It seemed literally like seconds between the end of Oceangategate that we were treated to the next super media sensation, Russia was undergoing a coup, sadly for the media though said “:coup” lasted less than 24 hours, rather than the 5 days they were able to drag out the Titan fiasco.
What though exactly happened during this time, what misinformation were we fed and what is actually going on now?
To read about The Titan adventure click here.
What we were told about the Russian Coup
There have been tensions brewing between the Wagner Group, Russian mercenaries on the Kremlin payroll and the Russian Ministry of Defense for a long time. These tensions though are not related, as has been implied to Russia going to war in Ukraine, but how the war was being led.
Their leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin then decided he had had enough, declared Putin had “made the wrong decision” and stated his intention to overthrow the regime – this made him for a moment at least a darling of the west. Keep note of this it will have relevance later.
Putin for his part declared him and Wagner traitors and things started to look like they were doomed for Russia, or at least that was what we were being told.
Wanger “took” Rostov-On-Don, the border town of Donetsk and were on a march to Moscow, getting to “around” 120 km of the capital. Residents had welcomed them with open arms and Wanger were going to bring democracy and end the war.
And it was not to end there, with some of the claims that followed being so outlandish they quite simply had to be at best bad journalism and at worst pure war propaganda. Firstly Putin had not only fled Moscow, but had tried (and failed) to gain asylum in Kazakhstan, while Victor Luchenko, President of Belarus had defected to Turkey with his family.
What was actually happening with the Russian Coup
As to what was actually happening we will deal with it point by point by detailing the facts we know and for now at least avoiding conjecture. Yevgeny Prigozhin had indeed declared his opposition to the Russian Defense Ministry, had denounced Putin and had “taken” Roston-On-Don.
This later fact is now given as proof that the Russian military of 800,000 could not cope with the 25,000 of Wagner, but the truth is that the city was not heavily protected by the Russian military as it was under the protection of Wagner, not only a Russian product, but an integral part of the Russian war machine.
It is true that Moscow was put under some form of lockdown and protections were put in place, but that is exactly what you would do if there was an the threat of insurrection. Civil war though it does not make.
Perhaps the most outlandish falsehood here though was that Yevgeny Prigozhin was leading some form of revolution that would have ushered in peace and democracy. Were Prigozhin leading a coup, which I personally doubt it would have been not to end the war or become less nationalistic, but quite scarily the opposite.
And then it all ended – Victor Luchenko (the guy who had fled to Turkey) had brokered a peace deal, the insurgency was off, no one would be tried for treason, Wagner went back to their barracks and the “status quo” had been restored
Western Media and the Aftermath of the Russian Coup
Much like with the conjecture of the missing sub the media has now moved into conspiracy theories, plots, sub-plots and more talking heads than you can shake a stick at.
The general consensus is that Putin has been left with a bloody noose, the regime is facing imminent collapse and the Russian Federation, much like a submersible is about to implode.
The reality? Not only no one “quite” knows, but really no one has any idea. The few things we do know though are that Putin probably did not really face any real threat to his Presidency, that he had not fled the country and that there was probably a hell of a lot more to this “coup” than meets the eye.
What are the conspiracy theories from both sides?
One of the most interesting and indeed plausible conspires is that this was a western led coup, or at least had western involvement. This is something that has been thought by many, but now finally said out loud by the Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić.
There are a number of reasons that give credence to the theory, chief among them being how Prigozhin, a warmongering nationalist leader of a mercenary army was being almost lauded as a hero. Why were the media so quiet about the numerous negative things that could and are now being said about him?
And then there is the fact that this is a mercenary army, with the name mercenary quite literally having the connotation of someone who will do anything for money. Did some of that $6.2 billion that is missing clear the Wagner accounts before it was called off? Did the Russians come with a better offer? No one of course knows, but the scenario is extremely credible.
From the opposite side of the spectrum, as in the Russian one there are far less “popular” rumors, but the ones that are getting through have definite credence. Firstly Wagner have now largely been moved to Belarus, with some opining that this was essentially a false flag attack which will result in Wagner and Russia now launching a surprise offensive on the back of the chaos. Keep in mind the road from Belarus to Kiev is a short one and should the capital fall it would be checkmate.
Again this might seem outlandish, but it is amazing how few people were killed and how little damage there was to equipment considering that this was supposed to be a well organized coup by one of the most ruthless mercenary armies in the world.
It will of course be a while until we find out exactly what happened, but make no mistake this is all out war between NATO and Russia and this includes an information war.
All we can do is fish through the propaganda of both dies and try to find something as close to the truth as possible.