Moscow has no one and nothing to defend
The mutiny of PMC Wagner showed how defenseless the Russian rear is. The mercenaries first crossed the “old” Russian-Ukrainian border (despite the formal annexation of the Luhansk region, checkpoints remain there), then they took control of the headquarters of the Southern Military District (and concurrently the main command post for commanding a group of troops in Ukraine), blocked several administrative buildings in the center of Rostov-on-Don, and then almost reached Moscow.
According to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the advance detachments were 200 km from the capital (although the northernmost point where the presence of mercenaries was confirmed was the village of Krasnoye in the Lipetsk region, 380 km from the Moscow Ring Road). In total, according to Prigozhin, the Wagnerites covered 780 km in a day (this figure seems somewhat exaggerated, but they definitely covered at least 500 km). At the same time, PMC fighters almost never met resistance, with the exception of a couple of episodes when crossing the border and in the Voronezh region. Apparently, the law enforcement agencies simply could not find and promptly deploy any combat-ready army units equipped with heavy equipment: artillery pieces and tanks.
As a result, the honorable mission to stop the columns moving towards the capital was assigned to tractor drivers who dug up the roads with buckets, and traffic police crews who tried to block the passage of trucks and construction equipment. In the Z-channels, they literally made fun of the “thin” checkpoints of the Russian Guard, the heaviest weapon on one of which was a 40-mm automatic grenade launcher AGS-17, useless against tanks (although anti-tank weapons were also seen at some checkpoints). The only recorded movement of any heavy equipment in central Russia on June 24 was a battery of six D-30 howitzers reportedly transferred from the Nizhny Novgorod region.
The mission to stop the Wagner columns moving towards the capital was assigned to tractor drivers and traffic police crews
In this light, the version of Alexander Lukashenko, according to which only the threat to transfer the Belarusian brigade to the defense of Moscow convinced Prigozhin to deploy columns, does not look so fantastic. On the evening of June 24, five empty Il-76 military transport aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces actually arrived in Belarus, and the next day they flew back empty as well.
Kadyrovites are not only tik tokers, but also slow poke
An anecdotal story happened to the formations of the Russian Guard staffed by Chechens, better known as the personal guards of the head of the region, Ramzan Kadyrov. They were probably the only ones taken out of the war zone in Ukraine and sent to Rostov-on-Don. All the time that the Wagnerites were in the city, the Kadyrovites were driving there or standing in a traffic jam. In the end, they never managed to get to Rostov and meet with the Wagner PMC.
But they quite unexpectedly ended up on a bridge in Kolomna near Moscow, where they recorded a ridiculously pretentious staged video in the spirit of the best examples of creativity that glorified them at the beginning of the Ukrainian campaign as “tik-tok troops”. In it, servicemen of the 249th separate special motorized battalion "South" from the 46th separate operational brigade of the National Guard promise, with the "help of Almighty Allah", "to bury traitors, traitors to the motherland" and chant "Akhmat strength" and "Allahu akbar".
It is worth noting that in any case they would not have been able to translate their threats into reality, since the M-4 federal highway, chosen by the Wagnerites as the direction of movement to Moscow, does not pass through Kolomna.
The situation was further confused by Vladimir Putin, who announced on June 27 at an extremely strange ceremony of reviewing forces loyal to the regime on the Cathedral Square of the Kremlin that “it was not necessary to remove combat units from the NVO zone”. In this case, either the Chechen units of the National Guard went to Rostov-on-Don and Kolomna not from the front (which contradicts the statements of the commander of the Akhmat special forces), or Putin does not fully consider them "combat units" (which is generally true) .
Security forces surrender and refuse to follow orders
A significant part of the security forces from various departments simply refused to follow orders. In Rostov-on-Don, the Russian guards ignored the passage of PMC columns, and at the Bugaevka border point they completely surrendered along with the border guards. Against the background of these events, celebrations in the Kremlin in honor of the supposedly suppressed rebellion caused outrage among the Z-public.
