Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

Wagner...The Stew and The Cook

Yevgeny Prigozhin, commander of the Wagner militia, his deputy and senior aides, were all killed, while Russian President Vladimir Putin remained... This is normal, as the stew was burnt and the real cook remained... Putin stayed because he is good in the political kitchen, according to the rules of the Russian game.

Prigozhin’s preparation burned when he played Russian roulette mindlessly, not without a heart. He was warned by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of potential threats to his life when he rebelled against Putin and advanced towards Moscow at the time. But Prigozhin replied: “I don’t care... I will die.”

In fact, President Putin did not become the real chef of Russia because he has no heart, but rather because he has a mind, whatever his opponents describe him, or portray the nature of his rule, as he adopted the mentality with which post-Soviet Russia could be managed, and according to the rules of the game there.

Prigozhin, for his part, forgot the rules of the game, as if he was a naive dreamer watching politics through the illusion of the CNN screen after Obama and Trump, and at a time when Putin was recalling that on the way to power there are no friends or repeated accounts, and that if a bullet is fired, it does not return.

Prigozhin, whom Putin described as “a man with a complicated path,” was brave and ignorant. Every ignorant is bold, as he fired the shot and ran faster than it, asking for Putin’s forgiveness, and accepting Belarusian mediation.

There he was caught, according to the saying: “Revenge is a dish that is best served cold.”

Prigozhin was given a reprieve, a rope was extended to him, and then the “rope-plane” was pulled from the sky, killing him and his aides.

If Machiavelli were alive among us, he would laugh at what Prigozhin did, and he would not even put it in a margin on the last page of a book, but rather would look at it as a political joke.

Well, what are the lessons? Did Putin win? Of course not, because he had an internal struggle, which means that he had a crisis that he did not deal with, but rather overcame its strangest moments.

The lessons say that Putin’s friend is only the one who obeys him.

Putin has an internal and external battle, and the one who is strong internally is powerful externally. The lesson says that those who follow Wagner are Putin’s enemies, while those who obey Putin are aware that whoever shoots in politics loses half the battle.

The strong do not use “bullets” in politics, but rather trickery. In our Islamic history, Caliph Al-Mu’tadid once shouted at his workers, or his men, saying: “Where are the tricks of men?” Where he denounced their violence, and their lack of ingenuity.

The ruses fed Putin in Ukraine and with the Wagner leader, as whoever takes out the militia genie cannot put him back in the bottle. Even if the militia leaders are liquidated, the state is one thing, and the militias are another.

Prigozhin was killed and the prestige in Moscow was shaken. In politics, prestige is not granted twice... You are either dreaded or become a wounded lion. Every event has consequences, and the days are full of surprises. But there are no surprises in Russia, but rather endings and beginnings, and it is all a game of roulette.

For those who wonder about this term, it is a game of testing the gun in the head or in the mouth, with one bullet, a matter of hit or miss. The bullet hit Prigozhin and his men this time, but treason continues.