Putin Blasts Deep State for Attempting Coup in Russia: “I Will CRUSH You”

Update(1735ET): This entirely bizarre slightly less than 24-hour short-lived coup attempt has just gotten even stranger, given the terms of the truce which evidently caused Evgeny Prigozhin to announce his Wagner fighter columns would turn around and go back to their bases.

The Wall Street Journal has confirmed based on Kremlin statements that "As part of the agreement, Prigozhin will leave Russia for Belarus, and criminal charges against him will be dropped, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. His fighters will be allowed to sign contracts with the Russian military."

And Russia's RT provides some further details as follows based on Peskov's statement:

"He added that Wagner's fighters will not be persecuted, taking into account their efforts on the frontlines of the Ukraine conflict. Peskov explained that President Vladimir Putin's team "have always respected their exploits."

Those PMC contractors, who refused to take part in the mutiny – and whole units did not – will be allowed to sign contracts with the Russian Defense Ministry, Peskov stated.

Can this even be called "exile"?... given that Kremlin statements at this point aren't even so much as using the word which has a clear punitive implication. The irony remains that one can get a much harsher punishment for mere Cannabis vape pens in the country. In summary:

  • charges dropped against Prigozhin, who will leave Russia for Belarus
  • Wagner fighters who didn't take part in the uprising will sign contracts with the MOD
  • Wagner fighters who did take part not charged 
  • No word on potential MOD leadership changes

What's clear is that it does indeed look to be over, with no further immediate danger of civil conflict:

Sputnik is further confirming Wagner has handed HQ/bases in Rostov-on-Don back to the regular military:

Despite the slap on the wrist (if even), the Kremlin is still talking "tough":

"The plotters' adventurist aspirations are essentially aimed at destabilizing the situation in Russia, destroying our unity and undermining Russia's efforts to reliably ensure international security," the Foreign Ministry said. "The mutiny plays into the hands of Russia's external enemies."

"The attempted armed mutiny in our country has aroused strong disapproval in Russian society, which firmly supports President Vladimir Putin," the Foreign Ministry said.

Regardless the speculation has begun, and is likely to continue for the coming days and weeks, over what precisely the world just witnessed here...

One theory seems as good as any other at this point, again given the ultra-bizarre spectacle of the whole "march for justice" on Moscow... by convoys of heavily armed mercenaries.

And then there was the heavy defense ministry pressure to essentially disband Wagner amid the long-running simmering tensions and war of words:

There's always the potential foreign 'hidden hand' theory behind any major insurrection like this, especially when it comes to a US-NATO enemy...

And finally, maybe Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has it right: old fashioned greed and glory (which Machiavelli warned about all the way back in the 16th century). Here's Kadyrov on Prigozin's actions:

"I thought that some people can be trusted. That they sincerely love their Motherland as real patriots to the marrow of their bones. But it turned out that for the sake of personal ambitions, profit and because of arrogance, people can not give a damn about affection and love for the Fatherland."

Perhaps the truth will eventually emerge of the events over the last 24 hours, but what's clear is that Moscow wants to make this whole episode go away as rapidly as the crisis began, and is not even moving to arrest Prigozhin to make that happen. He will now just quietly "go away"... maybe a little vacation of sorts, into neighboring Belarus.

* * *

Update(1325ET): An emerging Russian state media headlinePrigozhin Agrees to Stop PMC Wagner March, Start De-Escalation After Lukashenko's Mediation...

Belarusian president held talks with Prigozhin today. Lukashenko says that Prigozhin has agreed to "stop the movement of armed persons on the territory of Russia and to take further steps to deescalate."

Prigozhin has reportedly accepted Lukashenka's proposal to stop the movement of PMC Wagner, according to Russian state media TASS. Reuters is also reporting the Kremlin-backed statements. Did we just witness a 22-hour coup? All over now?

Lavrov: Russia retains control over tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus — TASS

According to RT's reporting:

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announced on Saturday that he had arranged a deal whereby Wagner Group leader Evgeny Prigozhin will abandon his mutiny in exchange for “security guarantees” for his fighters.

