The death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the former leader of the Wagner Group, the army of mercenaries that organized a mutiny against Russian President Vladimir Putin in June, has caused an impact but also raised a lot of uncertainty.
“He was a talented man but made many mistakes,” Putin said after confirming the military leader’s death.
Now, the question revolves around who will replace Prigozhin as the leader of the mercenaries. In Telegram groups, where information about the group is managed, some names have started to circulate.
One of the most discussed names as a possible replacement for Prigozhin is Anton Olegovich Elizarov, better known as Lotus, who is the commander of paramilitaries in the city of Soledar, Ukraine.
However, Lotus’ appointment was not the initial plan: according to his own group, Prigozhin was aware that he might die soon, so he prepared an action plan to organize how to continue with his military, business, and political assets.
Dmitri Utkin was his right-hand man and was supposed to take his place in case of his death; however, Utkin was also among the victims of the crashed plane.
Because of this, Plan C was set in motion: if Prigozhin died, power would be transferred to the Wagner Group’s council of commanders, under the leadership of Anton Elizarov.
However, Elizarov is on a mission in Mali, Africa, and it is unknown when he will return. Additionally, the council still remains silent about the appointment of the new leader, so all these reports are rumors among the group members themselves.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin leader acknowledged Wagner’s contribution against “Nazism in Ukraine” and initiated an investigation to clarify why the plane Prigozhin was aboard crashed.