Prigozhin is buried in a private funeral – Wagner President press service

  • By Jaroslav Lukiv
  • BBC News

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WATCH: BBC gets as close as possible to Prigog’s grave

Wagner was buried at a private funeral home in St. Petersburg, his news service said.

The ceremony, in his home town, was held “in a closed format” and “all who wish to say goodbye can visit the Borokovsky cemetery,” it said.

The mercenary leader was confirmed dead by Russian authorities after genetic analysis of 10 bodies found on the plane that crashed near Moscow on August 23.

The Kremlin has denied speculation that it was responsible for the crash.

But many Russia watchers – at home and abroad – have described Prigozhin, 62, as a “dead man walking” since the armed uprising he led was put down in June.

All 10 people on board, including Prigozhin’s right-hand man Dmitry Utkin, died in the crash, which took place in the Tver region northwest of Moscow.

The Wagner press service provided information on Prigogine’s funeral in a brief statement on Tuesday’s Telegram.

It did not provide further details.

image source, Good pictures

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Prigogine – once a Putin loyalist – led an armed uprising that was put down in June

The funeral took place at around 16:00 local time (13:00 GMT) on Tuesday, Russia’s MSK1 website reported, citing cemetery officials.

“That’s it [Prigozhin’s] Relatives wanted,” officials said.

MSK1 also said Prigozhin was buried next to his father’s grave. It also said that Wagner’s black-yellow-red flag could be seen at the site.

The cemetery was “flooded” by police and law enforcement personnel with dogs, St. Petersburg’s Fontanka news agency reported.

It said metal detectors had been installed at the entrance as authorities believed they were preparing for a mass pilgrimage to Prigogine’s grave.

image source, REX/Shutterstock

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Yevgeny Prigozhin was reportedly buried next to his father

Separately, the funeral of Valery Chekalov, Prigozhin’s top aide who was on the plane that crashed, was also held at St Petersburg’s Severnoy Cemetery on Tuesday. The 47-year-old is believed to have run Prigozhin’s non-military business interests, which Western governments say are used to finance the mercenary group.

Earlier, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the Kremlin leader would not attend Prigozhin’s funeral, despite Prigozhin’s fighters playing a key role in the full-scale invasion of Ukraine launched by Mr Putin in February 2022.

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The plane crashed in Tver, northwest of Moscow

Mr Putin remained silent for nearly 24 hours after the crash. The next day he sent his condolences to all the affected families.

And he described Prigogine as a “talented person” who “made serious mistakes in life”.

In June, Prigozhin – once a Putin loyalist – led a rebellion against the top two generals of the Russian armed forces.

His mercenaries took control of the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, and marched on Moscow – only about 200 km (125 miles) from the capital, ending the rebellion.

At the time Mr Putin described the rebellion as “betrayal” and “backstabbing”, but a deal was later struck for Wagner fighters to join Russian regular army units or go to Russian ally Belarus.

However, there is rampant speculation that Russian security forces were somehow involved in the crash.

US officials, quoted by CBS, the BBC’s media partner in the US, said the cause of the crash was an explosion on a private jet.

Mr Peskov dismissed rumors of foul play as “absolutely false”.

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