Putin's Latest Speech Condemning The Wagner Mutiny Has Left People Bewildered

"I'm not sure why Putin bothered to put this out," one person tweeted.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin addresses the nation in Moscow on June 26, 2023.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin addresses the nation in Moscow on June 26, 2023.

Vladimir Putin released a new video addressing the attempted coup from the Wagner Group over the weekend – but people are mystified by it.

The Russian president delivered a five-minute speech for TV which aired last night.

His spokesperson had promised would change the course of their country’s history, and pro-war TV channels were also building it up beforehand.

It was his first major appearance since denouncing the armed rebellion from Wagner fighters on Saturday. There was speculation he had fled the country when the coup started, although the Kremlin denied it.

But Putin’s speech did not exactly meet expectations. It was pretty short considering the grave risk the attempted coup posed to his regime over the weekend (and Putin’s history of delivering long speeches), and he said nothing new in it.

For the most part, Putin was repeating the attacks against the Wagner Group which he made just after the coup stopped on Saturday.

He said Russian society chose him over Wagner mercenaries, even though the fighters took the southern town of Rostov-on-Dov without resistance and they chose to stand down.

He also claimed the West pushed for the “mutiny”, without presenting any evidence.

Putin said Wagner fighters who did not “shed blood” could go to Belarus, where the exiled leader Yevgeny Prigozhin is (although Putin didn’t mention him by name), or sign a contract with the Russian ministry of defence.

He then warned everyone listening that any attempt at blackmail or unrest was “doomed to fail”.

According to the Financial Times’ translation, Putin said: “Our society was split, drowning in bloody sectarian strife. They were rubbing their hands in glee as they dreamed of revenge for their failures on the front during their so-called counteroffensive, but they miscalculated,”

As the Financial Times’ bureau chief for Moscow, Max Seddon, tweeted: “I’m not sure why Putin bothered to put this out, except for the fact Prigozhin made a big statement today that dominated headlines.”

He pointed out that Prigozhin therefore appears to be “setting the agenda”.

In another tweet, Seddon pointed out: “He didn’t actually announce anything?”

He wasn’t the only one who noticed this, either.

Prigozhin, who has support from some areas of the Russian public, had spoken out for the first time since the failed rebellion shortly before Putin’s speech was televised.

His 11-minute audio claimed that he had no plan to overthrow the Kremlin but just wanted to stop his mercenary group being destroyed, something he has long accused the Russian ministry of defence of trying to do.

Just as Putin didn’t mention his name, Prigozhin didn’t mention his former ally either.

He did not explain whether or not he actually made it to Belarus, what would happen with his mercenary group in the future, or what concessions he secured (if any at all) in Moscow’s attempts to defuse his rebellion.

But, according to the Associated Press, Russian authorities have now dropped charges against Prigozhin and the armed rebellion – despite previously imprisoning anyone who spoke out against the Ukraine war.


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