, remarking about all of the people who just 48 hours ago were authorities on construction of deep-sea submersibles and now have transubstantiated into expert Kremlinologists, “The fundamental problem is that they’re trying to make sense of what is happening in Russia. Things that happen in Russia rarely make sense.” This is why Churchill described Russia as “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” after the signing of the Nazi-Soviet pact in 1939. To the extent outsiders can figure out what is happening in Russia at all, it is usually only in retrospect, long after events that make the news. From 1917 through 1991 academic and “intelligence agency” Sovietologists and Kremlinologists collected untold billions in salaries reading tea leaves, gazing into crystal balls, and writing learned papers about industrial production and labour productivity, yet essentially none of them predicted the whole corrupt and dysfunctional Potemkin empire was going to collapse into a pile of dust, even a year before it happened. As far as I know, the only person who did predict the Soviet collapse was a French demographer who observed in 1976 that collapsing life expectancy was inconsistent with a triumphant superpower empire.

Indeed, that’s what has been coming to mind ever since the start of this episode. In the 2016 “48 hour” coup d’état attempt in The Turkey, which initially appeared to be a well-organised military coup right out of Luttwak’s playbook, quickly degenerated into a comic opera festival of bungling in which the coupsters failed to immobilise the targeted caudillo and control communication channels, leading to Erdoğan’s doing a live FaceTime interview with CNN while the coup leaders were claiming to have seized control. Erdoğan was not restrained from returning from holiday to the capital, shortly after which the coup sputtered out. This was followed by a broad and deep purge of the military and civil service which, by 2016-07-20, had resulted in the arrest or suspension of 45,000 military officers, police, judges, governors, and civil servants, including 15,000 teachers and every university dean in the country. One suspects these names were on a list in somebody’s drawer long before the curtain went up on the coup.

We’ll have to wait to see what the aftermath of the just concluded Russian comic opera will be. If there’s one thing that’s constant from Czarist Russia to the Soviet Union to Putin’s родина, it’s that they’re really good at purges.

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We can only dream!

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