Could the mysterious Pavel Prigozhin succeed his father at the head of the Wagner militia? “What is happening is surprising” Therefore, both sides presented their candidate to assume Wagner’s leadership. “One name has emerged more and more often in recent weeks: that of the son of the former militia leader, Pavel Prigojine,” specifies Kris Quanten, professor of military history at the Royal Military School (ERM). The young man in his twenties would be the ideal candidate for the soldiers of the Wagner group, eager to avoid finding themselves under the control of the Kremlin.
Suspicious movements, white substance…: there seems to be a clue to the Prigojine plane crash
But this is precisely what makes Pavel Prigozhin’s rise to the head of the empire built by his father unlikely. “Vladimir Putin wants to regain control of all the activities of the Wagner group,” explains the military history expert. “Therefore, the person who succeeds Yevgeny Prigozhin must dedicate himself entirely to him. This is the sine qua non.”
But given rumors about the Russian president’s involvement in his father’s death, it is not certain that Pavel Prigozhin plans to pledge allegiance to the Kremlin. Quanten, however, does not rule out this scenario: “In Russia everything is possible. Nothing surprises me anymore. What we are experiencing is almost a Pushkin novel, with twists and turns that we can expect to see.” “I don’t expect it at all.”
“Putin’s regime is sitting in an increasingly precarious chair”
Pavel Prigozhin, a man in the shadows
But what do we ultimately know about Pavel Prigozhin? “Personally he had never heard of it,” confesses the military history professor. “Only now that the mercenaries are summoning him to assume leadership is his name circulating. What is happening is surprising.”
During his life, Wagner’s ruthless leader had taken care to maintain the mystery surrounding his son’s existence. “He always lived in the shadows,” he continues. “Prigozhin protected him greatly.” According to the French Ministry of Economy, Pavel Prigojine was born in 1996. “He is associated with several companies that previously belonged to his mother, Lioubov Prigojina,” can be read on the ministry’s website, which lists the people targeted by European sanctions after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “Pavel Prigozhin is associated with the company JSC Businessprof, which owns the Sinop business center in St. Petersburg. Therefore, he is associated with influential businessmen and women or with legal entities, entities or organizations operating in sectors that constitute a source “an important source of income for the Government of the Russian Federation, responsible for the annexation of Crimea and the destabilization of Ukraine.”
Wagner’s former boss still mentioned his son on occasion, in particular, to praise his merits on the battlefield. In fact, Pavel Prigozhin served the Wagner group in Syria. “He probably became famous in the military there,” Kris Quanten postulates. “It is no coincidence that the mercenaries are referring to him now…”
More recently, Pavel Prigozhin publicly stated that he was participating in the military operation in Ukraine. He would have “served in a unit of the Wagner group in the Donbas region,” according to the French Ministry of Economy. This caused him to be affected by the sanctions adopted by the European Union in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.