Russians knew the Wagner rebellion was on its way. At least one top Russian general had prior info on the Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin’s plans to launch a rebellion on June 24th. Intelligence agencies around the world are digging deeper now to confirm whether the Russian General Sergei Surovikin, a former senior army officer, had struck a deal with Mr Prigozhin for the rebellion. This fact-fishing exercise confirms the fire behind the billowing smoke. Ask the Russian army now these questions. Was the aborted Wagner rebellion a set-up? If yes, What was the tearing desperation to launch a rebellion that was destined to be discarded soon? Which Russian generals were involved in the hand-in-glove operation?

There are enough reasons to suspect General Surovikin’s hand in the stage-managed coup. While General Surovikin was in the Russian army, he was made to exit from the Kherson war theatre in November 2022. Supreme Commnader Mr Putin was not happy over General Surovikin’s commandeering role in the war in Ukraine. This forced his inglorious exit. General Surovikin too was not happy with Mr Putin’s strategies in Ukraine. He is just one of the many top Russian military officers who are upset with Mr Putin over his Ukraine strategies and with his Ministry of Defence for its high-handedness. 56a05b9010fc

Fissures are Wider and Deeper

The Wagner rebellion could have been launched also to remove the Wagner-hating Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defence minister. Mr Shoigu has been accused by Mr Prigozhin of bombing his Wagner campus in Ukraine. As General Surovikin’s role in the Wagner rebellion is suspected, it gives rise to the logical suspicion of the role of other similarly disgruntled generals. This spread of disgruntlement proves the fissures are wider and deeper in the Russian army. Worse, top Russian generals have a stake in them.

It is high time Mr Putin readied his responses to tackle the growing discontent within his armed forces. He must get his game plan ready for handling rebellions in future, possibly engineered by General Surovikin and his ilk. This makes it imperative for Mr Putin to find out whether General Surovikin assisted Prigozhin or not. This will be an important exercise for Mr Putin as it can help him decide General Surovikin’s removal. Moreover, it can also enable Mr Putin to reduce chances of victory for Ukraine. A plan of action is a must. general-knewabout-prigozhins-plans-new-york-times-2023-06-28/

Video Courtesy: YouTube/Al Jazeera English

Direct Interactions with Wagner

General Surovikin’s role in the rebellion and his friendship with Mr Prigozhin can be easily proved. The deal Mr Prigozhin managed to strike post-rebellion speaks volumes of this friendship. Why was Mr Prigozhin permitted to live in exile despite leading the rebellion? This is perplexing global military analysts. Again, everything in the rebellion seems to point towards the Russian army and Mr Putin, its supreme commander. The message one gets is that they knew about the Wagner rebellion beforehand.

This message gives birth to a question: was the Wagner rebellion orchestrated to remove the anti-Putin coterie from the government? Despite his questionable friendship with Mr Prigozhin, General Surovikin went on to issue a public call asking the Wagner Group to settle down for an amicable resolution. This is a dead giveaway. General Surovikin and Mr Prigozhin have been interacting directly. Given General Surovikin’s influence on the Russian army, a large section of the Russian army must have backed the Wagner rebellion. generalsrumoursswirlaftermercenarymutiny20230628/

Too Many Conflicting Evidences

That’s not all. General Surovikin has been able to evoke sympathies within the Russian military and political establishments. It is thus quite possible many other top Russian military and political officials might have known about the Wagner rebellion in advance. Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s minister of defence, and General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of general staff, are known General Surovikin sympathisers. Thus, they must be ardent backers of the Wagner rebellion.

The ardent-backer theory apart, too many conflicting evidences prove the rebellion emanated fron within the army. Consider these. A Russian General posted a video online branding the Wagner rebellion ‘a stab in the back’. He condemned the capture of Rostov-on-Don. However, a few hours later, in another video, he was seen talking with Mr Prigozhin. Is this happenstance or deliberate digital distraction? Such conflicting evidences were galore during the rebellion. frankenstein-strikes-back/

The Russian Officers’ Complicity

These evidences make one suspect the rebellion was a Russian set-up. Infighting within the Russian army is being mentioned as the propeller of the Wagner rebellion. If General Surovikin was indeed complicit in the rebellion, it is a sure sign of that it must have been brewing for long. That too right under the nose of all those who mattered in Russia. If this is true, why were no efforts made to nip the rebellion in the bud?

Whatever, the Russian army officers’ complicity in the Wagner rebellion is a sure sign of cracks widening within the Russian army. The cracks will ensure the occurence of more such rebellions in Russia. The affinity and the alliance between General Surovikin and Mr Prigozhin explains why the latter has not been killed after the rebellion. Mr Prigozhin was even offered asylum in Belarus. Mr Prigozhin’s friends in the Russian army seemed to have helped him.

Spotted With the Wagner Chief

General Surovikin is not a lone wolf in the Russian army. As the division and the discontent runs deeper within the Russian military establishment, there are many Surovikins in the stable. Another Russian Lieutenant General, who goes by the name Vladimir Alekseyev, did emerge from within Mr Putin’s military pack. General Alekseyev too went on to condemn the Wagner rebellion as a “stab in the back of the nation.” accuses-wagner-chief-treason-vows-neutralise-uprising

General Alekseyev’s condemnation gives rise to the belief that the Wagner rebellion must have been orchestrated from within Russia’s military headquarters. There is confirmation to this theory. Hours after the Wagner rebellion, Generals Surovikin and Alekseyev were spotted in another telltale video, excitedly chatting with Mr Prigozhin in the Rostov-on-Don. These are all too much of a coincidence. There is every reason to believe the Russian military establishment knew about the Wagner rebellion beforehand.

Forced to Change Generals Frequently

Moreover, in itself, the ease with which Rostov-on-Don was taken over was mysterious. The city had armed guards all over. Yet, when the Wagners moved in, there were no guards. This made it possible to conquer Rostov-on-Don effortlessly. This could not have happened without assistance from the Russian armed forces. Or, was this rebellion a stagemanaged affair? Was this coup bid made under blessings from Mr Putin? Was this rebellion staged by Wagner with the goal of eliminating all those not backing his war in Ukraine?

Mr Prigozhin had griped very often about Russian defence and military officers not co-operating with him in Ukraine. He accused them of not supplying him adequate weapons. Mr Putin had thus to change his generals frequently in Ukraine. Since this did not help to resolve the issue permanently, he had to remove General Surovikin too and bring in General Gerasimov. Thus, General Surovikin was expected to stage anytime a rebellion, perhaps with Mr Prigozhin.

In Conclusion

It cannot be believed that Mr Putin and his army did not foresee the Wagner rebellion coming. It is quite possible that Mr Putin had wanted the rebellion to happen in his own style so that it could be put down easily. His idea was to emerge stronger post-rebellion. Stronger because the fissiparous and the dissenting sections in his armed forces must have been eliminated in the process. After all, the Wagner rebellion helped Mr Putin to identify disloyal army officers for elimination and weed them out. Eliminate all threats, current and future, to his authority. That was Mr Putin’s goal. He tried to achieve that in his signature style.