I think most of you have seen one or more of the flood of articles today reporting the death of Evgeny Prigozhin in a “plane crash”. The plane, which was flying from Moscow to St. Petersburg, crashed in the Republic of Tver about halfway through the flight.
We know for certain that the plane did not explode in the air. Watch these two videos.
In a Twitter video taken by a woman who lives on a farm in Russia, you can see a puff on the left and then the plane appears to drop into a slight deadlock. This means that it lost almost all of its aerodynamic lift capabilities. The engines of the Embraer 600 (pictured above) are mounted at the rear of the aircraft. As the aircraft fell it rotated slightly, which meant that part of a wing was still attached. However, most feathers are not visible. The vapor trail trailing behind the jet as it hits the ground is probably fuel rather than smoke.
What is the reason for the separation of the wings? One possibility is shrapnel from a surface-to-air missile. I’ve heard Western intelligence reports that several SA-20 batteries were close enough to carry out the attack and that those systems were active when Prigozhin’s plane passed overhead (which is unusual for that area). So, shoot down is a possibility.
Structural failure, due to improper maintenance or sabotage, is another possibility for catastrophic loss of wings.
I’ve always been skeptical of the initial story because of Prigozhin’s ties to the GRU. Note, this matches the (unconfirmed) post on Telegram that Zhurovkin is being punished/prosecuted and Prigozhin’s recent public statements about taking a bigger military role near Niger. This brings up another possible list of suspects.
Another scenario to consider – friends or relatives (or both) of the Russian airmen killed by Wagner during the uprising in June may have taken matters into their own hands to seek retribution.
I doubt the claims that Putin gave the order. To begin with, Putin was attending commemorations of the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Kursk. I find it hard to believe that Putin would divert attention from that incident by giving the go-ahead for Prigozhin’s execution like this. This is not in Putin’s interest as the downing of the plane also killed the pilot and other passengers who were not involved in Prigozhin’s mutiny. If Putin wanted to kill Prigozhin, he would have ordered it earlier and done it in a much less dirty way. For example, when you shoot down a plane, you have no way of predicting where the wreckage might have landed. Of course, identifying the remains will be a challenge. The plane was burning on the ground and it certainly incinerated at least some of the bodies.
I dismiss this as an act of Maskirovka because it involved the deaths of at least 8 other people with no public profile linked to Wagner.
What about the possibility that it was staged? In other words, none of the passengers or crew were actually on board. Then Embraer is remotely operated and shot down to send Western Intel into a frenzy (because that’s what’s going on right now) trying to figure out what the hell is going on?
One thing is certain – it promotes the meme that if you cross Putin you are the walking dead. It doesn’t matter if that meme is true or not. If foreigners believe so, then it is true by definition.