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Putin's Transition from World Leader to Mafia Boss

Vladimir Putin's image has drastically changed in recent years from that of a world leader to that of a potential mafia boss. Several events and developments have propelled this transition, with Yevgeny Prigozhin's alleged demise as a key piece of proof.

Prigozhin was a major member of the Wagner private military firm. The circumstances of Prigozhin's death provide a window into the shifting dynamics within Russia's power structure and cast doubt on Putin's role in upholding the country's rule.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was previously unknown, shot to fame as the head of the Wagner private military firm and became well-known for enlisting prisoners from Russian prisons to fight in Ukraine. This action solidified Prigozhin's position as a prominent participant in the fight in Ukraine, undercutting the official Russian government line and even criticising Putin and his top military officials.

The turning point was Prigozhin's coup attempt, where he organised an armed uprising to take over important military facilities and even made his way to Moscow. Strangely, the revolution abruptly came to an end only a few kilometres from Moscow, sparking rumours of a covert agreement between Prigozhin and Putin. The following provision of safe passage to Belarus and the dismissal of Prigozhin's criminal charges only served to confirm rumours that he had been given a form of amnesty.

Along with other top members of the Wagner group, Prigozhin's claimed death in a plane crash raises more concerns about the incident's nature. After his failed revolt, Sergei Surovikin, a powerful figure, vanished for two months before the accident, which coincided with his expulsion. The timing points to a meticulously planned series of events that could have an impact on Putin's attempt to consolidate influence within the military forces.

Importantly, the plane disaster acts as a metaphor for Putin's role's broader shift. Putin was once praised for his smart and strong leadership on the international scene, but today it seems that he is caught up in a mafia-style web of internal power battles and intrigue. The alleged assassination of Prigozhin suggests a complex power struggle within Russia, where allegiances and loyalty are brittle and prone to abrupt changes.

The events that followed Prigozhin's passing provide a sobering look at the possible effects on Putin's hold on power. Anger and instability are reflected in the uproar on the Wagner-affiliated channels against the purported "traitors to Russia" who are thought to be to blame for Prigozhin's demise. This answer may indicate a broader backlash against centralised rule as well as a possible recurrence of uprisings or even hostilities.

The ambiguity surrounding these occurrences emphasises how weak Putin's authority is and casts doubt on Russia's general stability. The paradox here is clear: even if the death of Prigozhin may have eliminated a direct threat to Putin's authority, it paradoxically could lead to even more instability if Putin is unable to solidify his grip over all of Russia's armed forces.

A shadow is cast over Putin's legacy by his transformation from a global statesman to a leader who must deal with domestic power struggles and factionalism. The demise of Prigozhin and the circumstances surrounding it highlight the difficulties Putin has in upholding his rule and directing the country's course.

The world is closely watching Russia as it navigates these turbulent waters to determine whether Putin will come out stronger or if his rule would fall apart amid the turmoil of internal power dynamics.


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