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Russia Abandons Charges Against Prigozhin and Participants in Brief Rebellion

by Ryan Lee
8 comments
armed rebellion

Russian authorities announced on Tuesday that they have terminated a criminal investigation into the armed rebellion led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a prominent mercenary chief, and all charges against him and the other individuals involved have been dropped.

According to the Federal Security Service (FSB), their investigation concluded that the individuals associated with the mutiny had ceased their activities aimed at committing the crime, leading to the decision not to pursue the case any further.

This development marks the latest twist in a series of astonishing events in recent days, which have posed the most significant threat to President Vladimir Putin’s hold on power since the war in Ukraine began 16 months ago.

In an unexpected turn, the Kremlin pledged over the weekend not to prosecute Prigozhin and his fighters after he halted the revolt on Saturday, despite Putin initially labeling them as traitors.

The charge of leading an armed mutiny carries a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years. Prigozhin evading prosecution stands in stark contrast to how the Kremlin has treated those involved in anti-government protests within Russia.

Numerous opposition figures in Russia have received lengthy prison terms and are currently serving time in penal colonies known for their harsh conditions.

As of Tuesday, the whereabouts of Prigozhin remain unknown. The Kremlin stated that he would be exiled to neighboring Belarus, but neither he nor the Belarusian authorities have confirmed this.

According to Belaruski Hajun, an independent Belarusian military monitoring project, a business jet reportedly used by Prigozhin landed near Minsk on Tuesday morning.

Prigozhin’s media team, representing the 62-year-old head of the private military contractor Wagner, did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, an ally of Putin’s who brokered a deal with Prigozhin to quell the uprising, did not address Prigozhin’s fate in a speech on Tuesday.

Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus with an iron fist for 29 years, suppressing dissent and relying on Russian subsidies and political support, portrayed the rebellion as the latest manifestation of a longstanding conflict between Prigozhin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Prigozhin has claimed that the revolt aimed to remove Shoigu, not Putin.

Lukashenko characterized the Wagner insurrection as a significant threat and placed Belarus’ armed forces on high alert during the mutiny.

Similar to Putin, Lukashenko framed the Ukraine war as an existential danger to Russia, stating, “If Russia collapses, we all will perish under the debris.”

In a nationally televised address on Monday night, Putin once again condemned the organizers of the rebellion as traitors who played into the hands of the Ukrainian government and its allies. Although critical of Prigozhin, Putin commended the work of the Wagner commanders.

This move was likely an attempt to retain their loyalty in the Russian effort in Ukraine, as Moscow requires trained and effective personnel to face the early stages of a Ukrainian counteroffensive, according to a Washington-based think tank.

The Institute for the Study of War also suggested that the rupture between Putin and Prigozhin is likely irreparable, and providing the Wagner chief and his loyalists with apparent safe haven in Belarus could be a trap.

The short-lived insurrection led by Prigozhin over the weekend has unsettled Russia’s leadership.

In his speeches, Putin aimed to project stability, criticizing the “organizers” of the uprising without explicitly naming Prigozhin. He also praised Russian unity in the face of the crisis, as well as the rank-and-file Wagner fighters for preventing the situation from descending into “major bloodshed.”

On Tuesday, Putin addressed soldiers and law enforcement officers in the Kremlin, once again praising them for averting “a civil war.” While reiterating that the army and the people did not support the mutiny, he avoided mentioning Prigozhin by name.

On Monday, Prigozhin defended his actions in a defiant audio statement. He taunted the Russian military but denied seeking to stage a coup against Putin.

In another display of authority, the Kremlin released footage of Putin’s meeting on Monday night with top security, law enforcement, and military officials, including Sergei Shoigu, whom Prigozhin had attempted to remove.

Putin expressed gratitude to his team for their work over the weekend, implicitly showing support for the embattled Shoigu. Prior to this, authorities had released videos of Shoigu reviewing troops in Ukraine.

