(RightWing.org) – The world awakened on Saturday, June 24, to the news that Russia was facing the possibility of a coup d’é·tat. The leader of the mercenary organization, the Wagner Group, was marching his men toward Moscow to reportedly try to oust the heads of the country’s military. President Vladimir Putin held a press conference early that morning and called it “treason.”
Then, as quickly as the rebellion began, it was over. But the whole ordeal has reportedly revealed cracks in the president’s leadership.
The calamity began late Friday night when Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin called for an armed rebellion to remove Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the General Staff, from his position. He claimed the military leader had ordered airstrikes on the group’s convoys. He also claimed Gerasimov met with Defense Minister Sergi Shoigu, and Wagner field camps in Ukraine were later attacked by artillery fire and helicopter gunships.
Prigozhin then gathered his forces and began the march from Ukraine to Moscow. He slammed the war in Ukraine and claimed there was no reason for it, saying it would just benefit the elites.
The mercenary said his organization would “destroy anyone” standing in its way. He claimed it wasn’t a “military coup, but a march for justice.”
Putin didn’t agree.
The Russian president vowed to defend his country on Saturday morning. He called the uprising a “stab in the back” and said it was both treason and a betrayal. Putin vowed to punish everyone involved. Hours after his press conference, and as the Wagner group marched toward the capital, the media suddenly reported it was over.
Prigozhin announced he was ordering his troops back to their bases in southern Russia. In a statement to the media, he said the moment had arrived for bloodshed, but he decided to turn the convoy around “for the fact that Russian blood will be shed from one side.”
Belarus President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko brokered an agreement between Putin and Prigozhin. According to reports, none of those involved in the rebellion would face prosecution. The fighters who didn’t join will be offered military contracts by Russia’s Defense Ministry. The Wagner boss also agreed to exile in Belarus.
Cracks in Putin’s Leadership
The revolt on Saturday was the first in Putin’s 23-year grip on power. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken appeared on CBS News’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday and said the incident showed “cracks in the Russian facade.”
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke about the weakness of the Russian government
"We have witnessed a large number of cracks in the Russian facade," he said.
He believes that Yevgeny Prigozhin issued a " direct challenge to Putin's power ", and " Russia had to defend Moscow… pic.twitter.com/eThrP7Yjrb
— Sprinter (@Sprinter99880) June 26, 2023
John Herbst, the former US ambassador to Ukraine, told CNN that Putin was “diminished for all time by this affair.” He explained that it was like the Wagner chief looked behind the screen to catch a peek of the Wizard of Oz and discovered he “was just this little frightened man.”
General David Petraeus said there are “many unknowns” about what this means for the future of Putin and Russia.
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