Following a fatal plane accident that is thought to have taken the life of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the volatile leader of the mercenary organization, President Vladimir Putin has ordered Wagner troops to swear loyalty to the Russian government.
On Friday, the Kremlin declared that Western claims that Prigozhin had been executed on its instructions had been a “absolute lie,” and Vladimir Putin then signed the decree enacting the change with immediate effect. The need to wait for test results was cited by the Kremlin as a reason why it would be premature to declare his death.
Prigozhin, who led a failed rebellion against army commanders precisely two months prior, was on board a private plane that crashed on Wednesday evening northwest of Moscow, according to the Russian aviation authorities. There were no survivors.
On Thursday, President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to the families of those killed in the tragedy and talked about Prigozhin in the past tense.
He stated “preliminary information” that Prigozhin and his top Wagner colleagues were all slain, and while praising Prigozhin, he also admitted to making some “serious mistakes.”
Putin’s implementation of an obligatory pledge for Wagner and other private military contractors was a clear effort to tighten state control over such organizations.
The directive, which was published on the Kremlin website, requires anybody working for the military or supporting what Moscow refers to as its “special military operation” in Ukraine to take a formal pledge of loyalty to Russia.
The oath’s language includes a paragraph in which people who take it swear to rigorously execute the commands of commanders and senior leaders, which is described in the regulation as a move to construct the spiritual and moral foundations of Russia’s defense.
Without providing proof, Western politicians and commentators have argued that Putin ordered Prigozhin’s death to punish him for leading the June 23-34 mutiny against the army’s command, which also marked the strongest challenge to Putin’s own control since he came to power in 1999.
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, claimed on Friday that the charge and many others like it were incorrect.
“There is a lot of speculation now about this plane crash and the tragic deaths of the plane’s passengers, including Yevgeny Prigozhin.” Of course, all of this supposition is presented from a well-known viewpoint in the West,” Peskov told reporters.
“All of this is a complete lie, and when covering this topic, it is critical to base yourself on facts.” There aren’t many facts as of now. They must be established over the course of the investigation,” he stated.