“Evgeny Prigozhin accepted the proposal of President Alexander Lukashenko to stop the movement of armed men of Wagner in Russia and take further steps to de-escalate tension,” read a statement from Lukashenko's office.

Will Prigozhin be given safe harbor after the treason charge?

As for the Belarus-related ceasefire deal, there's been no initial confirmation from Wagner Telegram or media channels on a "done deal". There are conflicting reports that peace negotiations might be unsuccessful. 

But Reuters is reporting, Prigozhin in audio message: To avoid bloodshed we are returning our convoys to bases.


Russian President Vladimir Putin has blasted the ‘Deep State’ for attempting a coup d’etat in Russia, and has warned the West that he will crush any attempt at overriding the will of the Russian people.

In his first speech addressing Wagner’s armed rebellion on Saturday morning, Putin called Yevgeny Prigozhin’s coup attempt a massive “betrayal”.

Southern governors have confirmed armed clashes between regular military forces and CIA-led Wagner fighters within Russian territory.

“Any internal turmoil is a deadly threat to our statehood and to us as a nation. This is a blow to Russia and to our people,” Putin declared in the televised speech.

“This battle, when the fate of our people is being decided, requires the unification of all forces.”

“What we have been faced with is exactly betrayal. Extravagant ambitions and personal interests led to treason,” Putin warned, referring to Prigozhin, head of the most powerful private military firm in Russia.

“All those who consciously stood on the path of betrayal, who prepared an armed rebellion, stood on the path of blackmail and terrorist methods, will suffer inevitable punishment, before the law and before our people,” Putin promised.

Infowars.com reports: He further in fiery language denounced the “stab in the back of our country and our people,” after Prigozhin the day prior declared war against the defense ministry, urging all Russians to join his 25,000 fighters as they seek to “stop” and overthrow Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and other top commanders.

In response to Putin’s blistering speech, Prigozhin released a Telegram statement calling the president “deeply mistaken” regarding his assessment of betrayal of the motherland, refusing to surrender. The audio message released by his press service said as follows

“Regarding the ‘betrayal of the motherland,’ the president is deeply mistaken. We are patriots of our Motherland, we fought and are fighting, all the fighters of the PMC Wagner.”

“And no one is going to turn themselves in at the request of the president, the FSB or anyone else,” he added.

This marks the first time he’s directed criticism precisely in response to Putin, as before he appeared to carefully avoid direct references to the Russian leader in his denunciations of military planning and Kremlin decision-making.

Below summarizes fast-moving events of the last few hours:

  • Putin 5 min speech: accuses Prigozhin of betrayal, vows decisive action 
  • Wagner controls facilities in Rostov & Voronezh, M4 highway disrupted. Rebellion continues 
  • Chechen Kadyrov mobilizes to help Putin. Russia FM warns of ‘civil strife’

Civilians have reportedly been ordered away from all military command centers in the now Wagner-held city center of Rostov-on-Don.

The Wagner chief in his response harped on the familiar theme of the defense ministry’s “corruption, deceit, and bureaucracy” and emphasized that his own fighters are patriotic and doing their duty.

“When we were told that we were at war with Ukraine, we went and fought. But it turned out that ammunition, weapons, all the money that was allocated is also being stolen, and the bureaucrats are sitting [idly], saving it for themselves, just for the occasion that happened today, when someone [is] marching to Moscow,” he said.

It is the second time since Russian authorities (the FSB) declared Prigozhin was engaging in ‘armed munity’ that the Wagner chief declared a “march of justice” on Moscow. As for the capital (and other major cities), the military and security services have been ordered by the Kremlin to secure the streets and beef up their presence.

Crucially, Wagner has declared control of the military command center and bases in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, a claim which some emerging videos appear to give some degree of authentication to…

“Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, once a close Putin ally, said his troops had taken control of the military command centre and bases in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, the nerve centre of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine, and vowed to topple Moscow’s top military leaders,” AFP is noting.

