Despite the death of the founder of the Russian private military company Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the group will not be disbanded and will continue to carry out its functions, primarily in supporting dictatorial regimes.
Wagner has evolved into an organization that supports ruling regimes in many countries around the world, particularly in Africa. This group's actions have long reached the international level," said Alexander Mikhailov, a retired FSB general, in an interview with the Russian newspaper newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets.
According to Mikhailov, the individual who will lead the group must be more pragmatic and less authoritarian, but equally authoritative compared to Prigozhin and Utkin.
"Many have started talking about someone, a person whose name was mentioned not by just anyone, but by Vladimir Putin during his meeting with Prigozhin and the Wagner group in the Kremlin, which took place just a few days after the June 24 rebellion," writes MK. This person is Colonel Andrei Trofimovich Troshev, a retired Hero of Russia known as Sedoy. He holds the position of chief of staff of the Wagner PMCs and became the senior commander of the group after the leadership's demise.
During the aforementioned meeting, Putin proposed appointing Sedoy as the new commander for those PMC fighters who do not wish to "go to Belarus" along with Prigozhin, sign a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense, or return home. However, Prigozhin objected, stating that "the guys are not in agreement."
Another contender was named by the Telegram channel Ateo Breaking. According to their information, it is the "arms baron," the "merchant of death," Victor But. But, who was convicted in the US for illegal arms trade, was exchanged in December of last year for the American basketball player, Brittany Griner, who was detained in Russia.
However, in an interview with the internet publication Gazeta.ru, an associate of the "arms baron" refuted Ateo Breaking's statement, calling the information nonsense.
The third candidate is Vladimir Putin's personal "chemist" - Major General of the GRU, Andrei Averianov. This is the opinion of French investigative journalist Benoit Bringer, who produced a documentary film about Wagner PMC.
"It is quite likely that Putin needed time to secretly arrange the transition. This explains why he waited two months before getting rid of Prigozhin," said Bringer in an interview with the BBC news agency.
Averianov is referred to as a "chemist" because he leads the secret GRU unit 29155, which is linked to the execution of numerous covert operations, including the poisoning of Sergey and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury in March 2018.
Furthermore, British intelligence suspects that Averianov was involved in Prigozhin's death. It is claimed that this secretive general oversaw an operation to replace Wagner's mercenaries in African countries with 20,000 Russian soldiers and had a long-standing hostile relationship with Prigozhin.
Western officials continue to believe that the Russian president is likely behind the death of the founder of Wagner PMC: "Historically, Putin prefers cold revenge. So the method and timing of Prigozhin's death are not surprising. Many, including myself, thought that his days were numbered. There is a lot of talk surrounding the mentioned name (Averianov) as well. This is also not surprising."