The head of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has greatly increased his influence in the Ukraine war in recent months. But now another businessman wants to limit his power. This is now supported by high-ranking Russian officials.
Yevgeny Prigozhin’s power is increasing. This was reported by the US think tank “Institute for the Study of War” (ISW) back in October. The head of the Wagner militia, known as “Putin’s cook,” could even pose a threat to Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin, analysts say.
Now high-ranking Russian officials are apparently taking countermeasures. To prevent Prigozhin from building a force beyond the direct control of the Russian Defense Ministry, they support the creation of a military counterweight. This is reported by the Ukrainian military intelligence service HUR.
According to the report, the senior officials are helping Kremlin-affiliated businessman Armen Sarkisyan set up a “private military company.” They are actually banned in Russia. However, this should compete with the Wagner militia and break up Prigozhin’s quasi-monopoly on such companies in Russia.
In addition, Sarkisyan was recently appointed as the new administrator of prisons in the Russian-occupied territories. He also receives financial support from Samuel Karapetyan, a Russian-Armenian billionaire. He is the owner of the Tashir Group, a supplier to Gazprom.
Apparently, Sarkisyan is not planning any other methods than Prigozhin. He also wants to recruit prisoners. However, he is not the only one who wants to limit the influence of “Putin’s cook”. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov is also counting on the help of Russian officials to increase his influence while weakening Prigozhin’s position. The aim is to create paramilitary structures within the Russian army.
On Telegram, Kadyrov even stated that he met Putin on November 25 about this. It was about building a new Russian military and the participation of Chechen units in the war in Ukraine.