Explainer: Why tension caused by Wagner has been promptly defused?

(Xinhua) 15:42, June 26, 2023

MOSCOW, June 26 (Xinhua) -- On Saturday evening, Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner private military group, accepted Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko's suggestion to halt Wagner's operations in Russia and take further measures to ease tension, pledging that the Wagner column will stop advancing and return to camp.

The Wagner group, accused of attempting to launch an armed rebellion on Friday night, had created sort of mayhem within Russia. How it came about that the tension had been swiftly defused?


The pivotal point of the incident was Russian President Vladimir Putin's televised address to the nation on Saturday.

"Any actions that split our nation are essentially a betrayal of our people, of our comrades-in-arms who are now fighting at the front line. This is a stab in the back of our country and our people," Putin said.

"I urge those who are being dragged into this crime not to make a fatal and tragic mistake, but to make the only right choice -- to stop participating in criminal acts," he stressed.

The consensus in Russian public opinion is that by characterizing the incident as a rebellion, Putin demonstrated his unwavering determination to maintain national unity, overawing the rebels and eroding their willpower.

In a statement to Wagner members, the Russian Defense Ministry urged: "We ask you to be prudent and get in touch with representatives of the Russian Defense Ministry or law enforcement agencies as soon as possible. We guarantee everyone's safety."


Around 8 p.m. local time (1700 GMT) on Friday, things took a dramatic turn as Prigozhin accepted Lukashenko's proposal to stop the advance of his troops and de-escalate the situation, according to local media.

Later, both Moscow and Prigozhin verified the information. Vasily Golubev, governor of Rostov Oblast, said in his telegram that Wagner troops had withdrawn from Rostov-on-Don and returned to their field camps.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Lukashenko has been personally acquainted with Prigozhin for about 20 years and "this was his personal proposal agreed with Putin."

It is widely believed that the important prerequisites for achieving reconciliation are the guarantees made by Putin that Prigozhin will be able to leave for Belarus, members involved in the rebellion will not be prosecuted, and those who did not participate can sign contracts with the defense ministry.


The pressure exerted by from all walks of the society also played a significant role in Prigozhin's ultimate compromise. Politicians, representatives from various regions and others strongly condemned the incident and explicitly expressed their support for the government to safeguard stability and peace.

"No matter how the armed rebellion is explained, it is still precisely an armed rebellion in the rear of a warring army," said Dmitry Rogozin, ex-head of Russia's space agency Roskosmos, on Telegram. "In war, you need to support the front with all your might. Any attempt to weaken it is nothing but aiding the enemy."

In a statement, Oleg Kozhemyako, governor of Russia's Primorye Territory, called on Wagner members to be rational and refrain from committing acts they would undoubtedly regret.

"Society trusts the head of state. The internal upheavals could not shake the foundations of our state. It has no public and elite support," said Denis Baturin, a political scientist.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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