Prigozhin is buried in St. Petersburg as Russians mourn the Wagner mercenary chief

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, was buried in St. Petersburg, following his death in a plane crash that also claimed nine others, including senior Wagner Group leadership.

Key details: The mourning and funeral ceremony of Yevgeny Prigozhin took place in his hometown of St. Petersburg.
* The ceremony was unannounced and attended by only a small group of people, while the cemetery was heavily guarded by Russian police and security personnel.
* Prigozhin died in a business jet crash northwest of Moscow, along with all 10 passengers which included the senior leadership of the Wagner Group.

Public Reactions: Mixed views and emotions were expressed at Prigozhin’s makeshift memorials in St. Petersburg and Moscow.
* Many showcased grief, pride and scorn for Prigozhin, whose mercenary group has gained global notoriety for its operations in Ukraine, Syria and Africa.
* An anonymous Wagner mercenary described Prigozhin as “a Russian patriot,” and dismissed any further questions.

Speculations and Doubts: Post-crash suspicions are high, with conspiracy theories suggesting Prigozhin might still be alive.
* Some, like Azad Bikmulin, refuse to trust the official confirmation of Prigozhin’s death, citing prior misreporting of his death by Russian media.
* Others imply foul play behind the plane crash, pointing out it happened two months after a rebellion led by Prigozhin against Russia’s military leadership.

Official statement: Russian authorities maintain that thorough investigations into the plane crash are in progress.
* Speculations suggesting the plane crash might have been a result of intentional foul play, such as a bomb or a rocket attack, are not confirmed.
* Despite international suspicions of an orchestrated assassination, Kremlin has categorically denied these allegations, dismissing them as “absolute lies.”

View original article on NPR

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