Yevgeny Prigozhin: The hotdog salesman who had Putin to thank for his rise – and his fall

Mugger, convict, hotdog salesman, fine-dining boss, warlord and the mercenary chief who dared to problem Vladimir Putin.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the 62-year-old proprietor of the Wagner Group and the cruellest commander of Putin’s unlawful conflict on Ukraine, was all these items earlier than his reported dying.

Now he’s the centre of a murky story of suspected revenge that brings far fewer surprises than his unimaginable rise to energy from jail to Putin’s orbit.

Prigozhin fell from grace after main a June mutiny in opposition to the Russian president within the midst of his unlawful conflict in Ukraine.

Whether or not his personal jet was shot down over the Tver area north of Moscow or crashed is unsure.

However few doubted that Putin would take his revenge in opposition to a person who was as soon as his shut ally.

Prigozhin was born in 1961 in St Petersburg, which was then referred to as Leningrad. Putin, who he would later nickname “papa”,  was born 9 years earlier in the identical metropolis.

Whereas Putin slid into the world of spycraft, Prigozhin fell into a lifetime of road muggings and petty crime.

The 18-year-old hoodlum was sentenced to 13 years in jail and was solely launched in 1990, when the Soviet Union was enduring its dying rattle.

Again in St Petersburg, he offered hotdogs within the new Russia, earlier than increase a string of eating places, together with one at a resort, which grew to become a byword for high quality eating.

Anatoly Sobchak, St Petersburg’s mayor, would go and generally carry his deputy – one Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

Years later, in his early years as president of Russia, Putin would carry visiting overseas dignitaries to eat in Prigozhin’s eating places.

The official engagements constructed up and there are pictures of the long run warlord standing poised to serve behind the long run King Charles.

Prigozhin at an event with Putin and George W Bush

Prigozhin at an occasion with Putin and George W Bush – Sergei Zhukov/Sputnik/Kremlin pool photograph by way of AP

Such successes introduced extra authorities meals contracts, earlier than Putin’s first invasion of Ukraine introduced Prigozhin with a chance.

He’s thought to have pitched Putin the potential for a mercenary group to present the Kremlin deniability over its actions in Ukraine.

Now now not a glorified caterer, Prigozhin embraced his new life – with Wagner additionally being despatched to locations like Syria and spreading its tentacles to a minimum of 10 nations in Africa.

After Putin’s second invasion of Ukraine, a video of Prigozhin inviting convicts to affix Wagner went viral and he admitted he had based the group.

In locations like Bakhmut, he gained a popularity as a brutal and heartless commander.

His rise from the cells of the Soviet Union introduced him unimaginable riches earlier than he led his prisoner-army on the ill-fated march on Moscow that many consider led “papa” to determine he needed to die.

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