From the hot dog vendor to Putins right arm

From the hot dog vendor to Putin’s right arm

Evgueni Prigozhin, a former prisoner-turned-oligarch after retraining as a hot-dog seller, is now the head of the Wagner mercenary group, which the United States has dubbed an “international criminal organization.”

• Also read: Wagnerm Group Putin’s Secret Army

In the early months of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the involvement of the Wagner group, dubbed Vladimir Putin’s “shadow army,” was only a rumor. Experts described it as a Moscow-linked secret paramilitary company accused of raping and killing civilians in numerous African countries and Syria.

Evgueni Prigozhin, the man suspected of being behind the group and said to be close to the Russian president, was just as enigmatic. But he’s quietly emerged from the shadows in recent months, confirming his status within Wagner.

Last September, the 61-year-old appeared in video speaking to inmates at a Russian prison to convince them to join his mercenaries to fight in Ukraine.

• Also read: The 19-year-old Russian faces ten years in prison for criticizing the invasion of Ukraine

Then, in November, he cemented his reputation as the most ferocious commander of those who led the Russian invasion. In a video, he applauded the sadistic murder of a Wagner deserter recently liberated by Ukrainian forces. “A dog’s death for a dog,” he commented.

Regularly present at the front, Evgueni Prigozhin is also one of the few Russian leaders who can openly criticize the army. As Wagner’s troops cemented Moscow’s first territorial gains since late summer at Soledar in early January, he released a video saying the mercenary group was “probably the most experienced army in the world.”

Bloodstained helmets of Ukrainian soldiers found not far from Soledar.


Bloodstained helmets of Ukrainian soldiers found not far from Soledar.

Western intelligence agencies estimate they number 50,000 today to respond to orders from the so-called “Putin leader.”

But how could a man who spent 10 years in prison before making his fortune in the sausage industry become Vladimir Putin’s right-hand man?

• Also read: Vladimir Putin behind 20 bizarre deaths among Russian elite in 2022?

Prisoner, hot dog vendor, oligarch

Like Vladimir Putin, Yevgeny Prigozhin was born in Leningrad, now Saint Petersburg. Sentenced to 13 years in prison for various thefts in the early 1980s, he was finally released in 1990. It was then that his meteoric rise began.

At that time, the Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse. Capitalism is beginning to show its face, and business opportunities abound for those with flair, even ex-convicts.

Prigozhin opens a hot dog stand, then a grocery store before moving into the restaurant business. One of its restaurants, the New Island, became a symbol of Saint Petersburg’s elite and Vladimir Putin, who brought international leaders there.

1675413574 412 From the hot dog vendor to Poutines right arm


Never far from the President’s table, over the years Prigozhin has received many lucrative catering contracts from the authorities, such as: B. those of the schools of Saint Petersburg and Moscow, in addition to receiving supplies for the Russian army.

He then becomes a rich, powerful and feared man. His fortune, like that of many Russian oligarchs, raises several questions.

Mercenaries, troll factory and political interference

While he is credited with founding the Wagner Group in 2014 when Russia was conducting its Crimea annexation operation, Yevgeny Prigozhin really caught international attention when the United States accused him of interfering in the 2016 elections with the help of a company described as becomes a “troll factory”.

In 2016, Donald Trump won the US presidential election against Hillary Clinton.


In 2016, Donald Trump won the US presidential election against Hillary Clinton.

The European Union and the United Kingdom also accuse him of manipulating public opinion in various countries, particularly in Africa, where Russia is trying to expand its influence.

The Russian has never denied the facts. Last November he admitted to damaging the American election process. He also pledged to his companies to continue to do so “carefully, precisely, surgically and in our own way.”