According to Russia’s civil aviation authority, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the mercenary group Wagner Group, was reportedly a passenger aboard a jet that crashed north of Moscow. Yevgeny Prigozhin, who led the mercenary group Wagner and was formerly a low-profile businessman who benefited from his links to Russian president Vladimir Putin, shot into the public eye with Russia’s conflict in Ukraine. What you need know about Yevgeny Prigozhin is as follows:
1. The 62-year-old head of the Kremlin-backed Wagner Group ratcheted up months of harsh criticism of Russia’s war strategy by urging an armed insurrection to remove the government’s defense minister.
2. Prigozhin was instantly the target of a criminal investigation that the Russian security services launched and called for his arrest.
3. Prigozhin then implored Russians to join his “march to justice,” but riot police and the national guard stepped up security at crucial Moscow locations, including government offices and transportation hubs, to thwart the mercenary leader.
4. Prigozhin and Putin have a long history. They both were born in St. Petersburg, formerly Leningrad. Prigozhin was imprisoned in the closing years of the Soviet Union.
5. Subsequently, he ran a hot dog stand before opening up upscale eateries that attracted Vladimir Putin’s attention.
6. During his first term, the Russian president dined with Jacques Chirac, the president of France at the time. In an interview from 2011, Prigozhin stated, “Vladimir Putin saw how I built a business out of a kiosk, and he saw that I don’t mind serving the esteemed guests because they were my guests.”
7. His companies greatly grew to include catering and supplying school lunches.
8. In 2010, Putin aided Prigozhin in the launching of a factory that had been financed by a state bank with generous loans. For numerous years, he also managed the cooking for Kremlin events, earning him the moniker “Putin’s chef.”
9. The Wagner Group of Prigozhin has become essential to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
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