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Feb 11 16 tweets 4 min read
1/ Wagner Group head Yevgeny Prigozhin, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and recently demoted General Sergey Surovikin have been defeated in a bid to push out Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, according to a prominent Russian dissident. ⬇️
2/ According to Vladimir Osechkin, the founder of the group, Prigozhin, Kadyrov and Surovikin formed a triumvirate last autumn in an unsuccessful attempt to take over the Russian Ministry of Defence and take control of the Russian war effort in Ukraine.
3/ Osechkin says that "Prigozhin was aiming for the post of first deputy head of the Ministry of Defence or for the post of defence minister. Kadyrov had plans to head the National Guard." Surovikin became the commander of all Russian forces in Ukraine on 8 October 2022.
4/ However, Osechkin says, Russia's internal security agency, the FSB, found out about the plot. The trio got cold feet in a classic prisoner's dilemma. "Each of them was not prepared to risk his own well-being for the sake of a jointly successful bright future."
5/ Surovikin was the first to fall on 11 January 2023 after only three months in his position as overall commander. He was replaced by General Valery Gerasimov, who was likely seen as much more loyal to the regime.
6/ "Prigozhin used dirty methods, such as publicly insulting the generals, which did Surovikin a disservice," Osechkin says.
7/ "Prigozhin and Kadyrov have tried in every way to demonstrate their closeness to Putin, but apart from occasional meetings between Putin and Kadyrov nothing has happened. We can see that no [favourable] personnel decisions have been made."
8/ Osechkin says that the FSB has for a long time been keeping a file on Prigozhin, who served a lengthy prison sentence for violent crimes in the 1980s. "And as long as there is such kompromat, there is no political future for Prigozhin," Osechkin predicts.
9/ "It would be a great blessing for Prigozhin if he lived to see his trial. Judging by the methods Putin is using, he is likely to be 'cleaned up'.
10/ Wagner's designation by the US as an international terrorist organisation may offer an excuse for the Russian government to wash its hands of the group and get rid of Prigozhin. A source tells the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel:
11/ "Things have changed drastically with Prigozhin and he is in urgent need of strong support. It used to be that politicians were trying to get close to him, with Slutsky and Mironov lining up.
12/ "Now, everything is changing before our eyes, and Prigozhin is trying to compensate for this with his media activity.

If he lets himself be forgotten now, then the Orchestra [Wagner] will be dropped from the agenda.
13/ "The Kadyrovites don't give a damn about being thrown off the agenda, but the Musicians do. Wagner, under the guise of fighting international terrorism, may now be squeezed out of its sources of support abroad [in Africa].
14/ In Russia, Chief of the General Staff Gerasimov remembers old grievances and will not let Prigozhin forget them. No support from the top is in sight. Prigozhin is urgently looking for solutions". /end


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More from @ChrisO_wiki

Feb 13
1/ Despite promises by Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin that his convict fighters will be treated as heros and given all honours, ordinary Russians are not so keen on making heroes out of convicted murderers, as an incident in Transbaikalia has shown. ⬇️ Image
2/ 23-year-old Nikita Kasatkin, who was serving a 10 year prison sentence after being convicted of murder in 2020, died fighting for Wagner three months after joining the mercenary group.
3/ His relatives faced opposition from the residents of the village of Zhireken in the Trans-Baikal Territory when they sought to arrange a funeral with honours of him, according to a regional news website.
Read 12 tweets
Feb 12
1/ Only 10% of Russians are firm ideological supporters of the war in Ukraine, according to a new political analysis. While more than half of Russians support Putin, their support is conditional and likely to fall as Russia's economy weakens amidst the continuing fighting. ⬇️ Image
2/ The independent Russian media outlet 'We can explain' (MO) has published an analysis by the political scientist Abbas Gallyamov, a former Putin speechwriter who has been labelled a 'foreign agent' by the Russian government for his criticism of the regime.
3/ Gallyamov has analysed data from several dozen surveys conducted by the Levada Center and ZIRCON, which are well-regarded pollsters in Russia (despite the difficulties that pollsters experience in the current climate). MO summarises his analysis:
Read 18 tweets
Feb 12
1/ High school students in Petrozavodsk in north-west Russia have been told that it's been their duty from birth to fight for an invincible Russia, there's no point running from military recruiters and anyone who doesn't join the armed forces is a drug addict and criminal. ⬇️ Image
2/ According to Karelian photographer Igor Podgorny, "In a school in Petrozavodsk today they gathered high school students to tell them that:

1. Russia cannot lose.

2. Defence is the duty of every boy from birth.
3/ 3. Running is useless, everybody will be found (but it is not clear what kind of running we are talking about, because see item 2)
Read 6 tweets
Feb 11
1/ Inter-ethnic conflict has broken out between mobilised Tuvans and pro-Russian forces fighting in Ukraine. The Tuvans were incorporated into the forces of the 'Donetsk People's Republic' but complained of beatings and other mistreatment (see below). ⬇️
2/ This has now been verified from the other side in a video (part 1 below, part 2 in the next post) by Mikhail Polynkov. He is an associate of Igor 'Strelkov' Girkin who is coordinating Russian volunteer fighters in eastern Ukraine.
3/ He bitterly criticises the Tuvans for their conduct and the way they have treated the chief of staff of their regiment in the 'DPR'. He effectively calls his own side cannon fodder who have to cover for Russians who are reluctant to fight.
Read 22 tweets
Feb 11
1/ Russian politicians are hoping that Vladimir Putin will announce his plans for the end of the war in Ukraine. They want him to achieve a quick victory this year, with no further mobilisation and no closing of Russia's borders to block those attempting to flee the country. ⬇️
2/ The independent Russian media outlet 'We can explain' (MO) has been interviewing deputies about their expectations for Putin's next annual national address on 21 February. It's widely expected to be about his plans for the war as it enters its second year. Translation follows:
3/ The Duma deputies interviewed by MO agree that the military operation should be completed as early as this year and expect the president's message to at least outline the objectives of the war.
Read 19 tweets
Feb 10
1/ A wounded Russian soldier facing a heavy Ukrainian attack recorded what he thought would be a farewell message in this video from @wartranslated. Here's the (claimed) back story, according to the Baza Telegram channel.
2/ "Volunteer Rustam came close to death about a week ago. At that time the Ukrainian armed forces made several attempts to storm Russian positions, but all their attacks were repelled.
3/ After that, they began to fire artillery at the Russian soldiers, who, having used up all their ammunition, prepared for one last battle. At that moment, Rustam, armed with a grenade, recorded a farewell video.
Read 5 tweets

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