[Luxus+ Magazine] The irresistible rise of Prigozhin, Putin’s “friend” of more than 20 years…

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Like the Russian president, Evgueini Prigojine was born in Saint Petersburg and owes his business success to him. But after returning the favor in a shady way, he finally parted company with violence. It’s a way of doing things that fits in well with the itinerary of the heads of the Kremlin and the Wagner Group.

 

Sulfur, secrecy and lies: three words that sum up the career of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner militia who almost turned the tide of war in Ukraine. And whose behavior greatly destabilized Vladimir Putin.

 

Secrecy still surrounds the details of the negotiations which led the former militiaman to abandon his coup de force in Moscow and repatriate his troops on June 24. He then flew back to Belarus, having obtained the dropping of criminal charges against himself and the Wagner group fighters.

 

Romantic itinerary

 

What is more certain, however, are the milestones that led this unsympathetic character to gradually climb the steps of wealth and power. And from obscurity into the limelight.

 

His story is reminiscent of other famous Russians, such as Stalin, ex-anarchist and bank robber who became a bloodthirsty dictator in the Kremlin, or the dissident writer Limonov, founder of the National-Bolshevik party, whose tortuous itinerary is described by Emmanuel Carrère in his book “Limonov”.

 

Prigozhin’s years in the shadows began in Saint Petersburg, where he was born…like Vladimir Putin. His adult life got off to a bad start, with a twelve-year prison sentence at the age of 20, in 1980, for organized crime, pimping, hold-ups and other acts of violence.

 

The end of the Soviet empire

 

10 years later, in 1990, he received a timely early release from prison. It was the end of the Soviet empire and the Communist regime, a propitious time for unscrupulous businessmen like him. In just a few years, he built up an empire with multiple ramifications…

 

His irresistible rise began in the restaurant and food sector. Thanks to modest (but successful) beginnings in the…sale of hot dogs, he had the means to buy a chain of grocery stores.

 

But it was above all his entry into the restaurant business in the late 90s that was to trigger the explosion of his career.

 

The “New Island”, the renowned luxury restaurant he opened in the city of St. Petersburg, became a must for the local elite, and in particular for Vladimir Putin, then in the midst of his political rise.

 

In fact, it was Prigojine’s establishment that he chose to take his French counterpart, Jacques Chirac, to in 2001, when he was elected President of Russia.

 

Click here to read the full article on Luxus Plus Magazine.

 

Featured photo : © ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO/REUTERS

Picture of Sophie Michentef
Sophie Michentef
Sophie Michentef has worked for more than 30 years in the professional press. For fifteen years, she managed the French and international editorial staff of the Journal du Textile. She now puts her press, textile, fashion, and luxury expertise at the service of newspapers, professional organizations, and companies.

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