The fight is on, and could spread further north, engaging political centers of the country:

Further north, on Wagner’s possible route towards Moscow, the governor of Russia’s Voronezh region said the armed forces had launched a “counter-terrorist operation” to suppress the revoltA fuel depot on Voronezh city was on fire, he said.

The FSB security service accused Prigozhin of attempting to launch a “civil conflict” and urged Wagner fighters to detain him.

Russian police have moved against Wagner’s headquarters in St. Petersburg, where things have been largely without incident thus far:

Active fighting, even including with air power, has erupted as Wagner convoys seek to make their way north, deeper into Russia…

Meanwhile, this will without doubt be a huge blow to the morale of both Russian troops and Wagner fighters alike along the frontlines inside Ukraine. It’s as yet unclear the degree to which Wagner has withdrawn from the Eastern Ukraine theatre, though it’s now been confirmed that Wagner forces had marched into Rostov overnight.

Kiev will smell a grand ‘opportunity’. It along with its Western backers are closely monitoring, with Ukraine officials saying this “rebellion” is a “sign of the collapse of the Putin regime.”

“The internal Russian confrontation between the leader of the so-called Wagner PMC Prigozhin and the military and political leadership of the aggressor state is a sign of the collapse of the Putin regime,” a statement by the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine said.

“First of all, we must understand that this is an internal Russian conflict and confrontation which are a direct consequence of the Putin regime’s criminal military aggression against Ukraine,” the statement cited in CNN added.

It must be remembered that these shocking events which threaten to unleash chaos within Russia come at a moment that by many accounts Ukraine’s counteroffensive appeared to be failing. President Zelensky himself at the start of the week had conceded a “slower than desired” start to the offensive. But now this could breath new life into it amid reports Ukraine is taking the opportunity to assault front lines. 

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Zelensky, told a Saturday press conference: “The launch of the Ukrainian counteroffensive has finally destabilized the Russian elites, exacerbating the internal split that emerged after the defeat in Ukraine.” Time will tell if Russian commanders can keep their frontlines unified even as things crumble with the Wagner situation.

Below are key excerpts from Putin’s Saturday speech vowing to crush the Wagner rebellion, as translated and compiled by state-run RT:

Importance of unity

President Putin argued that “Russia is today waging a grueling fight for its future,” facing off with the “neo-Nazis and their masters.” He went on to stress that “essentially the entire might of the West’s military, economic and information machine” is being directed against the country.

This battle, when the fate of our people is being decided,” calls for national unity and consolidation, Putin said in his address. According to the president, all internal conflicts and bickering must be put aside at present as “our external enemies can and use them to undermine us internally.

The Russian head of state emphasized that any actions driving a wedge between Russians are nothing short of “backstabbing of our country and our people.

Bitter history lessons

Putin reminded Russians that a similar scenario played out in the country in 1917, when it was in the middle of World War I. He recounted how “intrigues, bickering, politicking behind the army’s and the people’s back” led to the “collapse of the state,” and the “tragedy of the Civil War.

Russians were killing Russians, brothers were killing brothers, while various political adventurers and foreign powers were capitalizing on it,” the president said.

Putin vowed to prevent this from happening as well as to defend Russia and its people, “including from internal mutiny.

Nature of the threat

In his address, Putin clearly labelled the PMC coup attempt as a “betrayal.” He cited “enormous ambitions and personal interests” of certain individuals as the reasons behind this “betrayal of their country and its people.” He went on to accuse those responsible, without naming Prigozhin in particular, of turning their back on the joint military cause in Ukraine and the memory of the fallen fighters.

If successful, the coup would lead to “anarchy and fratricide,” resulting, in the long run, in Russia’s “defeat” and “capitulation,” according to Putin.

The president characterized “any internal mutiny” as a death threat to the Russian state and nation. The president pledged to take “tough measures” against the mutineers, who have “willingly entered the path of betrayal” and prepared “armed insurrection.

Those responsible will be brought to account before the Russian people, the president assured the public.

(Article by Sean Adl-Tabatabai republished from ThePeoplesVoice.tv)

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