Prigozhin’s rebellion is no evidence of a collapse of statehood and law and order. In Putin’s Russia, there has been no such thing as the state or the rule of law for a long time. It is a conglomeration of gangs of thieves, slightly draped with the increasingly sliding from it decorations of statehood, which there is no point in saving. Prigozhin’s mutiny has only exposed this fact.
The most dangerous of all the gangster groups that make up this conglomerate is the Putin clique. It is a clique of geopolitical maniacs, obsessed with a thirst for subjugation and domination. It is pushing the world into nuclear war and is indeed capable of doing so. Therefore, it is not just the greatest, but the ultimate evil. Whichever other gangster group succeeds Putin’s in power, removing this gang of maniacs from the historical arena would be good for the country and for the world.
One of the strongest gangster groups of Putin’s Russia is the mercenary condottieri of Yevgeny Prigozhin. This is a typical formation of “dogs of war” for whom war is a way of life. But compared to Putin’s maniacs, even they have proven to be more “rational scoundrels”. The logic of the intraspecies struggle forced Prigozhin to say at least some of the truth about Putin’s regime publicly, destroying the basic tenets of his propaganda mythology. Prigozhin admitted that it was Russia itself that had been bleeding for eight years in the Donbass, that no one was going to attack Russia-not NATO, not Ukraine. That the war was unleashed by Putin’s oligarchy to satisfy its lust for power and greed.
In fact, Prigozhin came close to the revolutionary-democratic slogan “Down with War!” although he did not take this final step. Bandits, brigands, and condottieri have more than once found themselves at the head of social protests, and at times tried to ride this wave themselves. But, lacking strong convictions and moral principles, such adventurers could never be consistent fighters for freedom and justice. This is why Prigozhin’s rebellion ended with a parody gang “shootout” and an agreement “according to the terms”.
The Wagner uprising did not turn into a revolution, or at least a coup, also because the “patriotic” mass, to which Prigozhin appealed, turned out to be too atomized and non-subjective. It is incapable of acting independently and cannot be raised to do anything. This is what the Kremlin’s decades-long imposition of totalitarian, aggressive imperial ideology has made it so.
This mass is hardly impressed by Prigozhin’s admission that “in fact it was us who attacked Ukraine. It knows this. It just doesn’t see it as “no big deal”. Why not take someone else’s if we will get nothing for it? Prigozhin failed to tell the “patriotic” masses that they should not take what is not theirs, and he would hardly inspire them if he could. At most, what a “rational scoundrel” can do is explain that it was impossible to take someone else’s property.
The few supporters of democratic values also found themselves in the role of passive observers. Only a few of them dared to say openly that they wished success to anyone who would risk overthrowing Putin’s clique. Meanwhile, the farcical conclusion of Prigozhin’s rebellion does not eliminate any of the problems that caused it, but only intensifies them. The Putin regime has publicly demonstrated its weakness. His security machine, for all its seemingly impressive size, was clearly not eager to go to war with the putschists. Obviously, a good portion of it was openly sympathetic to the Putin regime.
Such events can happen again at any time. Any sufficiently audacious adventurer can bring down a political edifice, based entirely on lies and falsehoods. And the democratic forces should be less likely to take it upon themselves to justify themselves with the excuse that “this is not our war,” or that “you can’t push the country into civil war”. The civil war in Russia is already going on, and it is our civil war. The war against the “criminals who have seized the state and made it the instrument of their crimes”. The war against the people who decided that they may take someone else’s things, and who have begun to do so in practice. These are our enemies in the civil war. And any force that raises its arms against these people should not just be supported. It must be encouraged to do so. And then to engage in the process and “promote their agenda”. This agenda is very simple: you can not take what is not yours.