Wagner financier Prigozhin becoming political force in Russia – ISW

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In their assessment, the Institute for Study of War (ISW) notes that Wagner financier Yevgeny Prigozhin is establishing himself as a political force, using his popular status and his affiliation with the Wagner PMC to critique his opponents within elite circles and to institutionalize his own authority.

Despite denying that he intends to go into politics, Prigozhin is establishing himself as a political force, using his popular status and his affiliation with Wagner to critique his opponents within elite circles and to institutionalize his own authority, ISW writes.

“Prigozhin criticized Russian “oligarchs” and “elites” on October 31 for living in a “state of comfort” and preventing the full mobilization of Russian society: “until [elites’] children go to war, the full mobilization of the country will not happen.”

Prigozhin also announced the creation of a “PMC Wagner Center” in St. Petersburg on October 31, which he said is scheduled to open on November 4.

Prigozhin described the center as “a complex of buildings in which there are places for free accommodation of inventors, designers, IT specialists, experimental production, and start-up spaces” with the intention of creating a “comfortable environment for generating new ideas in order to increase the defense capability of Russia, including information.”

Prigozhin noted that he did not inform the local St. Petersburg administration of the center’s creation because the local government is not a “sufficiently representative structure to interfere with the work of the PMC Wagner Center.”

Prigozhin challenged local government officials who have problems with his center to take them up in court and suggested that he will establish new branches if the St. Petersburg branch is successful.

Private military companies like Wagner are illegal per the Russian constitution,” ISW reported.

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