The Coup That Wasn't
Yevgeny Prigozhin's challenge to Putin ended fast. How much will it matter going forward?
The dramatic mutiny staged by Wagner Mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin is over. On June 24, Priogzhin announced that his convoy had turned away from Moscow and was headed back to military bases. According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, under an agreement brokered by Belarusian dictator Aleksandr Lukashenko, Prigozhin will go to Belarus and the criminal case would be dropped against him.
As of June 26, there is no independent confirmation that Prigozhin is actually in Belarus; his whereabouts remain unknown. Putin has also not appeared publicly since June 24. On June 26, Russia's Ministry of Defense released a video showing Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited troops in Russian-occupied Ukraine; he was one of the targets of Prigozhin's ire. (Update: It’s unclear when exactly the Shoigu video was filmed.)
After Prigozhin's rebellion burst an elite split out into the open, Russian politics has reverted to the norm of being conducted out of sight. What does this show about Russia's leadership structure? What about Ukraine?