For Putin and Russia, the Wagner Group Could Be a Recipe for Disaster

For Putin and Russia, the Wagner Group Could Be a Recipe for Disaster
Yevgeny Prigozhin, now the head of the Wagner Group, serves food to Vladimir Putin, then serving as Russia’s prime minister, during dinner at Prigozhin’s restaurant outside Moscow, Russia, Nov. 11, 2011 (AP photo by Misha Japaridze).

Historical comparisons with contemporary events are always risky, particularly with regard to warfare. But two historical patterns in the use of mercenaries in Europe can provide insights into the role that private military contractors like the Wagner Group play within the Russian political system, and how that might evolve over time.

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