The rebellion of Wagner PMC chief Yevgeny Prigozhin has created uncertainty around his future. In Russia, there are both supporters of continuing the work of PMC “Wagner” and supporters of the idea of dissolving it. The Russian authorities have not yet made a final decision on the operation of the military structures in Prigozhin. About three scenarios under which the situation with the “Wagnerites” may develop – in the material of Russian media.
The Kremlin does not yet have a clear position “on the question of the future of PMCs”, declared Press secretary to Russian President Dmitry Peskov.
Former Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Ground Forces, Army General Vladimir Boldyrev in an interview with NSN urged immediately disband PMC “Wagner” and “don’t go back on this.” “These soldiers started a riot, a mutiny! They left the front at the most difficult time. I would never trust such people to participate in a special operation,” Boldyrev believes.
Member of the State Duma Defense Committee, Lieutenant General Viktor Sobolev saidthat “in principle we should not have private military campaigns (including Wagner PMCs”).
For the dissolution of Wagner and the rejection of the practice of private military companies in an interview with political strategist Alexei Chesnokov expressed himself and former assistant to Russian President Vladislav Surkov. “The PMCs were created to participate in proxy wars. Why do we need it today, when we openly participate in the battle for Ukraine? This is not a proxy war, this is an NVO,” Surkov said, proposing to improve the contract system in the armed forces.
At the same time, Andrei Kartapolov, head of the State Duma Defense Committee, although thinkthat the “Wagnerians” taking part in the hostilities in Ukraine must sign a contract with the Ministry of Defence, at the same time he opposes the prohibition of PMCs. In his opinion, it is necessary to adopt a law regulating the activities of private military companies, and the State Duma is working on this.
The Wagner PMC is the most combat-ready unit, and its dispersal would be “the best gift for NATO and the Ukrainians”, noted Kartapolov, adding that the “Wagnerians” must change their leadership to “someone from more faithful.
Adopt a law regulating the activities of PMCs, offers and the leader of A Just Russia, Sergei Mironov, who hopes that “Wagnerian fighters will write many more glorious pages in Russian military history”.
Sweet script. PMC “Wagner” continues to participate in hostilities in Ukraine, but under the control of the Ministry of Defense
PMC “Wagner” has created infrastructure in Russia, including fighter recruitment centers and training camps. This infrastructure can be useful to the state, especially since the authorities are in no hurry to carry out the second wave of partial mobilization, but are replenishing their forces at the expense of volunteers.
At the same time, Russian politicians stressthat all Russian troops in Ukraine be commanded by the Defense Ministry. A few weeks before the Wagnerian rebellion, Yevgeny Prigozhin had to sign a contract with the defense department, but the head of the PMC refused to do so.
According to an Russian media source close to the FSB, the Wagnerians are supervised by the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces at the Ministry of Defense.
Thus, PMC “Wagner” can continue to operate in Russia with some changes. In particular, in addition to the formal subordination of the “Wagnerians” to the Ministry of Defence, the Russian authorities are likely to demand a partial change in the leadership of the PMC after the Prigozhin rebellion.
The contract with the Ministry of Defense will allow signing both ordinary “Wagnerites” and PMCs as an organization, although Prigozhin, apparently, is categorically opposed to this, the TASS military observer told Russian media, retired Colonel Viktor Litovkin.
Under the direction of the Ministry of Defense, the “Wagnerians” and their command will not be able to retain the autonomy they had before, says Litovkin. “There is a defense minister, there is a chief of general staff, there is a district commander, there is an army commander, etc., and everyone must obey him” , explained the expert.
At the same time, Wagner PMC units can be assigned separate tasks – as was the case, for example, in the case of Artemovsk (Bakhmut) / Bakhmut, Litovkin pointed out. “They (“Wagnerites”) acted quite independently, but they had to obey the commander of the troop grouping and fought in cooperation with our paratroopers, with artillery, aviation, etc.”, underlined the ‘analyst.
