…As his public posture gets louder while Putin’s voice softens, why is Prigozhin still alive? The answer is the premise of the syllogism: Putin’s overriding goal is to win his war.
Prigozhin is in conflict with the Conglomerate Imperative: Grow by absorption. The M.O.D. wants to own Wagner. This does not mean an immediate acquisition; absorption could result in the loss of Wagner’s edge. But Putin’s clock is running; see Putin Disappears; Illness a Factor? Prigozhin risks a prolonged, violent succession struggle…
The delicate balance of need/risk has since been overturned by the Wagner Group rebellion. The necessity of Prigozhin’s liquidation was augmented by his status as standard-bearer of the extreme right wing.
Like Prigozhin himself, the extreme right wing combines:
- Galvanic energy and ideology essential to co-opting national will in the service of naked aggression.
- A direct goad to the phlegmatic Russian military.
- Threat of a violent ethos to state power.
The need to manage is illuminated by the incitements to violence of Aleksandr Dugin and Igor Girkin. They have followers, who may not be known or completely characterized by tendency towards violence. From this murky group come the assassins and revolutionaries of the Right.
The deeper the purge of this group, the safer Putin would be, while weakening the national will for extended war. The depth of a purge, shaping societal discourse, offers hints of how modest a “victory” Putin would accept.
Power Transition in Russia? Revolution? Part 3 — Has Revolution begun?, advised “Watch Prigozhin.” Since Girkin has already been arrested, Prigozhin’s place is taken by Aleksandr Dugin, and more obscure acolytes.