Prigozhin still heavily financed by Russia, despite failed Wagner coup

Politics - June 4, 2024

Days after the Wagner rebellion, western analysts and commentators were convinced that Yevgeny Prigozhin is officially on a Kremlin hit-list, ready to pay with his life (or at least his freedom) the challenge thrown to Russian dictator and former friend, Vladimir Putin. The realities on the ground went again to show how little the western press understands the complex oligarchy and power relations of Russia, and their way of doing things.

Not only did the Kremlin confirm a direct meeting between Prighozin and Putin at the beginning of July, but in the aftermath of the mutiny, companies linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin have remarkably secured state contracts totaling a substantial 2 billion rubles within just that month.

Russian investigative journalists reveal that Prigozhin’s food enterprises (that served as a cover for the financial pipeline between the Russian budget and Wagner PMC in the past) have adeptly safeguarded significant contracts for providing schoolchildren with hot meals in municipalities neighboring Moscow.

A comprehensive review of 17 firms involved with Prigozhin was undertaken to gauge the extent of his continued access to government money. Impressively, Social Nutrition Center received a contract worth 705 million rubles from Mytishchi’s administration, while Prodfoodservice was awarded 935 million rubles by Krasnogorsk’s administration, emphasizing the success of the consortium that “Putin’s Chef” owns in retaining funding.

Furthermore, Prigozhin’s ventures continued to engage with the federal state children’s camp, “Artek,” securing a contract valued at 260 million rubles for children’s nutrition services in 2023 through the “Preschool Nutrition Combine”. It’s important to note that the aforementioned contracts were established with civil state institutions, as the specifics of military food contracts remain classified.

This persisting collaboration between state entities and Prigozhin’s enterprises implies the potential perpetuation of a funding mechanism for the activities of Wagner Private Military Company (PMC) in Africa. Also, with the main headquarters of the PMC moved to Belarus, some experts believe that further operations in Ukraine are not out of the question. One thing is for certain though: the services of Yevgeny Prigozhin are still needed.