Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin faces smear campaign by powerful enemies

Russia: Yevgeny Prigozhin's employee detained in Moscow

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An old video of Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin has surfaced online which is reportedly been uploaded to bring him down, a news report has claimed. According to the Times, crime boss Sasha Kurara claimed that Prigozhin had performed oral sex on him and other inmates in an expletive-strewn online video.

Mr Kurara claimed: “He knew his place and he agreed to his place.

“He is a f*****g f****t, a petukh, and anyone who goes into Wagner is a f****t too.”

Figures in the Kremlin have claimed that the video was a smear campaign against Prigozhin that had been orchestrated by Kyiv.

However, others suggested that it was an attempt by Prigozhin’s foes within the Russian military or security services to cut him down to size.

Although Kurara described himself as a crime boss who had served 24 years in prison, experts said that he was likely to have exaggerated his importance within Russia’s criminal hierarchy.

Prigozhin, 61, has been making even more enemies of late.

British author Mark Galeotti said: “Prigozhin, never a widely popular man within the elite, has been making even more enemies of late, including within a security apparatus that think he’s getting a bit too big for his boots.”

Mr Galeotti also told the Times: “‘Sasha Kurara’ doesn’t seem to have any real authority or profile within the Russian underworld, so it is hard to think someone like that would pick a fight with Prigozhin on his own initiative.

“The suspicion must be that this was initiated or encouraged by one of Prigozhin’s many enemies.”

Oleksiy Arestovich, a Ukrainian presidential adviser, told the publication that it was unclear if the accusations were genuine or if they were the result of a plot against Prigozhin.

He added that the video had the potential to turn Prigozhin into a “toxic” figure among Wagner fighters.

Mr Arestovich wrote on Telegram: “A loss of credibility could cost him his influence, as well as the [Kremlin’s] support and funding of his activities.”

He was awarded the Hero of Russia medal, one of the country’s top honours.

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He is even said to give orders to Russian military officials.

A vocal supporter of the Kremlin’s invasion, Prigozhin’s access to Russian President Vladimir Putin is believed to rival that of the country’s defence and foreign ministers.

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