2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine (Part 3)

A rogue mercenary agrees to move to an evil ruler’s vassal state run by another aging dictator.

Is that what happens when the writers strike? Now, can the streaming services please cancel this show?


Yeah, it’s weird. How does Prigoszhin think he’s gonna survive? And what is Lukashenko gonna get out of this?


An heir, maybe?


He solved a serious problem.for Putin, so he’ll expect something in return.


Lukashenko probably just wants to reduce the likelihood of a nuclear war on Belarus’ doorstep.


Having the wackjob head of Wagner along with his praetorians ensconced in your country seems like the kind of favour Putin would rather poison you than pay you for. That’s some fuckin expensive quid pro quo, is that.


Total speculation: Something that isn’t obvious to us went wrong. He came to the conclusion that his coup is doomed and adjusted his expectations accordingly.


Or - he was paid off.


But usually if a coup is doomed, you still try anyway, because it’s not like calling it off partway is going to go any better for you. Not unless you have an immediate refuge beyond the reach of whatever you were trying to overthrow.


Prigozhin himself will go to Belarus. Perhaps he will be under house arrest in a mansion somewhere.

Wagner soldiers who did not take part in the rebellion will be offered army contracts. The ones who did take part will not be prosecuted. I imagine that Wagner will cease to exist.


Still gonna be some major fallout over all this though.


Seriously, this could be a lateral move for all three of them.

Prigozhin stated more than once he is not going against Putin. Putin keeps taps on him. Lukasheko gets better standing with Putin. Prigozhin gets in line with Putin again, but does not submit to the Russian military. Putin can still use him as a counterbalance to Shoigu. Lukasheko maybe can use him and Wagner against anyone threatening him from within his own apparat. I’ve indeed been serious above: both Putin and Lukasheko could even install Prigozhin as Lukasheko’s successor.

On the other hand, this could also be a major fuckup by all of them, independently or jointly. The unfolding dynamics of misinformation and misjudgement, leading to a collapsed order and a broken chain of command.

Neither of them is a Blofeld-style planning villain.

Also: can someone pick up the bits and pieces of information now which went under in this clusterfnord? I certainly can’t. What of importance happend elsewhere while we were staring at weird live ticker coverage?


My take ist that Belarus gets Wagner as a defense against Russia with Lukashenko being Lukashenko, going through motions and protecting his own ass.

Prigozhin gets more room to breathe than he had before, and by backing down now he’s telling Putin, "You think you can fuck with me? I just proved I can fuck you over without breaking a sweat, now back off.* And providing security for Belarus against scary NATO troops is a cushy job, most likely with a nice fat payoff.

Mobster 101, really.


One wonders how ‘security guarantees’ were arranged when it’s somewhere between an open secret and a point of pride that deferred teatime can happen years after the inciting incident.

Makes me wonder if people are working on a relatively short time horizon just because they don’t have a choice; or if, say, Putin was willing to accept a deal he wouldn’t have taken if he were a decade younger because he really wants to ram through his grand legacy project in the immediate term and doesn’t expect to have a long term regardless.


One factor is that almost all the Russian army’s combat power is deployed in Ukraine, so Wagner actually outnumbers the Russian army in Russia. To defeat Wagner, Putin would have to start bringing soldiers back from Ukraine, which would make it easier for Ukraine to win back territory.



Fascinating essay by analyst @baunov, who argues that military failures in Ukraine have turbo-charged anti-elite sentiment inside Russia, fueling demands for the USSR 3.0, forcing Putin into a vulnerable position of defending the elites & market economy.

Prigozhin was allowed to trash the elite for so long because of his usefulness on the battlefield and as a frightening reminder to the elites what awaits them without Putin. But Prigozhin had his own plans, it turns out.

All the hyper repressions rolled out since Feb. 2022 have actually primed Russians for a national project more aligned with Prigozhin’s extreme militarism than Putin’s mix, which still finds room for the old elites and market economics.

The breaking point for Prigozhin was Putin’s orders on June 13 to dissolve Wagner Group into the army by subordinating volunteer units to the Defense Ministry. @RALee85 and others have argued this persuasively too.

Baunov describes Prigozhin’s evolving role as Kremlin outsourced dirty worker to invasion figure to public figure scoring political successes. An erstwhile goal to become Putin’s heir led him to target Shoigu, who then enjoyed that spot.

Baunov says that Prigozhin’s goal after starting the armed insurrection became to win emergency powers from Putin without formally removing him from office: to replace him, not merely displace him (Putin is too sacred actually to remove).

Tis a story as old as time: hardened, emboldened men returned home from the front to find what they feel is an ungrateful nation.

Baunov says Prigozhin’s long interview on the eve of the insurrection where he trashed the invasion’s planning and rationale was actually an offer to Putin to “march” with him and pin it all on Shoigu and other elites. Putin didn’t take the deal.

What happens now w Russia’s War Party is unclear. Prigozhin decided to convert his battlefield credibility into political clout w/o waiting for the war to end, knowing how the Kremlin likes to bump off its wartime assets once they’re no longer needed. Monopoly on violence, RIP.


4h ago06.54 BST

In an analysis for the Atlantic published just before Prigozhin called off his mutiny, prominent US-Polish historian Anne Applebaum asks whether Putin could be “facing his Czar Nicholas II moment?”

“In a slow, unfocused sort of way, Russia is sliding into what can only be described as a civil war,” she writes.

If you are surprised, maybe you shouldn’t be. For months – years, really –Putin has blamed all of his country’s troubles on outsiders: America, Europe, Nato … Now he is facing a movement that lives according to the true values of the modern Russian military, and indeed of modern Russia.

Prigozhin is cynical, brutal, and violent. He and his men are motivated by money and self-interest. They are angry at the corruption of the top brass, the bad equipment provided to them, the incredible number of lives wasted. They aren’t Christian, and they don’t care about Peter the Great.

She notes that in 1917, it was Russian soldiers who came home angry from World War I to launch the Russian revolution.

Putin alluded to that moment in his brief television appearance this morning … What he did not mention was that up until the moment he left power, Czar Nicholas II was having tea with his wife, writing banal notes in his diary, and imagining that the ordinary Russian peasants loved him and would always take his side.

He was wrong.


That helicopter’s struggles to take off b/c all the fucking GOLD on board became instantly iconic.


Indeed - what will the wagner bastards around the world get up to? Shudder to think.