The rogue mercenaries who temporarily seized a Russian military base in an ominous advance towards Moscow had dispersed by Sunday. However, their brief insurrection has left President Vladimir Putin in a vulnerable position, particularly as his troops confront a strong counterattack in Ukraine.Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner soldiers posed a serious threat to Putin, leaving him with no choice but to grant an amnesty agreement.
Prigozhin, once a staunch supporter of Putin, has now disappeared from the public eye. His last public appearance was in Rostov-on-Don, one of two southern cities where his forces had gained control over military installations. The agreement put a stop to Wagner’s intended advance on Moscow on Saturday. Previously, the mercenaries had managed to take over two Russian cities.
Putin labeled the group traitors, but all accusations were eventually dismissed.
The U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, referred to the events of the weekend as “unprecedented.” He reminded that just 16 months ago, Putin was seemingly ready to capture Ukraine’s capital, but now finds himself defending Moscow from an army led by his former ally. Blinken stated during NBC’s “Meet the Press”:
“I think we’ve seen more cracks emerge in the Russian façade,”
“It is too soon to tell exactly where they go and when they get there, but certainly we have all sorts of new questions that Putin is going to have to address in the weeks and months ahead.”
Michael Kofman, director of Russia studies at the CNA research group, also spoke of how the rebellion has made Putin look week, saying on a podcast:
“I honestly think that Wagner probably did more damage to Russian aerospace forces in the past day than the Ukrainian offensive has done in the past three weeks”
The unexpected revolt led by Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner mercenaries reveals a deeply unsettling fracture within the ranks of Russian power, a development that carries severe implications for Putin’s rule. While the immediacy of the threat has been neutralized, its aftereffects continue to ripple through the political landscape, stirring uncomfortable questions about the stability of Putin’s control and the shifting dynamics of power within Russia.