Sunday, September 10, 2023

The Long Shadow of Yevgeny Prigozhin's Ghost or: How the New Cold War Became Another Slave War

 And just like that, they declared the Devil dead. After a meteoric career that found him playing the role of the bane of quite literally everyone's existence, Yevgeny Prigozhin: Russian super mercenary was annihilated in a death straight out of an eighties action flick. Burnt beyond recognition in a fiery plane crash with nine of his goons just north of Moscow in the rural Tvor Oblast.

Much like the rest of Yevgeny Prigozhin's biography, his demise seemed downright improbable but that doesn't mean it isn't true. A Soviet gangster-turned hotdog vendor who had climbed his way to the top of Yeltsin's crony capitalist dystopia to spin a catering empire into a globetrotting crypto-fascist death squad, Yevgeny the Terrible burst into flames as one of the most universally despised men on the planet. A real-life supervillain whose fearsome Wagner Group nearly single-handedly turned the tide of Putin's hopeless jihad to conquer Ukraine only to bite the hand that fed him caviar and human flesh by launching a mutiny against the Kremlin that ended as quickly and as weirdly as it had begun. But then in a poof of smoke, he was gone.

My first response was 'Bullshit!' There had to be a different angle here. The whole thing just didn't add up to me. On the two-month anniversary of his highly publicized and humiliating 24-hour uprising against Putin's rule, a career killer, all-but marked for death, gets on board a private jet headed straight for enemy territory with his fucking name on the charter. I'm just not buying it. 

How do we even know if this motherfucker is really dead? The paranoid side of me is thinking that Nosferatu is living it up on a steady diet of Johnnie Walker and brown-brown down in some Sub-Saharan outback, playing warlord to a bunch of teenage dope fiends in Toyota technicals. And I tend to trust the paranoid side of me. That bitch has a pretty tight record. 

But the rest of the world seems strangely content to just except the Devil's mysterious death at face value and move on. After making a few mincingly maudlin remarks designed to cream the panties of his tankie war-blogger fan-club, Putin publicly washed his hands like Pontius Pilate and disappeared back into his hole in the Kremlin. For his part, Putin's dilapidated Yankee counterpart, Joe Biden, basically just grumbled 'Putin did it" and declared the whole thing to be a "sideshow" before cautioning us all not to get too distracted from the big picture of blowing Ukraine to bits.  

Regardless of Prigozhin's true fate, both sides of an increasingly paranoid proxy war in Eastern Europe seem to be in complete agreeance that there is nothing to see here, and this fact fascinates me more than any conspiracy theory. Usually, the moneychangers in the war rooms of Babylon jump on any narrative that makes Vladimir Putin look like Ra's al Ghul with ICBMs and their doppelgangers in the Kremlin generally aren't too far behind them, declaring every body that shows up on their doorstep to be an American false flag operation. So why not this time? Why is the burnt offering of Prigozhin's presumed corpse the only smoldering heap that these creeps refuse to poke with a stick? 

If I were a gambling gal, I would hedge my bets on the possibility that this has something to do with the fact that what old Yevgeny represents is actually a whole lot more terrifying to a world at war than anything he actually was. Contrary to popular lore, the Wagner Group were a relatively insignificant horde of neo-Nazi hitmen for the lion's share of their putrid existence, but world wars have a tendency to make mountains out of mutants. 

Founded by Prigozhin following the 2014 NATO coup in Ukraine as a way for Moscow oligarchs to hijack legitimate popular dissent among ethnic Russians in the Donbass, Wagner evolved into a cruel posse of career sadists tasked with carrying out the dirty work that even a wanna-be despot like Vladimir Putin couldn't afford on his rap sheet. This all changed in 2022 when the Kremlin once again used the plight of the Donbass as an excuse for imperial plunder. This is when Putin opened the gates of his gulags to Prigozhin and Wagner transformed overnight into a formidable army of modern-day gladiators. 

Between February and December of 2022, western intelligence sources estimate that Wagner's ranks swelled from just several thousand to nearly 50,000 with the majority of the new recruits being Russian convicts offered the opportunity to fight for their freedom. To these men, Putin's "special operation" in Ukraine wasn't about denazification or national chauvinism, it was about their own liberation from one of the most heinous prison systems on earth and they fought like starving lions to receive it. 

But Mother Russia never had any intention of living up to their end of the bargain. To the Kremlin, Wagner's new recruits were nothing but expendable sacks of meat to be chucked into NATO's woodchipper. Tens of thousands of these desperate convicts were eviscerated in waves in Bakhmut alone and even after they actually managed to win that holocaust, they found themselves under attack from the regular Russian infantry who they were ordered to hand the territory back over to.

