Putin’s henchman Prigozhin reforms Wagner PMC. And Russians exult because of it

Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of Russia's Wagner mercenary force, speaks in Bakhmut, Ukraine in this still image from an undated video released on March 3, 2023. Concord Press Service/via REUTERS

Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin announced the “reformatting” of his private military company (“Wagner”) into an army with an ideology “for justice”. He stated this in an interview on his “News Service” website. According to Prigozhin, he wants to create an army that can completely independently confront Russia’s “security threats”.

Recently, Prigozhin began to recruit people in the regions of Russia because his activities began to be severely restricted. Some of the population are likely to join because many regions are experiencing economic recession and unemployment.

Such actions and statements of the owner of one of the most capable formations of the Russian armed forces are dangerous for Ukraine. At the same time, it indicates a deepening split in the military and political vision of Russia’s future between Prigozhin and the regular army. This statement directly undermines the Russian regime’s monopoly on violence and is a marker of another centrifugal process.

Reminder: earlier, PMC “Wagner” was actively involved in hostilities as an instrument of Russia’s foreign policy in Ukraine, Syria, and Africa.

Here are some reactions to this news from «ordinary Russians»:

“It isn’t a time for discussions about a state-non-state military organization. There is no time for this. Supply Vanger PMC with all the necessary ammunition. The help of the army in the fight against the Ukronazis to achieve a common goal is invaluable”.

“It’s PMC, and it’s fighting above all. You only hear that the PMC liberated one settlement after another. Therefore, if they are fighting for the country, then the country should help them with the munitions”.

“I don’t want the Wagner PMC to fight under the Ministry of Defense management… But I would like our army to fight like the Wagner PMC… Maybe Shoigu and Gerasimov could be replaced by Prigozhin”.

“I respect PMC Wagner, it’s the real army! Not like Shoigu with the 2nd army in the world! Russia is strong because it has the Wagner PMC! Mercenaries are stronger than the army, it’s super!”

“Let Prigozhin be the president of Russia. Putin’s balls will never grow”.  

“So don’t be surprised when Prigozhin would actually run for president not only in Ukraine, as he joked, but also in Russia”.