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On a military coup in Russia by Wagner Group

Voices from Russia, 24 June 2023

The ICOR received the following statement from Russia:


Dear comrades,

The situation is unclear for the moment and is changing rapidly, but we will outline key points we would like to communicate for the international communist movement.

Yevgeniy Prigozhin who is presumably a head of Wagner Group is a former criminal turned businessman with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Wagner Group took part in dubious operations in Africa and recently in Russian-Ukrainian war where it played in important role especially in battle for Bakhmut. Prigozhin always complained about lack of support from Russian Ministry for Defense (despite being PMC, Wagner Group received ammunition from the army).

Today Prigozhin openly mutinied and announced march on Moscow to capture minister for defense Sergey Shoygu and head of General Staff Valeriy Gerasimov. Prigozhin never said anything about Putin. Prigozhin accused Shoygu and Gerasimov of corruption and ineffective command. It is important to note that despite certain claims from Prigozhin (he mentioned that it was a lie that Ukraine and NATO were going to attack Russia), he is not anti-war or even anti-government. Prigozhin wants to continue the war which he thinks he can wage more effectively than the bureaucratic army command.

For now, Wagner Group moves freely in southern Russia, it seems to control Rostov-on-Don which is its base of operations and Voronezh. The army is not openly engaging Wagner Group yet; some generals tried to talk sense into Prigozhin, but without success. Although Wagner Group is relatively small, around 25 000 militants, they are battle-hardened and concentrated in large cities where fighting with them will endanger civilian population and infrastructure.

There are three different scenarios of what will happen: 1) Prigozhin will surrender and some compromise will be found, Putin will make some concessions to him, 2) Prigozhin will be crushed and there will be many civilian casualties, 3) Prigozhin will come to power and the Russian regime will become even more reactionary.

The Russian people remained mostly neutral in this confrontation. The reaction of people on the streets of Rostov is clear: you (Wagner) will destroy our city, get out of here.

The mutiny of Wagner Group is a sign of weakening of Putin regime and the beginning of its internal crisis, even if Putin will resolve the current conflict. The real solution is not in continuing the war which becomes even more senseless, but in peace.

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