The owner of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, may use his influence on the media landscape in Russia to present himself as a contender in the 2024 presidential election.
This was reported by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
For example, Prigozhin's own news agency recently published an interview with him that visually copies various interviews with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. Before this video, Prigozhin looked different - he chose dynamic shots or those reminiscent of a battlefield.
"Prygozhin also used this interview to repeat his earlier arguments about the need to instill a hard ideology in Russian fighters and to hint that the Russian Ministry of Defense was deliberately depriving the Wagner group of artillery ammunition," ISW writes.
Analysts believe the parody of Putin's cinematic interview style could be used as part of a larger trolling campaign to attack the Kremlin, or to draw tacit parallels between Prigozhin and Putin.
In addition, on March 11, Prigozhin made a sarcastic statement that he would run for president in 2024. Prior to this, Prigozhin repeatedly attacked Putin's presidential administration, for example, declaring that some officials were traitors. He also questioned the Kremlin's narratives that the Russian Federation is at war with NATO and that there are Nazis in Ukraine.
"Prygozhin's recent behavior - regardless of its intent - spreads a narrative in Russian society that Prigozhin has greater political aspirations in Russia," the analysts said.
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Wagner Group owner Yevgeny Prigozhin may be using his influence over Russia's media landscape to present himself as a potential contender in Russia's 2024 presidential election.
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