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Wagner Group chief Prigozhin laid to rest in private ceremony near St Petersberg

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A woman lays a candle at a makeshift memorial for the late head of the Wagner paramilitary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin in Moscow, on August 27, 2023.— AFP
A woman lays a candle at a makeshift memorial for the late head of the Wagner paramilitary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin in Moscow, on August 27, 2023.— AFP

A private ceremony was held to commemorate Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who died in a private jet crash last week.

The Kremlin has dismissed speculation that it orchestrated the crash, but the circumstances of his death remain mysterious.

Prigozhin, 62, was the founder of the Wagner private fighting force, which has been accused of carrying out assassinations and other operations on behalf of the Russian government. He was also a close ally of President Vladimir Putin.

The Kremlin said that Putin would not attend Prigozhin’s funeral, but there were no public announcements about when or where the funeral would be held.

Prigozhin’s death has raised questions about the future of the Wagner group. The group has been weakened by losses in Ukraine, and it is unclear who will succeed Prigozhin as its leader.

Some observers believe that the Kremlin may have orchestrated Prigozhin’s death in order to remove a liability. Prigozhin had become increasingly outspoken in recent months, and he had even ordered his troops to march on Moscow in June. This was seen as a direct challenge to Putin’s authority.

Others believe that Prigozhin’s death was an accident. The jet that he was travelling in crashed in bad weather, and there were no survivors.

Whatever the cause of Prigozhin’s death, his passing is a significant event. He was a powerful figure in Russian politics and business, and his death will have aftershocks for years to come.

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