The dramatic rise and the eventual fall of Yevgeny Prigozhin has been well documented, including a couple of pieces in the 3L&3S. For the uninitiated, Prigozhin, an ex-convict who rose to running a private army (Wagner) including running missions for Vladmir Putin in the ongoing war in Ukraine. On the back of his growing power, he launched a mutiny against the Russian army in June this year, which was eventually stalled with a settlement brokered by the Belarusian president. However, he was expectedly taken out only a couple of months later.

On the tarmac of a Moscow airport in late August, Yevgeny Prigozhin waited on his Embraer Legacy 600 for a safety check to finish before it could take off. The mercenary army chief was headed home to St. Petersburg with nine others onboard. Through the delay, no one inside the cabin noticed the small explosive device slipped under the wing.

When the jet finally left, it climbed for about 30 minutes to 28,000 feet, before the wing blew apart, sending the aircraft spiraling to the ground. All 10 people were killed, including Prigozhin, the owner of the Wagner paramilitary group.

The assassination of the warlord was two months in the making and approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s oldest ally and confidant, an ex-spy named Nikolai Patrushev, according to Western intelligence officials and a former Russian intelligence officer.”

So who is Nikolai Patrushev?
“Like Putin, he joined the spy services in the 1970s, and stuck with the service through the collapse of the Soviet Union when other officers flocked to more lucrative jobs in Russia’s nascent private sector.

..When Yeltsin appointed Putin in 1999 to be prime minister, Putin recommended Patrushev as his replacement to lead the new version of the KGB, the FSB.

…He has climbed to the top by interpreting Putin’s policies and carrying out his orders. Throughout Putin’s reign, he has expanded Russia’s security services and terrorized its enemies with assassinations at home and abroad. More recently his profile has grown, backing Russia’s invasion, and his son Dmitry, a former banker, has been appointed agriculture minister and is touted by some as a potential successor to Putin.”

The article goes on to give Patrushev’s credentials and several feats that he has pulled off for the Russian President. It also alludes to his backing from the Chinese:

“A former senior White House official said Patrushev has been a key conduit between Moscow and Beijing. “If Putin had been deposed or killed earlier this year by Wagner Group, I suspect Beijing would have made efforts to install Patrushev as Putin’s replacement,” the former official said.”

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