The boss of Russia’s shadow army has targeted unnamed figures in the country’s presidential administration in a violent diatribe about traitors, YouTube and punishment with a ‘sledgehammer’.
Yevgeny Prigozhin’s latest comments appear to be his most direct threats yet in a feud that has been simmering for months as the mercenary boss and enforcer plenipotentiary tests the patience of the country’s top officials.
Oddly enough, his outburst was fueled by a seemingly innocent question as to why prosecutors have yet to follow through on his request and have blocked YouTube across the country.
Prigozhin called the video-sharing service the “information scourge of our time” and claimed that the “main reason” the site has not been shut down yet is because of “a large number of people in Staraya Square in the Presidential Administration” who Just think of one thing: the sooner Russia loses the war, the sooner the Americans come to regulate us.”
“Because if we fall on our knees before Uncle Sam, he will forgive us all our sins: for supporting pro-Russian interests, for supporting Putin, and for generally living on this earth. Lord, this will not happen. Mind you, it’s not enough to humiliate yourself in front of the Americans. You have to do it in a way that makes them happy. But this will never happen. They don’t take you in. And then you come to us, where Wagner’s sledgehammer is already waiting for you,” he said through his press service.
Prigozhin also took the opportunity to be outraged at “the bastards” who he says are “pretending to take part” in the war against Ukraine, but are actively working against it and “moving their relatives abroad”, apparently referring to high officials.
“Those actively using YouTube will be identified and will face a well-deserved punishment after it is banned,” he said.
His diatribe even seemed to shock some pro-Kremlin pundits.
“Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin is out of control,” propagandist Sergei Mardan wrote, noting that compared to Prigozhin, Kremlin foe Alexei Navalny seems like a “puppy.”
Prigozhin, once seen as a close ally of Vladimir Putin, seems to have increasingly tested the Kremlin in recent months by blasting top military men and hijacking PR efforts for the war with a spotlight on his horde of freed prisoners who are mercenaries become.
A day before his latest outburst, he released footage of himself sending the newest group of pardoned prisoners away in exchange for a turn on the battlefield.
“I said I need your criminal talents to kill the enemy in the war. Now your criminal talents are not needed, so try to remember that you don’t have to go back to prison,” he told the group.