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Decrease in Wagner PMC’s influence in Bakhmut

Prigozhin continues attacks on veterans and critics amidst decline in influence

The Kubera Principle

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Decrease in Wagner PMC’s influence in Bakhmut

New York ( — Regular units of the Russian army are replacing the depleted forces of the PMC “Wagner” to continue the offensive on Bakhmut. Since the Wagner attack aircraft captured Soledar around January 12, they have made little progress.

On January 20, video footage from the battlefield near Bakhmut showed BMD-4M airborne combat vehicles – this equipment is used only by Russian airborne troops. The Russian Ministry of Defense is increasingly reporting that the Russian Airborne Forces have been operating in the Bakhmut area since the beginning of January 2023. Representatives of the Ukrainian side believe that the Russian attack on Bakhmut has not yet run out of steam.

The decrease in the dependence of Russian military personnel on the Wagner PMC in the Bakhmut region is likely to reduce the influence of businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, also known as Putin’s chef or evil cook. Russian Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov and the Defense Ministry have launched efforts to professionalize the army, which if successful will lead to the marginalization of parallel military formations such as the Wagner group.

Prigozhin probably senses this, and to compensate for the decline in his influence, he begins attacks on the nationalist “faction of veterans” and personally on the former field commander of the self-proclaimed DPR, Igor Girkin (Strelkov), who sharply criticizes the Russian military command.

In particular, Prigozhin insults Igor Girkin and accuses him of military failures during the war in Donbass in 2014. He also rebukes Girkin, retired Lieutenant General Viktor Sobolev, member of the State Duma Defense Committee, and Leonid Slutsky, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, for living in a past when Russia relied on conventional forces.


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