Death of Prigozhin

The assassination of Yevgeny Prigozhin by Vladimir Putin was necessary from the very beginning for Putin to achieve his ultimate aims.

Putin did not invade Ukraine for any objective reason. Before the invasion of Ukraine, Russia was a vast nation brimming with natural resources, and has been so blessed for centuries. Russia also has had for a long time been blessed with the human resources that could have been used to build up the nation into a first-class power. Neither Russia’s abundant natural resources nor their human capital have been used consistently for the improvement of the lives of the Russian people. Instead, both have been used for the enrichment and aggrandizement of the leadership, whether that leadership was the Russian Tzars, Russia’s Communist leaders like Stalin, or now Russia’s present dictator Putin and his sycophants.  

Consistent with what Putin saw as his prerogative as Russia’s unquestioned leader, Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine for his own aggrandizement. Putin wanted to be seen as a great leader, a strong man who brought Russia glory on the battlefield, a conqueror of peoples comparable to Russian leaders of the past, and he failed miserably.

Putin’s military, epitomized by Sergei Shoigu, proved themselves to be incompetent since the very beginning of Russia’s invasion. Putin needed someone of some competence who could lead soldiers in combat to try to save his invasion. The man that he found was Yevgeny Prigozhin. Through Prigozhin’s Wagner Group Putin had someone who could actually lead soldiers in battle and fight. But Putin’s ultimate goal from the very beginning was not to succeed in achieving some military objective in Ukraine, but to reflect glory upon himself. Prigozhin’s conspicuous success stole the glory from Putin, so he had to go sooner or later. Prigozhin’s march on Moscow only hastened Putin’s desire to eliminate his rival for praise, but it did not create Putin’s envy. Prigozhin’s competence and success created the need for Prigozhin’s demise in Putin’s eyes.

This is the dilemma that top-down dictators always find themselves in. Dictators need competent underlings to achieve their aims but any underling that demonstrates their competence becomes a target of the dictator’s wrath. We fail to understand dictators when we do not realize that their ultimate goal is self-aggrandizement and reflecting glory upon themselves. Nothing more.

Prigozhin’s assassination is just one more piece of evidence of Putin’s incompetence and his lack of any understanding of what needs to be done to succeed militarily. Putin needs people who can lead men in battle, not to kill those people off. Putin needs to encourage the fighting spirit in his soldiers that he sent into his needless special military operation, not eliminate anyone who demonstrates true fighting spirit.

Putin is a dictator. Prigozhin met the fate of ambitious men under dictators and Putin will meet the fate of dictators as well in time. And the Russian people, again, are suffering the fate of those who allow themselves to be led by dictators. The world is suffering the fate of those who enable dictators to thrive.