Wagner Mutiny: What Is to Expect?
Yevgeniy Prigozhin with two Russian generals: Yevkurov and Alexeyev, in Rostov, after Wagner PMC seized the Russian Military HQ in the city. Screenshot from Wagner video.
It’s too early to have great certainty about the actual state of the Wagner Mutiny. But here’s my initial assessment.
Things are moving fast. It’s difficult to establish with any certainty what’s actually going on in many of the places. Lots of conflicting information, rumours, and confusion out there.
Putin’s speech this morning directing the Army and the State’s security services to destroy the Wagner PMC, and Wagner PMC’s response, raises this to a much higher level of potential violence, perhaps even to a civil war. It remains to be seen if the Army will actually follow those orders.
Wagner PMC’s seizure/occupation of Rostov and Vornezh potentially gives them plenty of what’s needed for a sustained fight. This could pick up momentum of course, depending on the really big question: what will the Military do? Will they respond to Putin’s orders, will they obey anything from MoD or General Staff? Or will they either switch sides or stay on the sidelines?
I imagine a lot of those Soldiers currently deployed in Ukraine will be thinking long and hard about how enthusiastic they should be fighting against Ukrainians in a situation that must look increasingly clear to them that it is for a losing cause. If the High Command appears to waver or be vulnerable, they will question their own motivation and survival and sense of purpose for the War. No Soldier wants to die in a war that he thinks might already be lost or to be killed/terribly wounded when it’s almost over.
This Mutiny reveals the terrible state of the War for Russia, and it’ll soon be increasingly apparent to Russian civilians how badly things are really going, how many Soldiers have actually been lost, etc.
I see various unconfirmed reports of some of the elites leaving, including unconfirmed reports about Lukashenka’s family being flown out. He will rightly be concerned about his own opposition seeing opportunity.
[Ramzan] Kadyrov will have to choose a side quickly.
The Chinese will be concerned. I believe they prefer status quo, no disruption to their cheap Russian gas, etc.
I expect Ukraine will watch closely, exploit where they can, invite Russian troops to leave vs dying in a war that Russia has now clearly lost. So the psyops/info war will be particularly important now.
(This comment was recieved on Saturday, June 24th, and published as is. Ben Hodges a retired United States Army officer who served as commanding general, United States Army Europe. He has been Senior Advisor to Human Rights First since June 2022 and also serves as NATO Senior Mentor for Logistics. He previously held the Pershing Chair in Strategic Studies at the Center for European Policy Analysis.)