Secrecy shrouded the funeral of Wagner’s mercenary leader, who was killed in a plane crash on August 23.
The funeral took place on Tuesday, out of sight of the media and in stark contrast to the brash, self-proclaimed style with which Prigozhin had stoked his reputation for cruelty and ambition far beyond Russia.
“The farewell to Eugene Viktorovitch took place in a closed format. Those wishing to say goodbye can visit the Porokhovskoye cemetery,” its press service said in a brief message on Telegram.
Photos posted on social media showed Prigozhin’s dark granite tombstone surrounded by a sea of flowers, mostly red roses, in the cemetery on the northeast edge of her hometown.
Secrecy shrouded the funeral of Wagner’s mercenary leader, who was killed in a plane crash on August 23, two months to the day after he staged a mutiny in the greatest challenge in power of President Vladimir Putin since he came to power in 1999.
PMC leader “Wagner” Eugene Prigozhin was buried in St. Petersburg.
Russian channels published a photo of Prigozhin’s grave, his father is buried nearby.
Peskov said today that Putin would not attend Prigozhin’s funeral. pic.twitter.com/CGLkIOZTjI
— Sprinter (@Sprinter99800) August 29, 2023
This meant the event could not be turned into a large-scale public show of support for Prigozhin, a brutal figure who was nonetheless admired by some in Russia for launching his fighters into the fiercest battles of the war in Ukraine. and having spoken openly about shortcomings. of the Russian army and its leaders.
In recent days, admirers have laid flowers at makeshift shrines to Prigozhin in Moscow, St. Petersburg and elsewhere.
The Kremlin has dismissed as an “absolute lie” the suggestion that Putin ordered his death in revenge for the June mutiny. It was announced on Tuesday that the president would not attend the funeral.
Two other Wagner figures, four bodyguards and three crew members were also killed when Prigozhin’s Embraer Legacy 600 private jet crashed north of Moscow.
It is still unclear exactly what caused the plane to crash, but villagers near the scene told Reuters news agency they heard a bang and then saw the plane crash to the ground.
After months of insulting Putin’s top brass with a variety of crude swearing and prison slang over their perceived failure to properly wage war in Ukraine, Prigozhin took control of the southern city of Rostov in late June.
He then walked towards Moscow before turning back 200 kilometers from the capital. Putin first presented Prigozhin as a traitor whose mutiny could have plunged Russia into civil war, although he later struck a deal with him to defuse the crisis.
The day after the crash, Putin offered his condolences to the families of those killed and said he had known Prigozhin for a very long time, dating back to the chaotic years of the early 1990s.
“He was a man with a difficult fate and he made serious mistakes in life,” Putin said, while describing him as a talented businessman.
Prior to the mutiny, Prigozhin had joked that his nickname should have been “Putin’s Butcher” rather than “Putin’s Chef” – a nickname acquired after his catering company won contracts with the Kremlin.
He has always declared his loyalty to Putin, even though he said his defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, was so incompetent he should be executed for his treason.
After Prigozhin’s death, Putin ordered Wagner’s fighters to sign an oath of allegiance to the Russian state – a move that Prigozhin had opposed due to his anger at the Defense Ministry, which he said , risked losing the war in Ukraine.
Investigators said on Sunday that genetic testing had confirmed the identities of the 10 people killed in the crash, which also included two pilots and a flight attendant.
On Tuesday, Valery Chekalov, Wagner’s logistics chief, was buried in another cemetery in St. Petersburg.