Even professional Russia watchers are often caught unprepared by the unpredictability of Russia’s politics and actors. It happened when the USSR imploded, and it keeps happening in the Russian Federation as we speak.
I’m obviously referring to Yevgeniy Prigozhin’s “March on Moscow”, which kicked off at lightning speed and was called off equally fast and unexpectedly.
The situation in Russia is still in flux and there’s no telling what will eventually happen to the main players of this drama.
Prigozhin is said to be in Belarus and has released his own version of the events from his new home (which I suspect is going to be very temporary).
Putin’s current whereabouts are not known. He’s played a very reactive role in the whole mess and his credibility and stature have suffered. Clearly, he’s lost control of the situation.
Lukashenko has once again acted as a Putin’s lackey and this is the only element of continuity in the whole story.
Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen leader, has managed once again to embarrass himself. He allegedly rushed in with his troops in a bid to stop the Wagner task force from reaching Moscow but never made it, the situation having resolved itself while his goons were still riding in their trucks and posting selfies on TikTok.
All this began unfolding on June 23 and came to an anticlimactic end the following day.
But it’s not over, not by a long shot.