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Who Holds The Keys To Russia’s ‘Empire’?


As Russia intensifies its war against Ukraine in the aftermath of the Crimea bridge explosion and NATO’s push to expand membership to Sweden and Finland, it may be a frightening show of power, but Moscow’s house is in severe disarray and this distraction won’t change that. The Wagner paramilitary mutiny, though it failed, will have major repercussions far beyond Russia’s borders. This isn’t just about how useful Prigozhin has been in fighting the war in Ukraine (or, conversely, how disorganized and ineffective the Russian military establishment has been). This is about Prigozhin’s influence in far-flung Russian footholds, including geopolitical hotspots such as Syria, Libya, and Sudan.

So, what happens now in Syria, where Prigozhin actually owns oil assets as part of his ‘payment’ for off-the-book mercenary services in the Kremlin’s interest? What happens in Libya, where the game of external forces and alliances is shifting while rival Libyan governments are no closer to a resolution that could stave off another civil war; and where General Haftar’s forces (supported by Wagner) are poised to pounce on export terminals to blockade oil again? What happens in Sudan?

We have to remember that Prigozhin is not just a force butting heads with Putin; he is a global force. In Sudan, Prigozhin all the military (mercenary) assistance the former regime of President Omar al-Bashir received from Russia was paid for in lucrative pieces of the country’s natural resources pie (oil,…

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