In Rostov-on-Don, the Russian guards ignored the columns of PMCs, and in Bugaevka they completely surrendered
Prigozhin himself spoke of a pilot "from the FSB" who did not strike at the convoy. According to information from a number of Z-channels, the border guards did not try to stop the superior forces of the mercenaries, and at least four crews of the Russian Aerospace Forces, under the pretext of having civilian vehicles near the Wagnerites, refrained from using fire weapons.
Even Z-doers like Air Force Colonel Viktor Alksnis find these arguments weak . Alksnis rightly notes that the Russian pilots did not take into account the risks to the civilian population when they attacked the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Mariupol, Maryinka, Avdiivka and other cities.
Best of all, the mindset of the siloviki corps during the rebellion is shown by an example from the Rostov region. There, local traffic cops demanded bribes from motorists for driving on closed roads, threatening to send them on a 1.5 thousand km detour if they refused.
In which case Voronezh will be bombed
During the Wagner rebellion, air strikes on the Voronezh region were recorded - the vitality of the famous phrase-meme "bomb Voronezh" was finally confirmed. If the defeat of the oil depot on the outskirts of the city is explained by the miss of the Wagner air defense system on an attack helicopter, then in the area of the city of Boguchar along the VKS route, it was quite intentionally “worked out” by high-explosive bombs (FABs).
True, the air bombardment did not have any significant effect on the movement of the rebel columns: according to the Oryx OSINT project, it was possible to destroy one armored car and two pickups and trucks (in total , up to 1000 pieces of equipment took part in the campaign against Moscow). According to one of the videos (carefully, shocking footage), two people died in the ranks of PMCs as a result of strikes. In addition, five civilians were injured .
A column with military air defense is very difficult to stop
The Wagnerites showed a master class of marching along highways with mechanized columns in the face of opposition from the air (albeit very limited). In just a day, they shot down at least six helicopters and a plane - the Il-22 air control center.
It also worked in their favor that the mercenaries moved in the stream with civilian vehicles and themselves moved in trucks and unidentifiable cars. Thus, given the shortage of high-precision guided weapons, aviation could only strike with FABs with obviously high casualties among the civilian population, and there were no units loyal to the Kremlin with a comparable set of forces and means on the ground.
Paradoxically, the rapid advance of the Wagnerite columns across Russia probably largely corresponded to the ideas of the Russian military-political leadership. True, instead of "Kyiv in three days", Prigozhin's mercenaries almost succeeded in the operation "Moscow in one day".
Instead of the operation "Kyiv in three days", the Wagnerites almost got "Moscow in one day"
Wagner's private military company was not private at all
On June 27, Vladimir Putin held a meeting in the Kremlin with the military personnel of the Ministry of Defense and told an incredibly lot of interesting things about the finances of Wagner PMC. In particular, it turned out that the activities of this supposedly “private military company” during the war against Ukraine were fully supported from the budget. According to Putin, from May 2022 to May 2023, more than 86 billion rubles were paid for the wages of the Wagnerites and incentive payments (apparently, they mean bonuses for destroyed enemy equipment). Insurance payments for the same period amounted to over 110 billion rubles. Thus, during the year of hostilities in Ukraine, PMC Wagner cost Russian taxpayers almost 200 billion rubles, and this is without taking into account the supply of weapons, military equipment and ammunition, which, as you know, lay on the shoulders of the Ministry of Defense.
For a year of hostilities in Ukraine, PMC Wagner cost Russian taxpayers almost 200 billion rubles
Moreover, Prigozhin’s Concord company during this time earned 80 billion rubles on state contracts for the supply of products to Voentorg and catering in the army, and Putin, talking about this, expressed a touching hope that “in the course of these works, no one stole anything or, shall we say, stole a smaller one.”
It is completely incomprehensible how exactly an absolutely illegal armed formation was financed from the state treasury. Moreover, Yevgeny Prigozhin himself said that the Wagner PMC has always fundamentally used exclusively cash, and when they worked in Africa, Ukraine, "nightmare America", then "everyone was satisfied with cash." It turns out that Putin admitted the existence of an official mechanism for "cashing out" budget funds.
