A couple of weeks prior to Prigozhin’s unsuccessful uprising in June, the Russian Ministry of Defense set a deadline of 1 July for mercenary groups to enter into military contracts.
Prigozhin declined to sign these contracts, as he was opposed to placing Wagner under the authority of the ministry. President Putin supported the contract arrangement proposed by the ministry, marking the initial public rift with his longstanding associate Prigozhin.
This dispute escalated, ultimately resulting in Prigozhin’s rebellion.
However, the implications of the decree on the Wagner fighters, who are currently lacking a clear leader, remain uncertain.
According to Mr. Burkovskyi’s perspective, owing to their extensive military experience, these fighters could be valuable assets for the Russian army.
“They chose Wagner because Wagner gave them special treatment, without the bureaucracy of the huge Russian army. If they get special treatment under Putin’s orders, I don’t think they care about where, to whom and for whom they will fight.”
Ms Seskuria believes that although the decree may have an effect in the short term, there are loyal Prigozhin supporters who will not take the oath.
“This can potentially create problems for Putin in a longer term-perspective,” he says.
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