Putin's humiliation: what the Western media wrote about the "coup" in Russia
After the Wagner PMC's armed mutiny in Russia, which lasted only a day and ended in the evening of June 24 with agreements between the Kremlin and PMC owner Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Sunday editions of most of the Western media paid attention to this event. Front pages of reputable publications contain references to the "civil war" in Russia, which ended without ever really starting.
The majority of publications agree that regardless of the length and effectiveness of the "rebellion", it was a personal humiliation for the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and shook the position of the Putin regime. The reactions of the Western media and the front pages of the publications have been collected in Sharter97.
The Sunday Express
The front page of Britain's The Sunday Express tells readers that Russia miraculously escaped civil war the night before.
"Russia was on the brink of civil war last night after the disgraced head of a private military company launched an uprising," the paper notes.
The Sunday Telegraph
The Sunday Telegraph's front page focuses on how the Wagnerites have halted the march on Moscow as a result of agreements between Prigozhin and Putin. The paper notes that the Russian president has managed to avoid a repeat of the tumultuous events of 1917, which led to the collapse of the then Russian state, but his position has been "seriously weakened".
It also describes how Rostov-on-Don, the city which was first taken over by the Wagnerites on the morning of June 24, woke up "at the forefront of a historic moment.
The Sun concentrated on an analysis of the consequences of Prigozhin's rebellion for Putin. According to this media outlet's version, the Russian president "experienced humiliation" from mercenaries close to Moscow and "clung to power" all night long.
The Sunday Times
Putin's humiliation of the Wagner PMC mercenaries was the central leitmotif of The Sunday Times publication. The authors of the piece stressed that although Prigozhin was exiled to Belarus, he managed to escape punishment.
The Observer reports on Prigozhin's decision to return convoys from Moscow, "to avoid bloodshed" and on negotiations involving Lukashenko. "Rebellion of Wagner group has weakened Putin as much as possible", says one of the headlines. The article notes, however, that the ominous image the Russian president has created for himself domestically "has already faded and is quickly dissipating".
The Mail has shared comments from its British security sources who suggest that Putin may have bribed Prigozhin to get him out of Russia.
The Sunday Mirror
The Sunday Mirror reassures that Putin is not only "on edge" but also "terrified" of an "armed mercenary uprising".
The Daily Star tabloid called Putin and Prigozhin equally "stupid" and hinted that Russia "will soon have a new president".
The Washington Post
The Washington Post stressed that the coup in Russia "did not last long". It also published a map of the route of the "rebels" from Rostov-on-Don to the district centre of Yelets in the Lipetsk Region, where the mercenaries received orders from Prigozhin to stop the attack on Moscow and turn back their columns.
French newspaper Le Parisien called the attempted coup in Russia "an embarrassment".
At the same time, Bild wondered what a "rebellion against Putin" could mean for Germany.
Tagesspiel's field of vision was the aspect of the power struggle in the Russian Federation.
"Dramatic power struggle in Russia. Wagner soldiers go to Moscow", reads the headline.
Corriere della Sera
The Italian edition of Corriere della Sera spoke of a "challenge to Putin" and "a Russia that has plunged into chaos". It too mentions that the events of 24 June affected the credibility of the Kremlin host.
"The Wagnerians were a few hours away from Moscow, but with Lukashenko's mediation the advance was blocked. The leader of the insurgency will go to Belarus, the militants involved will not be tried. But the image of the leader has changed forever," the publication says.
La Repubblica talked about the "weakness of Czar Putin" and how Russia had been teetering on the brink of civil war all day.
Sunday's issue of La Stampa was probably sent to print before the impetuous "denouement", with Lukashenko, Prigozhin and Peskov announcing a settlement. The front page of the publication announces a "revolution in Russia" and a "point of no return for Putin" and draws a parallel with 1917.
The Spanish edition of El Mundo stated that the Wagner rebellion had "shaken Putin's power". It suggested that Prigozhin might have been planning something like Operation "Valkyrie", in which a group of German officers made a failed attempt to kill Adolf Hitler during World War II.
As a reminder, the day before Yevgeny Prigozhin and his mercenaries from the Wagner mercenary group "captured" Rostov in the morning, passed the Voronezh region and reached Yelets in the Lipetsk region. There the march to Moscow proclaimed by "Putin's cook" was halted: Prigozhin announced the return of the mercenaries to the "field headquarters" ostensibly because they did not want "to spill Russian blood". The columns turned back, and late in the evening the "Wagnerians" led by Prigozhin folded their military equipment and left Rostov.
Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov explained that agreements had been reached with the mercenaries, under which the criminal case against Prigozhin would be closed and he would go to Belarus.
However, statements about "mutually beneficial agreements" and "avoiding bloodshed" look a bit strange against the background of reports that the Wagnerians destroyed an aircraft and six helicopters with crews within a day. A total of at least 13 Russian Air Force pilots were eliminated. It also became known that there were ten Russian servicemen on the plane.