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(319) Porrón bola

Updated: Jul 1, 2023



Prigozhin: before it had really begun, it was over—Prigozhin’s Putsch, for one moment it looked like Russia was about to enter civil war (but, no more). As it turns out what Prigozhin set out to do was what he did in the end—he set out to launch an old-fashioned peasant petition to the Tsar, “the good Tsar and the bad ministers”. To achieve this he marched the peasants—the Wagner fighters, the men who do the hard lumps in the Ukraine—towards Moscow. The bad ministers, Shoigu and Gerasimov, would depart.


For a time, it looked like Prigozhin, always emotional, had overstepped the bounds—what had been a revolt, a protest (a heavily armed protest) drifted into a coup. Prigozhin went that bit further, said Putin had to go too—not just the Tsar’s ministers but the Tsar himself. Yet it was not really a coup… for a coup everything was wrong—and so it turned out that in the end the petition was heard (via Belarus) and it was all over (the bad ministers, one of them at least, have departed—the peasants won, for once).


The short-term effect is bad for Russia—the grievances were legitimate, it seems, and nothing would change any other way; and yet to have open revolt in the middle of a war kills morale. The long-term effects may prove beneficial—perhaps the bad ministers really held things up. However, there’s one vital point: Prigozhin, despite his token “exile”, is Tsar now—he defied the state’s monopoly on violence, killed Russian soldiers and airman, and…was given a slap on the wrist; his men amnestied. So Wagner runs Russia now, Wagner has the monopoly on violence—Putin still has power, but only because Prigozhin stopped his march (showed mercy, in fact). It’s not officially acknowledged, but everyone knows that’s how it really is now—it’s just Prigozhin himself, as noted, wouldn’t enjoy being Tsar anyway (he’s happy not to push it too far); yet he is.

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