ISW predicted Wagner future after Prigozhin's death and explained Lukashenko's silence
The Russian Wagner private military company will probably cease to exist as a quasi-independent parallel military structure. This is because of the deaths of its head Yevgeny Prigozhin and founder Dmitry Utkin, who crashed near Tver on August 23.
This assumption was made by analysts of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). They also pointed out why the Belarusan dictator Alexander Lukashenko, who two months ago "stopped" the armed march of the Wagner group on Moscow and sheltered the mercenaries in his country, is still silent about the death of "Putin's cook."
"The Wagner group will likely no longer exist as a quasi-independent parallel military structure after the almost certain assassination by Russian President Vladimir Putin of PMC financier Yevgeny Prigozhin and founder Dmitry Utkin, as reported by Valery Chekalov, head of Wagner's logistics and security service on August 23," the summary said.
Analysts say the PMC's central leadership is undermining its ability to reverse the effects of a campaign by the Kremlin and the Russian Defense Ministry to weaken, subdue and destroy the organization after the June 24 armed uprising.
The Russian Defense Ministry has reportedly created separate private military companies that recruit current and former Wagner soldiers to take control of Wagner's operations abroad. Russian sources claimed that the Kremlin refused to pay the Belarusan government for sending mercenaries to Belarus and that financial problems had already led to a reduction in payments, allegedly forcing the Wagner members to resign.
Satellite images from August 1 and 23 show that Wagner PMC dismantled nearly a third of the tents at its camp in Tsel (Asipovichy District, RB) installed the previous month.
"This suggests that attempts to weaken Wagner may have led to a noticeable flight of its mercenaries from the contingent in Belarus." However, some bloggers have refuted claims that the militants are dismantling the camp in Tsel," ISW pointed out.
On August 23, the National Resistance Center of Ukraine reported that an unspecified number of Wagner soldiers in Belarus camps had begun preparations to return to Russia after confirmation of Prigozhin's death in a plane crash that day.
Experts say the central leadership of the Wagner PMC brought it to the "peak of its independence" during the offensive in Ukraine's Bakhmut and has been trying to maintain some semblance of that independence since its uprising in Russia in June this year.
"The elimination of this central leadership would likely end any remaining means for Wagner to operate independently of the Russian defense ministry. It remains unclear whether the Kremlin intends to dissolve the PMC completely or reconstitute it as a much smaller organization fully subordinate to the Russian Defense Ministry. The third option of the restoration of Wagner as a quasi-independent organization under a new commander loyal to the Kremlin is possible, but unlikely," ISW suggested.
They also mentioned the strange silence on Prigozhin's death on the part of the self-proclaimed leader of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. Analysts do not rule out that their agreement of June 24 was most likely invalidated because of the destruction of the plane with the Wagner PMC leadership on board. Therefore, the Belarussian dictator will continue to remain silent so as not to provoke his Russian counterpart Putin and further jeopardize his already vulnerable position.
"Considering Lukashenko's actions in direct talks with Prigozhin in June and further bragging about the role he played, he has embarrassed Putin quite badly. Prigozhin's assassination can be a possible cause of Lukashenko's both sharp reduction in his negotiating space with the Kremlin and an implicit threat against his continued attempts to resist efforts to integrate the Union State," ISW explained.
As reported by OBOZREVATEL, BBC earlier pointed out the "nuance" with the death of the head of the Wagner PMC. They emphasized that Prigozhin was already "dead" even after the march on Moscow and now partially repeated the fate of other opponents of Putin.