Salute to Prigozhin or Putin’s provocation to more brutal actions. Who benefits from the death of the propagandist Tatarsky?
Vladlen Tatarsky (Photo:Владлен Татарський)
A part of Russian special services wants to establish a hardline repressive regime in Russia, introduce martial law, and silence everyone they can
It is necessary to consider different versions of events that may have led to the death of the propagandist Vladlen Tatarsky, as we do not have enough information for now. But I will add to the list of theories that the Russian special services did it. This version is also actively discussed on Russian social networks, their Telegram channels, and Russian opposition media, where it seems to be the most popular version. Notably, it is assumed in these spaces that this assassination was carried out, primarily, to blame Ukraine and scare the Russian elites, who are too relaxed and have begun to criticize Putin, as evidenced by the famous telephone conversation between Yosyp Prigozhin and Farkhad Akhmedov.
This should be understood in the appropriate tone. But it could become an excuse for pushing Putin to introduce martial law in Russia.
This version is quite reasonable. There are also other showdowns in St.Petersburg. It has been known for a long time that there are public, high-conflict showdowns between Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Wagner PMC, and St. Petersburg Governor Beglov. There is an additional conflict line here.
And this odious now-dead figure was a Ukrainophobe, a very aggressive one, who constantly appealed to kill Ukrainians, and he could become a convenient victim for that — a sacred victim similar to Dugin's daughter. Therefore, on the one hand, it is no regretful loss. Still, on the other, he was a well-known figure who could cause an emotional resonance and be used for an emotive anti-Ukrainian aggressive campaign in Russia. They can attempt to use his death to consolidate everyone against Ukraine once again, that it is necessary to continue the war with Ukraine "to the victorious end," etc.
The official story is an open provocation against Ukraine, accusing it of using terrorist methods, and against the anti-war position in Russia.His death may also be used to push the relevant authorities to take harsher actions, tighten the screws, as they say in Russia, and increase repression inside Russia. But I don’t rule out the possibility that the part of the Russian opposition, which stayed in Russia and simply doesn’t have an opportunity to conduct normal public opposition activities now, may accept terrorist methods to fight the government. In any case, this sort of political tradition existed in Russia prior to 1917.
We don’t have much information for now, but the Russian authorities are blaming one Daria Trepova for the attack, who was previously arrested during anti-war protests. But simply accepting this raises certain concerns, as we are immediately pushed to a specific version of events: that there are dangerous anti-war activists, how bad they are, they are enemies of Russia, etc.
It pushes more towards the first version that there was a clear provocation by the Russian special services, which the showdown around Yevgeny Prigozhin and PMK Wagner points to. And the official story is an open provocation against Ukraine, accusing it of using terrorist methods, and against the anti-war position in Russia. I am still inclined to the version that this is a provocation by the Russian special services.
Another theory that’s an offshoot of various conspiratorial ones is that this was a threatening signal to Prigozhin. Some of his sympathizers are sharing this story in the circle of these so-called Z-patriots, the most chauvinistic and aggressive supporters of the war against Ukraine.
They say that Evgeny Prigozhin was supposed to come to this meeting with the so-called military commander Tatarsky himself. Whether it’s true or not — we do not know, but the fact that it happened in his cafe and could be such a greeting, a warning to Prigozhin, saying, if you flirt too much, the special services know where and how to find you and what to do with you.
The official story is an open provocation against Ukraine, accusing it of using terrorist methods, and against the anti-war position in Russia
I also accept such a theory, because it is absolutely not a secret, even in Russia itself, and it is written about in pro-Kremlin publications. Prigozhin from the Wagner PMC has a conflict not only with the military — with Shoigu and Gerasimov — but also in the Russian special services. They treat him critically and negatively and consider him a potential threat, paradoxically, for Putin's regime. He doesn’t play by the rules and allows himself too much freedom. Generally, this version can also be considered, but it is a subset of the theory that the Russian special services are the guilty party,
For the Russian special services, such as the FSB, it is normal when everyone acts according to the ranking order. "Each cricket knows his six," no one should act on his sole discretion, to allow himself to have some independent statements, etc. Someone in this role, Girkin (Strelkov) for example, he is assigned to this role controlled. Not everyone else can behave like he has. So what about Tatarsky? He was at the reception in the St. George's Hall of the Kremlin when Putin signed the annexation of four occupied regions of Ukraine.
And that’s when he recorded this famous video that Ukrainians should be killed, robbed, and everything possible should be done with them, but especially to kill and rob. He even boasted about it and recorded this video in St. George's Hall. So he was included in this elite circle, which was supposed to celebrate the "increase" of the land, the annexation of newly occupied territories. Therefore, he is not an ordinary figure.
Perhaps he doesn’t reach the level of conditional "fame" as Simonyan, Solovyov, and Skabeyeva do. He was, however, one of the leaders in the so-called second echelon among these "warlords" in Telegram channels. Moreover, he consolidated some of the most chauvinist anti-Ukrainian aggressive public messaging. That's why the figure is quite active, his elimination has a large resonance, and I think their calculation included these facts.
We are talking about those who supported the war against Ukraine most aggressively from the beginning, who didn’t hide, and on the contrary, flaunted their Ukrainophobia even before last February 24. They called for a direct war long before then. They constantly call to strike at headquarters, as they say, at the "decision-making centers."
This is their style. They want to be even more radical and more aggressive than Putin. It's's actually their worldview. They're not just following the instructions, but are already used to thinking that way. This is already their mindset, and they reflect the thoughts of a part of the Russian society. According to the estimates of both Russian sociologists and people who monitor public opinion in Russia, no more than 15-20% of the Russian public adhere to this aggressive anti-Ukrainian position, which is manifested precisely in support of the most aggressive actions.
That is still a large number, but it represents an extreme wing of war supporters, the most aggressive camp of war hawks. What they write reflects their honest thoughts. This is not just a game, not just the implementation of propagandistic attitudes. It is, unfortunately, a manifestation of an actual political, ideological position.
Concerning the special services, it seems that there are also different outlooks and internal parties. For example, maybe a part of Russian special services wants to establish a hardline repressive regime in Russia, introduce martial law, and silence everyone they can. To do this, they want to push the Russian authorities to the harshest and cruelest actions. Therefore, this is the danger here, these people use terrorist methods by themselves, and they want Russia to be turned into something like North Korea.
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