The founder of the Wagner Group Yevgeny Prigozhin could be eyeing Vladimir Putin’s position and The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and could challenge the Russian leader in the 2024 presidential elctions.
The ISW made their assessment based on an interview on 14 March that Prigozhin was with Russian journalists from Russia Today, RIA Novosti and his agency.
The ISW said “Prigozhin may be using his influence in Russia’s mainstream media landscape to present himself as a contender in Russia’s 2024 presidential elections,” they added his “interview was noteworthy for its unique format.”
The think tanks said, that “Prigozhin seemed to mimic the way that Vladimir Putin films his choreographed public meetings, either to mock Putin quietly or to suggest subtly that Prigozhin could become Russian president like Putin.”
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The analysts added, “The choreography and staging of Prigozhin’s interview places Prigozhin in the camera’s frame at Prigozhin’s desk across from his audience in the same way that Putin’s filmed meetings and photo ops usually do.”
“This film style is unusual for Prigozhin, as Prigozhin’s public video statements typically do not employ such a sterile format,” which is the same way Putin addresses his audience.
The ISW said that the Wagner Group boss “may seek to parody Putin’s cinematography style as part of a larger trolling campaign to attack the Kremlin or draw tacit parallels between Prigozhin and the office of the Russian presidency.
“Prigozhin’s recent behaviour regardless of its intent is advancing a narrative among Russian society that Prigozhin has larger political aspirations in Russia.”
ISW added, “Prigozhin has previously insinuated that he could replace Putin. Prigozhin made a sarcastic announcement on March 11 that he will run for the Ukrainian presidency in 2024—a statement that a prominent Kremlin-linked Russian scholar argued implicitly promoted a narrative that Prigozhin would run in Russia’s presidential elections which are also scheduled for 2024.”