Premieres Tonight at 8pm ET
The decade's most triggering comedy
Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin was reportedly killed when a private jet crashed a short distance outside Moscow on Wednesday. Russian authorities confirmed that all ten passengers — including Prigozhin — had perished in the crash.
But the reported safe landing of a second jet linked to the Wagner Group — the Russian paramilitary organization Prigozhin led in revolt against Putin just weeks earlier — sparked rumors that the group’s former chief might have faked his own death.
Shortly after the Crash in the Tver Region, a 2nd Business Jet owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin that was heading along a similar Route from St. Petersburg landed in Moscow. pic.twitter.com/Exl760OeAo
— OSINTdefender (@sentdefender) August 23, 2023
The Embraer ERJ-135BJ Legacy 650 landed at Ostafyevo airport in St. Petersburg around the same time the other plane crashed, and conspiracy theorists soon began to wonder whether Prigozhin — who has faked his own death at least once in the past and knew that the Kremlin considered him a marked man — had pulled a last-minute switch.
Prigozhin, 62, was rumored to be in mortal danger — likely on a direct order from Russian President Vladimir Putin — shortly after the failed coup attempt and after Putin declared that all charges against the paramilitary leader had been dropped.
A report from CNN on Thursday detailed some of the background on Prigozhin’s history, explaining why so many were ready to believe that he had not been aboard the plane that crashed the day before.
The former Wagner Group leader often employed elaborate disguises and had several passports and identification documents at his disposal. He had also reportedly previously employed at least one body double.
Adding fuel to the fire, Russian propagandist Vladimir Solovyov reportedly accused Ukrainians and their allies of “spreading a fake message about the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin” in the hours after the crash.
Also worth mentioning is that Prigozhin “died” once before — in another plane crash, no less — only to appear three days later. The plane crash in question took place in Congo in 2019.
Kyiv-based journalist John Sweeney mentioned Prigozhin’s history on “Good Morning Britain” on Thursday, saying, “Prigozhin has got [a] previous for this. In 2019, he was supposed to be on a plane in the Congo. It crashed, and it turned out he wasn’t on the plane, so you have to worry a little about this. He’s kind of like a vampire. Are we really sure he’s dead?”