Russian mercenary group Wagner’s chief Yevgeny Prigozhin was reported dead on Wednesday in a plane crash in Russia. He was said to be among the ten people on board a jet flying from Moscow to St. Petersburg. All seven passengers and three crew members were reported killed in the crash.
Here are 10 things you should know about the Wagner boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin
- Yevgeny Prigozhin (62) was born on June 1, 1961, in Leningrad, Russia, and had an ordinary early life with modest parents.
- Prigozhin used to be an indigent hotdog seller from Putin’s hometown, Saint Petersburg.
- He was jailed for fraud and robbery before he learned various trades which he developed into chains of businesses.
- He is popularly called ‘Putin’s chef’ because of his fast food restaurant which hosts the Russian president and feeds the Kremlin Armed Forces. He started this fast food venture in the 1990s in Saint Petersburg.
- Prigozhin confirmed last year he founded the mercenary called Wagner group in 2014, after denying connections with it for so many years.
- The Wagner group supports Moscow to regain global influence by helping Russian allies like Syria, Libya, and Central Africa.
- The Wagner Group, which boasts an army of more than 25,000, has been heavily involved in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine since last February.
- The United States and the European Union had sanctioned Prigozhin for his activities and has been under investigation since December 2016 by the US Department of Justice for possible criminal charges.
- He is linked to the Internet Research Agency, also known as the ‘Troll Factory,’ despite denying involvement, citing significant funding from his businesses.
- He was in the news, June this year after he rebelled against Russia, after supporting its invasion of Ukraine. Prigozhin led a mutiny in Rostov-on-Don, causing Moscow to respond harshly. The Kremlin agreed to defuse the revolt by allowing Prigozhin to leave for Belarus.