The Washington PostThe Washington Post

Russia's elite draws one lesson from downed plane: Cross Putin and die

By Catherine Belton and Greg Miller

25 Aug 2023 · 5 min read

informed Summary

  1. The fatal crash of a jet believed to be carrying Yevgeniy Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner paramilitary group, has sent a chilling message to Russia's elite, reinforcing President Vladimir Putin's hold on power.

LONDON - When the jet believed to be carrying Yevgeniy Prigozhin and several top commanders of the Wagner paramilitary group fell from the sky west of Moscow on Wednesday, its destruction sent a terrifying message to Russia's elite, even though the cause of the crash may never be conclusively known.

"Anyone who displays disloyalty will be seen by the state as an enemy that needs to be liquidated," one well-connected Moscow businessman said. "Everyone will believe that this was carried out on the orders of the czar. We may never know whether this is true or not. But it has frightened everyone."

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