The word of the president in Russia is above the law
Not the most sensational discovery in the 24th year of Putin's rule, but still very revealing and in some ways even discouraging. In an address on the morning of June 24, the President of Russia threatened everyone “who deliberately embarked on the path of betrayal, who prepared an armed rebellion, embarked on the path of blackmail and terrorist methods” with inevitable punishment and an answer “before the law and the people.”
And just a couple of days later, he was already expressing gratitude to the soldiers and commanders of the Wagner PMC, who "changed their minds" and "stopped at the last line." Putin also confirmed that he had promised not to persecute the participants in the rebellion, giving them a choice: sign a contract with the Ministry of Defense, go home to relatives and friends, or "leave for Belarus."
Fulfilling the promise of the national leader, the FSB closed the criminal case on the fact of the armed rebellion, since the participants in the events "stopped actions directly aimed at committing a crime." But, from the point of view of the current norms of law , "armed rebellion" refers to the so-called "formal" elements of the crime. They are considered completed from the moment certain actions are performed - it does not matter if there are any consequences. Thus, the specified ground - "participants in the armed rebellion stopped actions directly aimed at committing a crime" - is not provided for by Russian law.
In this regard, the usually talkative propagandist Margarita Simonyan, who prudently remained silent throughout the active phase of the rebellion, gave an excellent justification for the conventionality of legal norms in Russia:
Legal norms are not the commandments of Christ or the tablets of Moses. They are written by people to protect law and order and stability in the country. And if in some exceptional critical cases it turns out that they cease to perform their function, and perform the opposite, then they go into the woods.
Russian military can be killed with impunity (but not all)
Yevgeny Prigozhin claims that during the rebellion, Wagner PMC mercenaries did not kill a single soldier on earth . This is an important caveat, since there were at least 8 people on the downed IL-22 alone. The death of at least three people from the crews of the Ka-52 and Mi-8MTPR helicopters has also been reliably established . In addition, there was information about at least two killed border guards, but formally they are not military personnel, since the Border Guard Service is part of the FSB.
Vladimir Putin spoke several times about the courage and heroism of the pilots who saved "Russia from tragic devastating consequences" (although it is not completely clear what the heroism of the crews of the Il-22 aircraft and helicopters that did not carry any weapons consisted of), announced a minute of silence in their honor, but he never bothered to tell personally or through the Ministry of Defense who exactly died and under what circumstances. Moreover, it is still unknown who will be responsible for the servicemen killed on the territory of Russia if the criminal case on the rebellion is dismissed, and the case on the fact of the murder of the pilots, probably, was not even initiated .
It is still unknown who will be responsible for the soldiers killed not at the front
GRU has been working with PMC Wagner since 2014
This was known earlier from journalistic investigations , but now the fact of cooperation between the GRU (as the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces is usually called) with the illegal armed formation of PMC Wagner has been officially confirmed by the lips of the first deputy head of the structure, Lieutenant General Vladimir Alekseev. In a video message designed to stop the Wagner columns, he stated that he had been carrying out "combat missions" with them since the company's inception, in 2014-2016.
It is worth recalling here that back in February 2022, Putin denied any involvement of the Russian state in the Wagner PMC, and in May of the same year, Foreign Minister Lavrov assured journalists that talk about the presence of company fighters in Ukraine was intended to divert the attention of the world community from sending Western mercenaries.
The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation hides the corpses of dead soldiers
In one of the very first voice messages published at the beginning of the rebellion, Yevgeny Prigozhin said that on the orders of Sergei Shoigu, two thousand bodies were hidden in the morgues of Rostov-on-Don in order to hide the scale of losses among the Russian military during the current counter-offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Already from the captured headquarters of the Southern Military District, Prigozhin spoke about “sanitary losses” of up to a thousand people a day (although he incorrectly included in this category not only the wounded, sick, shell-shocked, but also killed, missing and “refuseniks”) and about that in the documents submitted "upstairs", the number of dead soldiers is underestimated by 3-4 times. None of the representatives of the Ministry of Defense has yet commented on or denied the statements made.