Home / News / World /  End of Putin? How Russia’s failure in Ukraine may push this man to become Kremlin’s next supremo

In order to undermine Moscow's political elite, Yevgeny Prigozhin is coming out of hiding and exploiting his military victories in Ukraine to promote himself as a fresh voice in the conflict. The leader of Russian mercenary group leader Wagner declared victory in the salt mining town of Soledar, marking Russia's first military victory in months following a run of humiliating failures.

Although the capture of Soledar might not be crucial to the outcome of the war, it might provide Prigozhin with a springboard for his own campaign, which seemed to be increasingly at conflict with the goals of the Russian military establishment.

The highest military official in Russia, General Valery Gerasimov, has been charged with incompetence by Prigozhin. According to some commentators, the promotion of General Sergei Surovikin and the new position for Gerasimov may be an attempt to stifle Prigozhin's ambitions.

Also Read: Vladimir Putin hints at ending Ukraine war soon after Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s US trip

Meanwhile, CNN asked Russian investigative journalist Mikhail Zygar if it would be possible for Prigozhin to eventually replace Putin as Russia’s supreme commander. “That’s the most hot topic for speculation in Moscow," Zygar said.

“He obviously has political ambitions…he’s a hero for the most ultra-conservative…fascist part of the Russian society. Now, he’s a rival to President Putin," Zygar added.

Zygar was asked what would happen to Prigozhin if Russia failed to defeat Ukraine in the ongoing war situation. The Russian journalist said that the ball was not in Prigozhin’s, but in Gerasimov’s court. “Prigozhin is in a very comfortable position because no one really believes that Gerasimov can achieve anything," Zygar added.

Also Read: Joe Biden sceptic about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ceasefire in Ukraine for Orthodox Christmas

Zygar’s comment may technically mean that Prigozhin will get even stronger if Russia, under Gerasimov’s command, fails to make any significant impact against Ukraine. That may be the right moment for the Russia bureaucracy to think of shifting the power away from Putin, “who keeps on failing", to “much more aggressive" Prigozhin, he added.

Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and social media. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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