This isn't to say that Prigozhin was some kind of Spartacus, he just played one online to keep his men in toe, bragging about his own checkered past as a convict and playing the part of the rebel warlord for the camera phones. During a period of near universal consensus on the omnipotence of Putin's military brilliance among the Russian intelligentsia, Yevgeny stood virtually alone in provocatively thumbing his nose at the Czar with social media posts trashing his Kremlin sponsors. 

I'm of the opinion that this performance only became real when Prigozhin's star grew too bright and brazen for his master's comfort. He had to be reined in, but Comrade Spartacus was having too much fun to stop. The last straw came when the generals ordered Prigozhin to hand over his private army to the regular command structure before he was done playing the bad motherfucker.

This is when Prigozhin decided to launch his mutiny, a high octane hissy fit that saw an army of heavily tattooed war slaves take a major Russian army town like Rostov-on-Don with shocking ease before being met in the streets by local civilians like heroes. It turns out that Prigozhin's populist schtick sold big with the rest of the Russian population as well. A population who clearly hates NATO but hates their own nation's military industrial complex even more. And why shouldn't they? After all, Yevgeny's Heroes weren't the only indentured servants coming home in pine boxes. 800,000 Russian citizens have been conscripted against their will in this war and over 200,000 of them have died for the vanity of the same elites whom that former hot dog vendor dared to piss on.

Even after Comrade Spartacus was bought off in some strange deal brokered by Belarussian strongman Alexander Lukashenko, the specter of a renegade army of motley slaves bringing a former superpower to its knees remained toxic to forces far greater than the Kremlin. Joe Biden and his handlers have little interest in highlighting Putin's cantankerous slave army because they themselves are currently lording over one of their own in the nation NATO loves to burn with Raytheon matches. 

The official number of Ukraine's conscripts remains a tightly guarded secret, but Volodymyr Zelensky has sealed off his borders to all men between the ages of 18 and 60 and has declared his own dirty war against a growing tide of Ukrainians trying to escape an endless fucking war that makes less and less sense to the average prole with each passing hour.

In the beginning, Ukrainian conscripts were simply tasked with defending their own cities and these poorly trained civilians kicked ass for the same reason the gulag refugees in Wagner did, they were literally fighting for their own freedom. But after Putin's army retreated back to the Donbass, these victorious freedom fighters were sent to die in someone else's city. 

Ukraine elected Volodymyr Zelensky in 2019 largely on the strength of his promise to uphold the Minsk Agreement that was supposed to end NATO's war on the Donbass by granting that region the nominal autonomy they deserve. Now, after declaring martial law and being fed a steady diet of American tax dollars, Zelensky has declared his intention to fight forever to conquer that same damn territory and the Ukrainian people are calling bullshit by deserting in droves. 

Biden and Putin don't want anyone paying close attention to this because it all highlights the fact that neither side of this stupid fucking war is actually interested in fighting it anymore and they would both prefer that Yevgeny Prigozhin simply evaporate like a hot fart in a stiff wind because alive or dead he is a terrifying reminder that any army of slaves is just one mutiny away from a revolution. 

The antiwar war movements in both the east and the west need to approach ending this holocaust like abolitionists because whether they are convicts or conscripts or just desperate teenagers from dead-end towns, your average standing army is comprised largely of what any sane anarchist should recognize as a slave. The best hope we have to end this war and all wars is to encourage the slaves on every side to revolt the same way we did with the GI Movement that sabotaged the Vietnam War in a beautiful wave of officer fraggings and mass desertions.

Yevgeny Prigozhin may or may not be dead, but abolition lives on in the throat of every soldier shouting "Sir! No sir!" to a bullshit war with zero winners outside of the fucking yacht club and that's a mutiny we should all get in on.

Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: songs that influenced this post

* All Along the Watchtower by the Jimi Hendrix Experience

* I'll Believe in Anything by Wolf Parade

* Wardance by Killing Joke

* White Collar Boy by Belle & Sebastian

* Can't You Hear Me Knocking by the Rolling Stones

* El President by Drugstore featuring Thom Yorke

* Kick Out the Jams by the MC5

* This is Why We Fight by the Decembrists

* We've Gotta Get Out of This Place by the Animals

* Atmosphere by Joy Division

1 comment:

  1. “Misinformation” Award Prediction
    Good grief Nicky, if you ever obtain a readership large enough to
    counter the capitalists’ MSM bovine excrement of events, the parasite class of either side will have their flatfoots smashing down your door to provide you with your very own grassy knoll moment.