Putin's Image Takes a Hit Amidst Feud with Prigozhin

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Putin's Image Takes a Hit Amidst Feud with Prigozhin
Putin's Image Takes a Hit Amidst Feud with Prigozhin

In the labyrinthine world of Russian politics, a simmering feud between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the private military organization known as the Wagner Group, threatens to boil over.

The Director of the CIA, William J. Burns, has recently hinted at an escalating situation that may have profound implications for the country's political landscape.

"Ultimate Apostle of Payback"

"Putin is someone who generally thinks that revenge is a dish best served cold," Burns revealed in an interview with NPR's Mary Louise Kelly.

This comment comes in the wake of veiled threats from the Russian leader against Prigozhin, a man known for his connection to a string of controversial events globally. Burns paints a picture of Putin as "the ultimate apostle of payback," a depiction that suggests that Prigozhin should be cautious, even paranoid.

It is a tension that was highlighted by President Joe Biden earlier this year in a joking suggestion that Prigozhin should keep his food taster close at hand. "He is going to try to separate Prigozhin and undercut him, but preserve what's of value to him," Burns predicted, indicating the complexities inherent in this power dynamic.

The Belarusian Broker and Wagner's Global Influence

The feud between these two influential figures seemingly reached a critical point when Alexander Lukashenko, the President of Belarus, had to intervene. Lukashenko, known for his strong-handed leadership style, brokered a peace deal, effectively compelling Prigozhin to abandon a coup in exchange for immunity in Belarus.

This political chess game reveals the depth of Putin's reach and the lengths he is willing to go to maintain control. It also exposes vulnerabilities in the iron-clad persona he has cultivated over the years. "That video was the most scathing indictment of Putin's rationale for the war," Burns told Kelly, indicating that the revelations have hurt Putin's reputation as the "arbiter of order." It's also worth noting the scale of Putin's investment in the Wagner Group, whose forces played a key role in capturing the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.

Putin confirmed that his government had paid Wagner close to $1 billion in the past year alone. The company's 30,000 mercenaries have reportedly been deployed to further Kremlin interests in global hotspots, including Syria and Africa.

Russian Vladimir Putin

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