The Death Of Pringles

23 June. 23 August. Kinda hard to miss the message. Whether it was a S-300 enema or something onboard, the top leadership of Wagner and the group responsible for their part of the “coup” are dead. Surovikin has been dismissed and may have been detained. There are some other rumblings that seem to suggest more is going on behind the scenes.

I do find the timing interesting, in that I would have either expected it sooner or around next June. Wagner was/is a key piece of operations in the Middle East and more importantly, Africa. The latter is extremely important to the Kremlin (resources and blocking Western counter-terrorism activities and influence) and many of the relationships with various countries were built on personal interactions and relationships with Utkin and Pringles.

The coup in Niger was not just Russian backed, but was backed and apparently assisted and encouraged by the Wagner Group. How much assistance and guarantees of future assistance were made by the men on the plane? What does their loss mean for the coup and efforts to overturn it?

The pivot of Wagner to Africa and the Middle East after the “coup” made a lot of sense. It put them where they could do the most good and it got them (mostly) out of the war with Ukraine. Which is why I figured any retribution would wait for a year or so, until certain goals were accomplished. Between that and internal Russian politics previously discussed, I thought it would be longer. Which suggests that something has changed in Africa in regards Wagner and Russian influence operations, and/or something has changed the political calculus in Moscow.

Pringles was a member of the “St. Petersburg Mafia” that took over Russia after the fall. Quick aside, if you aren’t familiar with the tension (sometimes warfare) between the Moscow faction/leadership and the St. Petersburg faction/leadership, it really is fascinating and goes back almost to the day of St. Petersburg’s founding. It still exists and is very much in play today. Despite all the media and PR, Pringles was not a senior member of the group and despite his friendship with Vladimir he was as close to being the lowest ranking member as possible. As someone put it on Twitter, he was a vassal to a vassal.

Unless I’m mistaken, he is also the first member of that mafia to experience the tender ministrations of 29155. Again, message. There are several layers to the message, this one being no one is safe. Toe the line, or else.

I’ve gotten the impression that the silent backers of the “coup” are still not all identified, though a lot of people are looking for them for a variety of reasons. I’ve also begun to suspect that some messages from Pringles to Vladimir may not have been passed along. I think he was genuinely surprised when Vladimir took it as an attack on him, rather than an effort to remove those who were misleading and botching the war on Ukraine per Pringles.

If he thought that his friendship with Vladimir, and the Kremlin need for Wagner, would save him and the others, he was mistaken and not paying attention. Once Vladimir feels someone has betrayed him, particularly in public, no amount of new information, apologies, etc. help. You are dead and quite often in ways as creatively nasty as possible.

There are unconfirmed reports that Pringles regular pilot was not onboard and may have been involved. Patsy? Also, it may be that none of the regular crew was onboard. If the crew was essentially a pickup from an FBO, they would be the only ones for which I would feel sorry.

There is more to come, and I expect 29155 to be busy in the days ahead as payback continues. There are some interesting fault lines in both the Russian Federation, and in the political structure around Vladimir, starting to show. The times may be about to get even more interesting for those in the Kremlin.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

6 thoughts on “The Death Of Pringles”

  1. Speaking from a position of extreme ignorance, I have a ridiculous question: is there any possibility that this really was an accident and not a Putin hit?

    1. Given that it is Russia, the land of the star-shattering oops (unofficial motto of Russia for centuries has been “I meant to do that.”) it is a possibility. I will say that even if it were, Vladimir will take credit for it for domestic political reasons. In this case, however, I think it a very remote possibility. Too many factors, including the video X/Twitter has censored, support it being a hit. I also considered the possibility of a ploy to let them assume new lives, but no way Pringles or Utkin could keep their heads down. Reasonably confident they are dead, and it was a hit.

  2. As noted over on the Spin, Strangeness and Charm blog, he was also on Hillary’s list:

    I know everyone’s blaming Putin, but don’t forget Hillary thought Prigozhin stole the 2016 election from her.

    — Unauthorized Narrative (@mgEyesOpen) August 23, 2023
    …so: “Prigozhin didn’t shoot himself down.”

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