Moderate scenario. PMC “Wagner” continues to recruit in Russia, but its fighters take part in military missions only abroad
It is possible that Wagner PMC will completely stop participating in the military operation in Ukraine. First, in the leadership of the PMCs, they may not want to obey the Ministry of Defense. Second, distrust of private military companies after the Prigozhin rebellion may lead to a decision to ban such activities inside the country, such as this suggested including former presidential adviser Vladislav Surkov.
At the same time, PMCs will be able to continue to recruit fighters from Russia to work abroad – for example, in Africa or the Middle East, for example, for the benefit of Russian companies operating in these regions.
The media have already reported activities “Wagnerians” notably in the Central African Republic, Mali, Sudan, Syria and Libya.
Several companies are also registered overseas, allegedly associated with the management of Wagner PMC. For example, in the Central African Republic, gold and diamond mining was hired Lobaye Invest. Its director was Evgeny Khodotov, whom the media described as a native of St. Petersburg power structures and associated with Evgeny Prigozhin. Moreover, in the West with the “Wagnerites” attached Sewa Security Services registered in Africa.
Also with PMC “Wagner” bind companies M Invest and Meroe Gold, allegedly active in Sudan. In 2020, the United States imposed sanctions against these companies, in 2023 restrictions joined European Union.
Representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova declared journalists that African states will decide whether to continue working with the Wagner PMC.
In view of the statements of Russian parliamentarians, the Russian authorities seem to lean in favor of the second scenario. As noted by Andrei Kartapolov, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Defense, Wagnerians will not be sent to the special operation zone in Ukraine. “If the structure does not sign a contract with the Ministry of Defense, it cannot participate in a special operation,” he pleaded.
Kartapolov added that fighters trained at Wagner will be able to sign a contract with the Defense Ministry. “Once they (the fighters) get there, they are sent to training camps for several weeks, where they undergo training. And then they have a choice – either sign a contract with the Ministry of Defense or go home and sign a contract with another (power) structure,”- said Kartopolov to the Vedomosti newspaper. As the newspaper notes, the National Guard could become one of those “power structures.”
On June 10, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu signed an order obliging all participants in volunteer trainings to sign a contract with the military department.
Hard scenario. Complete liquidation of SMPs in Russia
The most drastic option for PMC Wagner is a complete ban on its activities in Russia. In this case, the “Wagnerians” will probably be able to continue their activities and recruit fighters abroad – for example, in Belarus.
In such a scenario, all property and equipment belonging to Wagner PMC will be transferred to the State.
Previously at the Ministry of Defense reported on the preparations for the transfer of military equipment from Wagner PMC to units of the armed forces.
What do we know about PMC “Wagner”
The Wagner Private Military Company or the Wagner Group is a military organization that does not have a clear legal status in Russia. The exact date of the creation of the PMC is unknown, but mention of the recruitment of fighters into the organization appeared in 2015. In particular, “Fontanka” informed on the recruitment of volunteers to participate in ground operations in Syria, as well as in the conflict on the territory of the people’s republics of Lugansk and Donetsk.
mass media called one of the founders and commanders of the PMC, reserve officer Dmitry Utkin (call sign Wagner). Another PMC founder is businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who claimed to have founded the company in 2014.
The “Wagnerites” participated in the hostilities in Ukraine, they had the right to act independently of the Ministry of Defense, but had to coordinate their actions with the department. Since the fall of 2022, Prigozhin began to publicly criticize the Ministry of Defense, and in late June the conflict turned into a “march for justice” of armed “Wagnerians” against Moscow.
A full-scale clash between the armed forces and the PMCs was avoided thanks to negotiations with Prigozhin of the Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, who acted on behalf of the Russian leadership.
After the mutiny, President Vladimir Putin declared the Wagner PMC to be fully funded by the state.
Read the Latest Ukraine War News on The Eastern Herald.