National Security Correspondent for NPR Greg Myre’s article analyzes the background of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the man dubbed “Putin’s Chef,” and his role in the Russian government.
“He epitomizes a real renaissance man in contemporary Russia, which is to say that he runs some very high-end restaurants,” said Angela Stent, the head of Russian Studies at Georgetown University and author of the forthcoming book Putin’s World.
“He also runs Wagner, one of the largest mercenary private military groups in Russia,” she added. “His troops are in Syria, they’re in Ukraine, they’re in a number of other places, where they are fighting in the Russian state’s interest.”
Because Prigozhin and others like him are not formally part of the government, the Kremlin can distance itself and deny they are acting on behalf of the Russian state.
For more on PMC Wagner, see: Inside ‘Wagner,’ the Russian Version of Blackwater