An investigative journalist predicted that the Wagner Group boss would either be killed or lead another coup.
After an aborted mutiny, Yevgeny Prigozhin and many Wagner troops agreed to move to Belarus.
A think tank said that Wagner troops were planning to return to Russia, suggesting the deal was collapsing.
The leader of Russia’s mercenary Wagner Group will either end up dead or will lead another coup against Moscow within six months, a journalist said.
Christo Grozev, a journalist with the highly respected investigative outlet Bellingcat, said that he was not surprised to see Yevgeny Prigozhin’s short-lived mutiny take place in June.
“I said last January that Prigozhin would turn on Putin within six months — and it just fit within my timeframe,” he told the Financial Times.
He said that his suspicions were sparked by the fact that there was an increase in telephone traffic between Russia’s senior military, per data acquired by Bellingcat.
“[Russian President Vladimir] Putin went on TV and called Prigozhin a traitor,” Grozev said. “Everyone knows what they do with ‘traitors,’ and Putin hasn’t done that. He wants to see him dead. He can’t do that yet. In six months, Prigozhin will either be dead, or there will be a second coup. I’m agnostic between the two, but I can’t see neither of these happening.”
Prigozhin led the aborted Wagner mutiny in an attempt to topple Russian military leaders that he had been feuding for months over the war in Ukraine.
However, the rebellion, which saw Wagner troops taking over a military base in southern Russia before marching to Moscow, was suddenly called off by Prigozhin.
The Wagner chief agreed to go into exile in Belarus with many of his fighters under a deal negotiated by the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
Aspects of this deal are likely to now be collapsing, US-based think tank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in an update on Wednesday.
The think tank said that Putin has “failed to decisively resolve” issues brought up by Prigozhin and Wagner following the rebellion.
There are rumors circulating that hundreds of Wagner troops are leaving Belarus to return to Russia, and are ready to “activate” at the end of August, ISW said, citing Wagner-affiliated sources.
A Russian insider source and a Wagner-affiliated source speculated that this might be because Lukashenko refused to finance Wagner as he had expected Russia would be responsible for them.
The think tank did note that the validity of these claims are unclear at this time, and it remains to be seen how the Wagner Group will proceed and how Putin might respond.
Read the original article on Business Insider