News

Who Are Yevgeny Prigozhin And Wagner?

   DailyWire.com
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - 2023/06/24: One of the offices of the Wagner Group in Moscow. Media reports state that some of the group's offices in St. Petersburg and Moscow were raided. On June 23, Prigozhin, the group's chief, accused Russian government troops and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu of purposefully shelling his mercenaries on the frontline with Ukraine. Then, Prigozhin announced he was going to Moscow with his mercenaries to hold the culprits accountable. Russia's President Putin mobilized the Russian troops to put down what he called an "armed rebellion." As of 10pm Moscow time, Wagner Group's chief Yevgeniy Prigozhin said his troops marching toward Moscow would turn around. The announcement followed shortly after Belarus' President Lukashenko said in a press release that he negotiated a deal with Prigozhin to de-escalate tensions. On June 23, Prigozhin, the group's chief, accused Russian government troops and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu of purposefully shelling his mercenaries on the frontline with Ukraine. Then, Prigozhin announced he was going to Moscow with his mercenaries to hold the culprits accountable. Russia's President Putin mobilized the Russian troops to put down what he called an "armed rebellion." As of 10pm Moscow time, Wagner Group's chief Yevgeniy Prigozhin said his troops marching toward Moscow would turn around. The announcement followed shortly after Belarus' President Lukashenko said in a press release that he negotiated a deal with Prigozhin to de-escalate tensions.
Vlad Karkov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Yevgeny Prigozhin is the owner of Russia’s notorious Wagner paramilitary group, an organization that is designated as a Transnational Criminal Organization and is frequently accused of committing war crimes.

Prigozhin served nearly a decade in prison after being convicted of “assault, robbery, and fraud” in 1981, according to Insider.

After being released from prison, he made his living selling hot dogs on street corners and eventually started a catering business, where he eventually met Russian President Vladimir Putin — then a low-level government official.

His company, Concord Catering, in the mid-to-late 1990s started receiving contracts from the Russian government.

According to a Wall Street Journal documentary, the Russian government laundered money to Prigozhin through his catering company, which he eventually used to start Wagner — initially a small group of only a few hundred former Russian soldiers that were hired to do Russia’s bidding in Ukraine in 2014.

Having Wagner do Russia’s bidding gave the Russian government plausible deniability as the group engaged in dirty work.

Russian government contracts to Concord Catering have reportedly been estimated to be well into the billions of dollars.

An expert on Wagner told The Wall Street Journal that it is best to think of the group as a “state-backed paramilitary cartel.” The group is accused of massacring and raping civilians and exploiting natural resources in poor countries with dire security situations. The resources — commodities like gold, oil, and gas — go back to the Russian government.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE DAILY WIRE APP

The group operates in South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.

The Wall Street Journal said that it identified 64 companies that are linked to Wagner that are used as front companies to move money and assets. The report said that the Kremlin is connected to all of it.

Hundreds of Wagner troops faced off against U.S. forces in Syria during the Trump administration and were thoroughly decimated in a matter of minutes.

Prigozhin is also in charge of numerous other companies, including the Internet Research Agency, which was accused of interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

“We have interfered, we are interfering, and we will continue to interfere,” Prigozhin said the day before 2022’s midterm elections. “Carefully, accurately, surgically, and in our own way, as we know how to do.”

In Ukraine, the group has suffered heavy casualties over the last 16 months, losing tens of thousands of men.

The Russian government has allowed Wagner to recruit convicts out of prison to use as soldiers in the war; an estimated 40,000 convicts have fought in Ukraine.

The benefit of having Wagner soldiers engage in some of the most intense fighting in the war is that those losses don’t show up in reports the Russian military releases about the number of men they have lost, which helps them from a PR perspective.

Got a tip worth investigating?

Your information could be the missing piece to an important story. Submit your tip today and make a difference.

Submit Tip
Download Daily Wire Plus

Don't miss anything

Download our App

Stay up-to-date on the latest
news, podcasts, and more.

Download on the app storeGet it on Google Play
The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Who Are Yevgeny Prigozhin And Wagner?