Non-stop Russian propaganda leads to Wagner revolt | Unpublished

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Unpublished Opinions

James OGrady's picture
Ottawa, Ontario
About the author

I am the founder of Unpublished Media Inc., a company I started in 2012. I am also a communications professional and community activist, living in Nepean, Ontario. And, I am a hockey goaltender, political hack and most importantly, an advocate for grassroots, participatory democracy at all levels of government.

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Non-stop Russian propaganda leads to Wagner revolt

June 28, 2023

25000 battle hardened mercenaries marched to within 200 KM of Moscow because their boss Yevgeny Prigozhin believed the Kremlin lied about the reasons for the war in Ukraine. 

Saturday, the head of the Wagner mercenary group Yevgeny Pregozhin marched his troops out of Ukraine to the city of Rostov-on-Don, a city of 1.1 million people, where his mercenaries occupied the military command centre for the war in Ukraine, in Southwestern Russia.

If you haven’t been following along, Pregozhin, a former inmate, rose to power by first becoming Vladimir “Putin’s Chef”, as he became known through a catering business he ran. Wagner’s mercenaries have been acting on behalf of the Kremlin around the world, doing things even the Russian military can’t or won’t do. They are known to be ruthless in their tactics. In Syria they smashed the hands and feet of a prisoner with a sledgehammer and recorded it on video. The prisoner later died. In Ukraine they have reportedly tortured and even beheaded prisoners of war. Not to mention killing any of their own who show “cowardice”. 

Prigozhin’s Wagner mercenaries proved themselves militarily in the battle for Bakhmut, in Eastern Ukraine. After a long, drawn out six month campaign to take Bakhmut, which razed the city to the ground, Prigozhin pulled his troops out and retired to a camp in Russian occupied Ukraine to rest. He claimed his fighters were exhausted.

Despite his successes on the battlefield, Pregozhin has been a harsh critic of Russia’s top military commanders, calling them out for short changing his troops of weapons and ammunition. Criticizing their leadership ability and willingness to let Russian troops die en-masse without proper training and equipment. At the beginning, they didn’t even have proper winter clothing or food to sustain them. It’s not like this hasn’t been Russia’s military strategy for the last 200 years, but one wonders why it hasn’t changed. And, why Russia’s military commanders seem to value the lives of their own troops so little.

From the very start of Russia’s invasion it’s been clear Putin’s army was poorly equipped. Who can forget the convoy of green Russian recruits who ran out of gas on the way to Kyiv? Only to be picked off one by one by Ukrainian defence forces. I still feel for those guys. We heard afterwards from the captured that they had been duped by their own commanders into thinking it was a training exercise.

Of late Pregozin has been raging on what he calls the Kremlin’s misinformation campaign about the progress of the invasion and the number of casualties Russia has suffered. In a video post on Telegram from Rostov, he says he’s discovered, after General Gerasimov fled the city, that Russia’s casualties are 3 to 4 times greater than what has been officially reported. While we in the West know this to be true, to hear it from a Russian military commander in such a way, is unprecedented.

Most notable of all Prigozhin’s rants against the Russian hierarchy was his statement Friday that Ukraine and NATO were not threatening to invade Russia in February 2022. “There was nothing unusual going on February 24, 2022”. (See videos below)

This is the first time we’ve seen such a strong challenge to Vladimir Putin’s leadership or any Russian President’s leadership since Stalin. The reason for Wagner's mutiny was to remove the source of war misinformation and propaganda, Russian General Shoigu no less. Someone Prigozhin has continuously blamed for starting the war and misleading Putin about the condition and strength of the Russian army.

Shoigu is a closer personal friend of Putin’s, so it is unlikely Prigozhin’s attacks will dissuade Putin from supporting Shoigu. Nevertheless, for a Russian mercenary to threaten the leadership of the nation over propaganda, something Prigozhin himself engaged in during the 2016 US federal election to help elect Republican candidate Donald Trump, through Russian social media influence farms  he set up in his home town of St. Petersburg, is completely unprecedented.

Unprecedented because modern day Russia and the Soviet Union before it, is/was built on propaganda. Non-stop lying from the Kremlin has gone unchecked for more than a 100 years, but now, when they are finally losing a military battle, we see the facade crack and begin to crumble.

The problem with using non-stop propaganda to mislead the public, despite the obvious, is that you become vulnerable to the truth. There is no greater defence than the truth because it can’t be challenged. It is what it is.

It’s taken far too long, but finally, the Russian people have seen that their emperor has no clothes. Now let’s see what impact the truth has on their actions. If they are truly Christians, they will force Putin to bring an end to his unprovoked and unjustified war in Ukraine.

One can hope…