Last Saturday, Russia was shaken by the armed mutiny of 25,000 mercenary soldiers led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the private militia the Wagner Group. Having captured the city of Rostov-on-Don, occupied military installations in Voronezh, and marched to within 200 kilometres of Moscow, they abruptly turned back.
How did a maverick private army accumulate such overwhelming power within the Russian state?
How long will Prigozhin accept exile in Belarus?
Will the Wagner Group really now be confined to surrogate operations in Africa?
Will Defence Minister Shoigu and the newly-appointed army commander Gerasimov remain at their posts?
What will be the consequences of these events for the war in Ukraine?
And what do they reveal about the nature and stability of the Putin regime?
To throw light on these issues and open up the discussion, we welcomed Richard Sakwa, an acknowledged expert on Russia and Eastern Europe; former professor of Russian and European politics at the University of Kent, and an honorary professor in the Faculty of Political Science at Moscow State University. Among his many books are The Putin Paradox and Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands.
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