The Kremlin's New Alliance: From Wagner Group's Rebel to Defense Ministry

Russian President Vladimir Putin was recently seen in a meeting with Andrei Troshev, a top former commander of the Wagner Group, one of the most elusive mercenary organizations in the world

by Faruk Imamovic
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The Kremlin's New Alliance: From Wagner Group's Rebel to Defense Ministry
© Getty Images Europe/WPA Pool

Russian President Vladimir Putin was recently seen in a meeting with Andrei Troshev, a top former commander of the Wagner Group, one of the most elusive mercenary organizations in the world. The agenda? Discussing the potentials of volunteer units taking an active role in Ukraine.

The Kremlin further added a twist to this tale, revealing that Troshev is no longer just a mercenary but now serves under the aegis of the defense ministry.

An Attempt to Regain Control

The meeting comes in the aftermath of a tumultuous year for the Wagner Group.

The June coup attempt led by Wagner chief Evgeny Prigozhin ended in failure. Tragically, Prigozhin also lost his life in a plane crash in August. With the Wagner Group's leadership in disarray, Putin saw an opportunity. As per a report by the Russian newspaper Kommersant, mere days after the coup, he extended an olive branch, suggesting Troshev, a figure known for his battlefield prowess, to take the helm.

During their discussion, Putin emphasized the critical role of "volunteer units" in executing various combat tasks, especially in specialized military zones. He reminded Troshev of his personal combat experience, stating, "You yourself have been fighting in such a unit for more than a year.

You know what it is, how it is done, you know about the issues that need to be resolved in advance so that the combat work goes in the best and most successful way."

Troshev's Illustrious Past

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, confirmed to the RIA news agency about Troshev's current position in the Ministry of Defense.

This shouldn't come as a surprise given Troshev's decorated military past. Hailing from St. Petersburg, which also happens to be Putin's hometown, Troshev has an impressive military resume. He participated in Russia's wars in Afghanistan during the Soviet era and continued his service in Chechnya.

After the Soviet Union's dissolution, his skills were further honed in the North Caucasus with the Russian army. Later, he was associated with the SOBR, the rapid reaction special forces unit of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs.

It remains to be seen how this alliance between Troshev and the Kremlin unfolds, but it's evident that the Russian leadership is keen on leveraging his expertise for their strategic advantages.

Russian Vladimir Putin
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