Meet Yevgeny Prigozhin, ‘Putin’s chef’ and founder of the brutal Wagner group who told the Russian leader that he was botching the Ukraine war

Evgeny Prigozhin (L) assists Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin throughout a dinner with overseas students and journalists on the restaurant Cheval Blanc on the premises of an equestrian complicated exterior Moscow November 11, 2011. Image taken November 11.REUTERS/Misha Japaridze/Pool/File Picture

  • Yevgeny Prigozhin is a Russian businessman with shut ties to Vladimir Putin.

  • Prigozhin claimed he based Wagner, a Russian mercenary group that works intently with the Kremlin.

  • He additionally confided to Putin about considerations with the route of the warfare in Ukraine, per WaPo report.

Yevgeny Prigozhin was reported to have shared with Vladimir Putin his misgivings in regards to the warfare in Ukraine, in line with The Washington Publish.

Yevgeny Prigozhin

Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin is proven previous to a gathering of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese language President Xi Jinping within the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia.Sergei Ilnitsky/Pool Picture by way of AP

As reviews of Russia’s losses in Ukraine circulated in September, one member of Vladimir Putin’s circle expressed misgivings in regards to the Kremlin’s administration of the warfare to the president.

On Tuesday, The Washington Publish reported that the confidant was Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, a Russian businessman, restaurateur, and longtime ally of Putin.

Prigozhin denied the report back to The Publish and stated that he “didn’t criticize the administration of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the course of the battle in Ukraine.”

However Prigozhin has beforehand expressed criticism towards the nation’s navy management.

When the Chechen Republic’s head, Ramazan Kadyrov, referred to as out a Russian commander and senior officers after Russia was compelled out of Lyman in Ukraine, Prigozhin echoed these critiques, in line with BBC.

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Here is what we learn about Prigozhin:

Earlier than amassing his wealth, Prigozhin served a number of years in a Russian penal colony.

Yevgeny Prigozhin in a suit, pointing

Prigozhin on August 9, 2016.Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Born on June 1, 1961, in Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, Russia, Prigozhin was convicted of assault, theft, and fraud in 1981, in line with court docket paperwork obtained by Meduza, an unbiased Russian publication.

He was sentenced to 13 years in a penal colony however was launched in 9 years across the fall of the Soviet Union.

In response to The New York Occasions, Prigozhin began his foray into the meals enterprise quickly after his launch by opening up a scorching canine stand.

He then opened a comfort retailer earlier than he began a series of swanky eating places with a couple of companions in St. Petersburg. Putin would rejoice his birthday on the eating location, the Occasions reported.

He earned the nickname of ‘Putin’s chef.’

Evgeny Prigozhin.JPG

Prigozhin serves Putin dinner on the Cheval Blanc restaurant exterior Moscow, Russia, on November 11, 2011.Misha Japaridze/Pool/Reuters

Prigozhin based considered one of his main corporations, Harmony Catering, in 1996 as he began his restaurant enterprise, Wired reported.

Though probably not a chef, in line with The Occasions, he quickly earned the nickname of “Putin’s chef.”

It is unclear when he acquired the moniker, however over the following decade, Prigozhin’s catering enterprise acquired profitable authorities contracts to feed Russia’s colleges and navy, in addition to a chance to host state banquets.

Harmony Catering served on the inaugurations of Dmitri A. Medvedev and Putin, The Occasions reported.

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The state contracts in a span of 5 years had been reported to be value $3.1 billion, in line with an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Basis that was cited by The Occasions.

He additionally heads different corporations and financed one which has been accused of meddling with the US election.

Yevgeny Prigozhin

Prigozhin at a overseas buyers assembly in St. Petersburg in 2016.Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Pictures

On prime of his catering enterprise, Prigozhin is publicly identified to have based Harmony Administration and Consulting Firm and began his personal on-line information service, in line with The Occasions.

A 2018 indictment from the Justice Division additionally alleged that Prigozhin financed a so-called troll manufacturing facility referred to as the Web Analysis Company.

The indictment, which included 12 different Russians and Prigozhin’s Harmony catering and consulting companies, alleged that the Web Analysis Company “engaged in operations to intrude with elections and political processes.”

The corporate did so partly by creating “false US personas” and working social media pages discussing politics and social points. Prigozhin denied his involvement.

“The Individuals are very impressionable folks; they see what they need to see,” Prigozhin stated to Ria Novosti, a Russian state information company. “I’ve loads of respect for them. I’m not upset in any respect that I ended up on this listing. In the event that they need to see the satan, allow them to see him.”


He lately claimed that he based Wagner, a Russian mercenary group, after years of denial.

Yevgeny Prigozhin

Prigozhin.Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Pictures

In September, Prigozhin claimed to be one of many founders of a Russian mercenary group referred to as Wagner after years of denying involvement with the group.

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“I cleaned the previous weapons myself, sorted out the bulletproof vests myself, and located specialists who might assist me with this. From that second, on Might 1, 2014, a gaggle of patriots was born, which later got here to be referred to as the Wagner Battalion,” Prigozhin stated by means of his press service, which confirmed the assertion to Reuters.

Wagner was shaped in 2014. It’s not a legally registered entity and mercenaries are unlawful underneath Russian regulation, in line with The Occasions. However the group continues to be usually seen as a de-facto personal navy service for the Kremlin.

In response to BBC, Wagner troops had been first deployed throughout Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Wagner additionally despatched troopers all through Africa and the Center East, in line with The Occasions. UN investigators accused the group of committing warfare crimes in 2021.

Extra lately, Wagner has aided Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. In March, US officers stated that not less than 1,000 mercenary fighters had been deployed to the nation.

“We all know they’re there,” John F. Kirby, press secretary for the Pentagon, stated in a briefing in March. “And we all know that they need to improve their presence there in Ukraine.”



Over the many years, the oligarch has earned the ear of Putin.

Putin and Prigozhin in white coats, with the latter pointing at something off-camera

Prigozhin reveals Putin his college lunch manufacturing facility exterior Saint Petersburg on September 20, 2010.ALEXEY DRUZHININ/SPUTNIK/AFP by way of Getty Pictures

Prigozhin has grow to be a confidant to Putin, even in issues of state affairs, after first getting in contact with the Russian chief by means of his eating places.

Together with his presumed management of the Wagner mercenary group, he is additionally been an influential participant throughout Russia’s warfare in Ukraine, personally voicing his considerations about operations to Putin, in line with The Washington Publish.

The newspaper reported {that a} US intelligence report confirmed that Prigozhin felt that the Russian Protection Ministry depended an excessive amount of on Wagner and that his group was not receiving sufficient funds.

US officers imagine that Prigozhin then staged a video depicting Wagner’s troops complaining in regards to the lack of assets as a solution to strain Russia to offer more cash, The Publish reported.

Prigozhin instructed The Publish that he had not seen the referenced video.

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