For Putin and Russia, Wagner’s Outspoken Boss Is Becoming a Problem

For Putin and Russia, Wagner’s Outspoken Boss Is Becoming a Problem
Yevgeny Prigozhin attends the funeral of a Wagner group fighter who died in Ukraine, in St. Petersburg, Russia, Dec. 24, 2022 (Kommersant/Sipa photo by Aleksey Smagin via AP Images).

Russian President Vladimir Putin has worked diligently to thwart any threat to his rule from liberal critics. Journalists disappear. Political challengers are imprisoned or poisoned—or both. And anyone who shows any sign of disloyalty can meet with a mysteriously tragic demise. Intimidation and exile have cleared Putin’s left flank. His more significant domestic troubles lie elsewhere.

The real threat to Putin’s hold on power, and to the cohesion of the Russian state, emanates from the right. In particular, it comes from those who not only support Putin’s war against Ukraine, but want to see it fought more forcefully, and who are now losing patience with the hapless performance of Russia’s military.

Among Putin’s far-right critics, a new constellation of forces is taking shape, one that is heavily armed, active and outspoken: players with their own battle-hardened militias.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review