Mystery Deepens: Was Prigozhin's Plane Crash a Calculated Ploy?

Russia's Civil Aviation Authority made a shocking announcement on Wednesday

by Faruk Imamovic
Mystery Deepens: Was Prigozhin's Plane Crash a Calculated Ploy?
© Wikimedia Commons

Russia's Civil Aviation Authority made a shocking announcement on Wednesday: Yevgeny Prigozhin, often dubbed Putin's "chef", and Wagner's elite commander Dmitry Utkin, met a tragic end in a plane crash near Moscow. As the news rippled through international communities, several theories surrounding the incident emerged.

Was it an accident, or was there a deeper political play at hand?

An Engineered Departure?

Military analyst Sean Bell raised eyebrows with his perspective. “We sort of expected about three months for the dust to settle before Putin would deal with the problem that is Prigozhin, but it is actually two months later,” he noted.

Bell's theory suggests a purposeful narrative might be at play, “This might have been an engineered story for Prigozhin to slip quietly away and live in exile somewhere, under a wig and with a degree of privacy." Bell’s reflections on Prigozhin's recent actions offer insight into this theory's foundation. "The harsh reality is the writing has been on the wall ever since Prigozhin launched his assault on Moscow a couple of months ago.

Clearly, it was an error of judgement... and it does seem his days were marked since that time. There is no surprise there has been quite a public departure for him," Bell mused.

Was Putin Behind the Curtain?

Professor Michael Clarke, a defence and security expert, offered his thoughts on the widely-held assumption that President Putin might have had a hand in the tragedy. "That's what most Russians seem to assume [that Putin was behind Prigozhin's crash], it certainly has that neatness about it...

Putin is stronger because of it," Clarke observed. Clarke's comments go beyond the immediate implications of the crash. "In the longer term, this increases that sense of chaos at the top of the decision-making structure”.

The noted closeness of Wagner to Russia's air force and military intelligence wing might further complicate the political landscape. Clarke elaborates, "It emphasises the splits within the Russian command structure... I suspect that this will reverberate [around Russia]." Theories and implications aside, as the dust settles from this dramatic event, Russia and the world will be closely watching for any new revelations.

Whether the plane crash was an accident, a political maneuver, or an elaborate ruse, its consequences will likely be felt in Russian corridors of power for years to come.