Putin’s pal Sergei Shoigu threatened a Wagner revolution

Vladimir Putin and Sergei Shoigu sunbathed collectively in distant Siberia, participated in fishing journeys and performed on the identical ice hockey staff.

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The Russian protection minister has lengthy been seen not solely as a political ally of the president, but in addition as certainly one of his few mates throughout the Russian elite.

Nonetheless, their relationship and Shoigu’s lengthy political profession now faces a serious problem after the revolution led by the chief of the Wagner paramilitary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Putin ended the riot after stunning mediation led by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. However Shoigu’s place, which in the interim had disappeared from public view, had grow to be particularly precarious.

Prigogine succeeded in capturing the headquarters of the Russian Military’s Southern Command in Rostov-on-Don, the nerve middle of the invasion of Ukraine. He additionally accused Shoigu of operating away “like a coward” and swore that he would “be arrested.”

The unbearable Wagner chief had earlier accused Shoigu and the Russian Military’s chief of employees, Basic Valery Gerasimov, of being liable for the deaths of “tens of hundreds of Russians” in Ukraine and of “ceding territory to the enemy”.

“The massive winner of the night is Lukashenko and the most important loser is Chugo,” sums up Arnaud Dupin, director of the French-Russian Observatory.

Even earlier than the riot broke out on Friday evening, Shoigu had suffered numerous assaults from Prigozhin and bore the brunt of the lack of Russian forces to advance into Ukraine, 16 months after the invasion started.

On June 12, a video of Putin and Shoigu attending a medal presentation at a army hospital confirmed the Russian president turning his again on him in obvious disdain. A harsh shame to those that lived an unparalleled lengthy life in post-Soviet Russia, and whose presence within the coronary heart of energy in Moscow predates Putin’s.

A local of the Tuva area of southern Siberia, he is without doubt one of the only a few non-ethnic Russians to carry high-level authorities workplace after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

His rise started in 1994 as Minister of Emergency Conditions within the early years of Boris Yeltsin’s presidency. He turns into a well-known presence for Russians and one of many nation’s hottest politicians, operating across the nation coping with aircraft crashes and earthquakes.

He served below twelve prime ministers, holding this place till 2012, earlier than he was appointed governor of the Moscow area, after which minister of protection that very same 12 months.

He was then named a common regardless of his lack of high-level army expertise. And he efficiently oversees complicated operations, together with Russia’s intervention in Syria in 2015, which retains Moscow’s ally Bashar al-Assad in energy.

On his sixty fifth birthday, Putin offered him with certainly one of Russia’s highest decorations, the medal “For Advantage to the Fatherland,” which enhances an already full field of medals.

However the disastrous invasion of Ukraine — which the Kremlin had hoped would seize Kiev inside weeks — raised many questions.

“Prigozhin wished to ship a message that Chugu and Gerasimov needs to be fired as a result of they’re incompetent and {that a} change of technique is important,” Pierre Razeau, educational director of the Mediterranean Basis for Strategic Research (FMES), explains to AFP.

There isn’t any longer any signal of masculine friendship between him and Putin, nor photos like people who emerged in 2017 of the 2 shirtless males bathing close to a river within the Siberian taiga. Shoigu turns to mumbling reviews throughout his conferences with the Kremlin chief, when he’s not going right into a nook whereas Putin oversees a videoconference.

Russian-speaking Telegram channels even speculated about his doable successor, citing Tula area governor Alexei Dyumin, who held excessive positions within the army and presidential safety, as the favourite.

“The Shoigu group is about to break down, and Sergei Shoigu himself, in shame, is more likely to resign,” says Preemnik, her privately adopted Telegram channel.