Who Will Fill the Wagner Group Void Next?

(HorizonPost.com) – Mercenary leaders that were once considered business rivals of Yevgeny Prigozhin have been submitting their applications to the Russian government in hopes of stepping into the void left by his death. One report suggests that the most likely contender is a fighting force controlled by Russian intelligence that goes by the moniker of Redut and has a history of protecting national industrial assets.

Ex-KGB agent and oligarch Gennady Temchenko is known to be the mercenary outfit’s founder. The businessman’s force started off small and saw its first deployment to Syria after Russian national forces moved into the country at the request of Bashar al-Assad in 2015. At the time, the organization fielded only two teams of 55 and 65 men.

More opportunity presented itself for Temchenko following the attempted mutiny by Prigozhin and his private army. Their failed march on Moscow led the Kremlin to begin searching for a replacement force in earnest.

Redut appears to have the favor of Putin and ex-Wagner leadership have already begun taking jobs with their former competitor. Although the group seems to be the Wagner-replacement frontrunner, at least three other lesser-known private armies are reportedly in the running.

The face and commander of the now-favored private army is Prigozhin’s former head of intelligence, Anotoly Karazi. The ex-Wagner executive and fighter has been steadily recruiting officers from among the ranks of his previous employer for the last two months.

Prigozhin’s August 22 plane crash killed a reported nine others, several of whom were top commanders for the Wagner Group. In addition to the recent deaths, it appears that the force is continuing to bleed leadership. The organization’s highest-ranking remaining officer is said to have already taken a job with Redut. Though not acknowledged by the Kremlin, many have suggested that Prigozhin was assassinated on orders from President Putin. An unusually large number of critics and enemies of the Russian head-of-state have died under questionable circumstances.

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