The New York TimesThe New York Times

After Prigozhin's death, a high-stakes scramble for his empire

By Anton Troianovski, Declan Walsh, Eric Schmitt, Vivian Yee and Julian E. Barnes

08 Sep 2023 · 6 min read

informed Summary

  1. Following the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, there is a power struggle over his assets and operations in Africa, including his private army and propaganda empire, which served Russia’s military and diplomatic ambitions.

African leaders allied with Russia had grown used to dealing with Yevgeny Prigozhin, the swaggering, profane mercenary leader who traveled the continent by private jet, offering to prop up shaky regimes with guns and propaganda in return for gold and diamonds.

But the Russian delegation that toured three African countries last week was led by a very different figure, the starchy deputy defense minister, Yunus-bek Yevkurov. Dressed in a khaki uniform and a “telnyashka” — the horizontally-striped undergarment of Russian armed forces — he signaled conformity and restraint, giving assurances wrapped in polite language.

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