Published 24/06/2023 13:55 | Edited 6/25/2023 11:40 AM
Suddenly, the front page of portals around the world were covered with developments from the turn of the Wagner group, which was fighting for Russia. Apparently, Ukraine’s allies have found a propaganda trigger against Russian President Vladimir Putin and to create the mood of imminent defeat.
Putin vowed on Saturday (24) to crush the military rebellion on Russian soil. In his speech, he spoke of the mercenary group’s betrayal of its former ally Yevgeny Prigozhin. This one behaves like a commander in the fight against corruption, not admitting treason against the homeland.
The rebel claimed to have taken control of the main administrative buildings in the city of Rostov-do-Don, in the south of the country, as well as structures of the Southern Military Command —a central piece in the gear of the Ukrainian War, in which Wagner fought and which now is criticized by Prigozhin.
“Excessive ambitions led to betrayal. It is a blow against Russia and her people. Our actions to protect the Motherland will be tough,” Putin said. All who deliberately entered the path of treason, who prepared an armed rebellion, who took the path of blackmail and terrorist methods, will suffer inevitable punishment.”
O red portal consulted the specialist in International Relations, the sociologist Ana Prestes, who, in the midst of the heat of events, anticipated that the Wagner group does not have the potential to impose a military defeat on Putin, but will be widely used for propaganda against Russia.
She admits that the “enormous potential” of the mercenary group will be “to create facts that justify coordinated actions by the West to further isolate the Russian government and a media bombing as we are already seeing”. No wonder Prigozhin is at the top of the trend topics from Twitter, the most commented topics on the internet.
“It was the turning point [virada de mesa] what the West wanted”, she said about the dramatic effect of this event of military betrayal, precisely at a time when there was enormous dismay in Europe with the low effect of its investment in weapons for the defense of Ukraine.
The coming events will reveal a lot about Russia’s offensive capability or Ukraine’s advance. Even the US avoids entering Russian territory, maintaining a defensive capacity in Ukraine itself. With the news of Wagner attacking Russian cities, plus the unacknowledged attacks by Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky, the climate could heat up against other countries.
What is observed, as a continuous act, are the Ukrainian forces concentrating in Bakhmut, where the Russian occupation has been going on for months. Kiev admits to being in the midst of a difficult counter-offensive, described by Zelensky as slower than expected. It is also observed how Russian public opinion will deal with the rebellion, being mobilized against Putin or maintaining support for the government.
Ana even mentioned the Lebanese activist Hadi Nasrallah who mocked the way in which, suddenly, the Wagner group became darling of the Western media. “It’s hilarious how the Wagner group went from a genocidal militia committing war crimes to an anti-corruption rebellion group in the Western media. If NATO had the chance they would arm Wagner and call them freedom fighters,” he said on Twitter.
Nasrallah said he was not surprised by this shift in opinion. “The same Western media has spent decades attacking Al Qaeda and Nazism. Suddenly Al Qaeda became “moderate rebels” in Syria and the Nazis became “patriots” in Ukraine. Both unapologetic supported and armed by Western regimes,” he added.
The Wagner group was founded in 2014. One of its first known missions was on the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea that same year, when mercenaries in unmarked uniforms helped Russian-backed separatist forces take over the region.
It is believed that most of the soldiers were highly trained former elite soldiers, as is Putin’s profile. But as the war in Ukraine intensified, Prigozhin reportedly began to expand the group, recruiting Russian prisoners and civilians as well as foreigners. But everything is treated as speculation in the Western media, including the mercenary nature of the military company, as Prigozhin is treated like a commander in the Russian army.