The fate of Prigozhin’s mercenary force remains uncertain. In his speech, Putin offered the Wagner fighters the choice to come under the command of Russia’s Defense Ministry, leave the service, or go to Belarus.

Prigozhin mentioned on Monday, without providing further details, that the Belarusian leadership had proposed solutions that would allow Wagner to operate “within a legal jurisdiction.” However, the exact meaning of this statement remains unclear.


Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://bigbignews.net/russia-ukraine

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about armed rebellion

What was the outcome of the criminal investigation into the armed rebellion led by Yevgeny Prigozhin?

The Russian authorities announced that they have closed the criminal investigation and dropped all charges against Yevgeny Prigozhin and the other participants of the armed rebellion.

How does this development affect President Vladimir Putin’s grip on power?

The recent events, including the rebellion led by Prigozhin, have posed a significant threat to President Putin’s hold on power, particularly amidst the ongoing war in Ukraine. The dropping of charges against Prigozhin and others adds another twist to the situation.

How does this compare to the treatment of anti-government protestors in Russia?

The contrast is noticeable. While those involved in the armed rebellion had their charges dropped, many opposition figures in Russia have received long prison terms and are serving time in harsh penal colonies for their involvement in anti-government protests.

What is the significance of the involvement of Belarus in this situation?

Belarus, under the leadership of President Alexander Lukashenko, played a role in brokering a deal with Prigozhin to stop the uprising. This involvement of Belarus adds a layer of complexity to the situation and raises questions about the fate and whereabouts of Prigozhin.

How does Putin view the rebellion and its organizers?

Putin has consistently condemned the rebellion’s organizers as traitors who played into the hands of Ukraine’s government and its allies. However, he has also praised the work of Wagner commanders, likely in an effort to retain their loyalty in the ongoing Ukrainian conflict.

What are the potential implications of the dropping of charges and the rebellion?

The dropping of charges against Prigozhin and the participants, along with the fracture between Putin and Prigozhin, could have significant implications for the Russian leadership. It raises questions about the loyalty of private military contractors and the potential for further unrest or power struggles within the country.

More about armed rebellion

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8 comments

John123 June 27, 2023 - 3:41 pm

wow, russia droppd chargz against prigozhin n othrs! Putin must be shakin’ in his boots. rebellion in Ukraine got’em all rattled. power struggl is on, man!

Reply
Bookworm17 June 27, 2023 - 4:57 pm

so they jus let Prigozhin off the hook? wt abt all those anti-govt protestrs in Russia? they get prison, but he walks free? smh. unfair justice system.

Reply
GamingGeek87 June 27, 2023 - 9:42 pm

war in Ukraine causin’ turmoil in Russia. Putin’s hold on power is in jeoprdy. dropin’ charges against Prigozhin won’t help him much. things gettin’ heated!

Reply
GamingGeek87 June 28, 2023 - 12:04 am

war in Ukraine causin’ turmoil in Russia. Putin’s hold on power is in jeoprdy. dropin’ charges against Prigozhin won’t help him much. things gettin’ heated!

Reply
NewsAddict99 June 28, 2023 - 12:43 am

Lukashenko’s involvmnt in stoppin’ the uprising adds a twist. wonder where Prigozhin is hidin’ now? Belarus or somewhere else? this whole situation is wild!

Reply
NewsAddict99 June 28, 2023 - 1:02 am

Lukashenko’s involvmnt in stoppin’ the uprising adds a twist. wonder where Prigozhin is hidin’ now? Belarus or somewhere else? this whole situation is wild!

Reply
Bookworm17 June 28, 2023 - 5:35 am

so they jus let Prigozhin off the hook? wt abt all those anti-govt protestrs in Russia? they get prison, but he walks free? smh. unfair justice system.

Reply
John123 June 28, 2023 - 7:29 am

wow, russia droppd chargz against prigozhin n othrs! Putin must be shakin’ in his boots. rebellion in Ukraine got’em all rattled. power struggl is on, man!

Reply

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