President Vladimir Putin has taken a decisive step in addressing the aftermath of a tragic incident that unfolded within the private military group Wagner. It is believed that a plane crash, which claimed the life of the group’s chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin, prompted this swift action. However, there seems to be a cloud of uncertainty surrounding the circumstances leading up to Prigozhin’s demise, as the Kremlin has refrained from categorically confirming his death. Instead, they have expressed the need to await the results of the examination carried out on the bodies of those involved in the accident.
According to the Russian Civil Aviation Authority, Prigozhin was aboard the ill-fated private plane that succumbed to devastation on Wednesday evening in the vicinity of Moscow. Tragically, there were no survivors. Interestingly, this incident occurred just two months after Prigozhin spearheaded a rebellion against the Russian army leadership.
President Putin, in response to this unfortunate event, extended his heartfelt condolences to the grieving families, speaking of Prigozhin in the past tense. He acknowledged that “preliminary information” suggests the demise of both Prigozhin and his top associates within Wagner, while also praising the late chief. However, Putin did not shy away from highlighting that Prigozhin had made a few “grave mistakes” during his tenure.
In a bid to exert greater control over private military groups such as Wagner, President Putin has issued a decree ordering its fighters and other contractors to unequivocally vow allegiance to the Russian state. This decree, readily accessible on the official Kremlin website, pertains not only to individuals conducting missions for the army but also to those supporting what Moscow terms as “special military operations” in Ukraine. By mandating this oath of allegiance, Putin aims to solidify the state’s authority over these groups.
It is noteworthy that the decree outlines the oath as a means to establish the spiritual and moral foundations necessary to defend Russia. The preamble of the oath emphasizes a solemn commitment to strictly adhere to orders from commanders and senior leaders—an integral aspect of maintaining discipline within the armed forces and affiliated entities.
President Putin’s decisive actions reflect his determination to bring private military groups further under state control. The events surrounding the tragic plane crash and Prigozhin’s untimely demise have provided an opportunity for the Russian government to assert its authority and ensure the utmost loyalty and obedience from those involved in such operations.