Here’s What’s Next for Russian Rebels

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Following its somewhat failed rebellion, the Wagner Groups is facing multiple changes. Prigozhin and his core group of mercenaries will relocate to Belarus under an agreement, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. Wagner troops are currently in their rear area camps in Ukraine, and have begun to turn in their heavy weapons.

Putin made a show of mercy with the mercenaries, calling them patriots, and encouraging them to sign up directly with the Russian military. He also gave them an option to return to their homes or follow Prighozin into Belarus, where Wagner troops will be shoring up defenses and acting as a threat to Kyiv.

Prighozin’s legal troubles might not be over however. The Wall Street Journal continues:

While Putin offered an amnesty to Wagner’s troops and leaders for the attempted mutiny, on Tuesday he hinted that Prigozhin and other leaders could still be prosecuted—for corruption.

The Russian Rosgvardiya (National Guard), the internal troops responsible for control of Russian territory, will be acquiring heavy armament such as tanks and artillery. Previously focused on Islamic terrorism and organized crime, internal troops and special units under Rosgvardiya hadn’t had to contend with facing military forces since 1991. Should Wagner had marched on Moscow, it would have likely faced the first rate ODON division of the Rosgvardiya.

The discontent within the army—already high because of large losses in the badly planned Ukrainian war—drives the urgency to bolster its counterweight, the Russian National Guard, with more powerful weapons. The National Guard has remained relatively unscathed by the fighting so far. “It’s divide and rule, in case someone else becomes a traitor,” said Alexander Gabuev, director of the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center in Berlin.

The Wagner Rebellion will no doubt put even greater stress on Russia, that the state must equip internal troops with frontline capabilities. Battle-hardened veterans will be scattered among existing units, mistrust between different Russian services will grow, and the low legitimacy of the Russian bureaucracy among its people has been on full display.

READ MORE: Russian Rebellion Ends Shockingly


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