Evgeny Prigogine’s “right-hand man” Dmitry Utkin has died. Who was the man called “Wagner”?

Dmitry Utkin, known as “Wagner,” was reportedly on board the plane that crashed in Russia’s Tver region on Wednesday. According to the media, Yevgeny Prigozhin’s so-called “right-hand man” is a former soldier who fought with others on the side of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria. The investigative website Bellingate wrote of Utkin’s “obsessed fascination” with the history of the Third Reich.

According to the Interfax agency, the bodies of 10 victims were found at the crash site of the Embraer plane in the Tver region on the evening of August 23. Russia’s aviation company Rosaviatsia released a list of the names of those on board: among them Yevgeny Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin, his “right-hand man”. From the latter’s nickname – Wagner – the mercenary military company Wagner Group was named.

Prigozhin’s “right hand” – who is Dmitry Utkin

Born in 1970, Utkin is a former officer of the Russian military intelligence service GRU who served in both wars in Chechnya and was among the members of Wagner’s team who took part in Russian, the Guardian reported on Thursday. 2014 Operations in the East from Ukraine. He served for 10 years as the commander of the 2nd regiment of the GRU special forces (Spetsnaz) on the border with Estonia, before retiring at the beginning of the 21st century.

Services at the scene of the accident in the Tver region of western RussiaPAP/EPA/Russia Investigative Committee

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According to the independent portal Medusa, Utkin began participating in mercenary operations in 2013, fighting on the side of President Bashar al-Assad as part of the Slavic Corps. In October of the same year the mercenaries were “forced” to return to Russia after “narrowly avoiding being surrounded by rebel forces”. The day after the plane crash in the Tver region Medusa reported that “Wagner” and his unit were returning to Syria in 2015 after training at a “specially equipped base in Krasnodar Krai”.

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Dmitry Utkin – commander of the Wagner group

Utkin was the commander of the Wagner group during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and there is a “high probability” that he appeared in the occupied territories of this country. According to Woodkin’s statements published on a channel associated with the Wagner Group, he was officially the commander of the organization in early June 2023.

Dmitry Utkin

However, as the Guardian pointed out on Thursday, although “Wagner” is often described as the founder or co-founder of the Wagner Group, his exact role in the organization is debated. Referring to the findings of the US think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies since 2020, the daily wrote that Woodkin “is unable to verify whether Wagner is the initiator of the group or represents someone else”.

See also: A mercenary from the kitchen

Woodkin’s nickname. “The Guardian” on his “crazy charm”.

In addition, the “Guardian” noted that the nickname “Wagner” should be created in honor of “Hitler’s favorite composer” Richard Wagner, recalling the text of the investigative portal Bellingate, which in 2020 wrote about “Utkin’s obsession”. History of the Third Reich”. Another report described Utkin as “adorned with numerous Nazi tattoos, including a swastika, Nazi eagle and SS lightning bolts”.

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The Guardian, meduza.io, tvn24.pl

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