Everything you need to know about the rebellious Wagner group that has the Kremlin on edge

The organization is internationally recognized for its alleged torture, executions and extrajudicial killings.

Russia is currently on edge after a major mercenary organization called on the population to revolt against the country's military command.

Several reports indicate that military vehicles are being mobilized in Moscow after the Wagner group threatened to retaliate against senior military commanders for allegedly shelling their camps and killing "a large number" of their fighters.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defense assures that it is all about provocation, and the Anti-Terrorist Committee announced that it has opened a criminal case for the calls for armed rebellion. However, the risks of internal conflict have set off alarm bells.

What is the Wagner Group?

It is a private Russian military group founded in 2013 that has acquired a reputation for being extremely cruel for the tortures, executions and extrajudicial killings they have allegedly perpetrated in various conflicts worldwide. More than 80% of its members are convicts recruited from Russian prisons on the promise of pardons if they survived after one year of service. The group's own leader recently claimed that he had 50,000 convicts at his disposal.

"This is a group of criminal mercenaries, that is what it is objectively called, which is the life insurance of failed or coup regimes, whose role and purpose is to protect faltering and coup regimes," French President Emmanuel Macron opined.

Who is the leader?

Yevgeny Prigozhin is a Russian oligarch imprisoned for committing armed robbery, but after his release, he decided to sell hot dogs. He later opened one of the first elite restaurants in St. Petersburg, which led him to meet Vladimir Putin, who by then was deputy mayor of the city.

Prigozhin soon earned the nickname "Putin's chef" for all the banquets the chef cooked for the politician, but his relationship gradually extended to other areas, to the point of becoming a close personal friend of Putin. In 2022 Prigozhin came to be considered the shadiest man for his record of corruption and organized crime.

Prigozhin and his dispute with the Russian militia

Although the Wagner leader has proven to be a loyal supporter of Putin, the situation changes when it comes to the senior Russian military. Prigozhin has repeatedly complained about the army because they did not provide him with enough ammunition to seize Bakhmut, the Ukrainian city.

Prigozhin has also criticized Defense Minister Sergei Shoigun's handling of the war with Ukraine and claimed that he lied to the president about the battlefield. Now, Prigozhin accuses Sergei Shoigun of ordering the bombing of his bases, which could elevate their differences to civil war.