Christo Grozez, Bellingcat’s chief Russian investigator, has expressed concerns about Vladimir Putin’s stability in power, speculating that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner private military organization, may stage another coup against the Kremlin. Grozez’s predictions have acquired traction as a result of his precise prediction of Prigozhin’s prior coup attempt in January. He predicted that Prigozhin would defect to Putin within six months.
Bellingcat, a well-known investigative organization, has been critical in revealing several Russian schemes and assassinations, particularly during the continuing crisis in Ukraine.
The previous coup attempt on June 23 ended in a truce brokered by Belarus after Prigozhin withdrew his soldiers. Grozez observed that Putin’s refusal to take harsh actions against Prigozhin showed that the latter’s fate was not yet determined.
“In six months, either Prigozhin will be dead or there will be a second coup,” Grozez warned.
According to Grozez’s perspective, a potential coup conducted by elites unsatisfied with the state of the war in Ukraine. He said that a “reversal of fortunes on the frontline” may be the catalyst. He said that the elite’s reluctance to act derives from a prisoner’s dilemma: they are afraid of being the first to act.
The analyst stated that the scenario may evolve in two ways: either the prisoner’s dilemma is resolved, or Prigozhin is removed from the equation by a better-coordinated coup. Grozez stressed that the rest of the Russian elite would find living in a position akin to “North Korea 2.1” with blocked bank accounts unappealing.
Furthermore, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a renowned US think tank, warned that Putin’s efforts to suppress the Wagner coup were weakening. Wagner soldiers, according to the ISW, were returning to Russia from Belarus and may be “activated” by the end of August. The research tank emphasized the difficulties in getting these forces back to Russia to counter the Wagner threat.
As tensions and uncertainties persist inside Russia’s power dynamics, the prospect of additional domestic instability piques curiosity and worry.