In front of the Wagnerian headquarters in St. Petersburg, a crowd of candles burns. The flowers the Russians bring here make a colorful carpet. Drinking alcohol in a public place is strictly prohibited in Russia, but the police officers patrolling the place sit in a police car and overlook the bottles they open.
Suddenly, an elderly woman approaches a group remembering Yevgeny Prigogine. She carries two carnations. A few sober men run up to the woman and almost carry her on a carpet of flowers. The woman leans forward, clears her throat, adds flowers to the others, and says to the men who helped her through the crowd: “Thank you, sons, God bless you.” A good man died, a righteous man.
“Would you like to make him a snack, mother?” Someone is listening carefully.
“A drop.” I rarely drink,” replied the woman, holding out a glass.
“I’ll be 94 next week.” The woman picks up a glass of vodka and takes a sip. “Relax,” he says, grilling Prigozhin, adding, “It’s a pity he didn’t come to Moscow and tell Putin the truth.
“So you think Putin killed him?” Another person in the crowd gives the woman alcohol at this point.
“No,” the old woman shook her head. “Putin is good. I voted for him. But everyone around him is lying. And he hears them. Had he not listened, the war would not have happened. Prigozhin could have stopped them, but they did not listen to him. Too bad he didn’t come to Moscow. Now there is no one to count on.
Under the flowery mountain, someone fell to his knees again. The men’s cries were heard again.
“Prigozhin saved my son Sashka”
The first flowers began to appear in front of the Wagnerists’ central office in St. Petersburg late in the evening of August 23, an hour after the news of Prigog’s death in a plane crash. Someone in the building next door turned off the lights in the rooms to make the cross.
The crowd was increasing by the hour. A day later, candles, flags, maps and plasticine figurines like Prigogine began to appear under this arbitrary monument. A police car drove past the crowd every hour.
On August 24, two jeeps drove ahead of the crowd. Two burly men jumped out of one and opened the passenger door of the other. A Caucasian man aged around 45-50 and a boy aged around 10-12 got out of the car. An old man began to arrange candles near the flowers, of which 15-18 were crucified. When questioned by a journalist, the man said he had done business with Prigogine: “A big loss.” Without answering any further questions, he turned and walked towards the cars.
Headquarters of the Wagnerians in St. Petersburg.
A woman in her 50s, arranging a large bouquet of carnations, said the Wagnerians had saved her son. “Sashka was drafted into the army in November,” says the woman. – He is an artilleryman. He was attacked near Pakmut. The son sustained head and arm injuries. Then the Wagnerians came to his aid. Sashka returned from the front, and when his health improved, he joined Prigozhin’s group. Now he earns 250 thousand. Ruble (over PLN 10,000).
“There’s no way Prigogine was on that plane”
Suddenly a car of the President stopped in front of the building. The driver pulled out a large garland, with no ribbons on it. He put it slightly to one side. He didn’t speak, he didn’t say who the flowers belonged to. He got into the car and left silently.
Three men and two women, office workers in appearance, smoke e-cigarettes and talk quietly in the distance. — In my opinion, Simonjan (Kremlin propagandist – ed.) is right. Prigozhin was unlikely to have been on that flight, one said.
Headquarters of the Wagnerians in St. Petersburg
“Well, it’s been rumored to have crashed in Africa before,” a woman admitted. Three days later it turned out that he was not on that flight – ed.). But then he wasn’t that famous, so there was no such fuss.
– After he marched in Moscow, all of Russia knew about him! The interlocutors laugh.
At one point, the group notices that their conversation is being overheard. The woman, who has never spoken a word, silences the others.
“Of all the Kremlin riffraff, only one could care about others and tell the truth.”
It gets crowded in the evening. Men come to the spontaneous memorial, fall to their knees, hit their heads on the asphalt, and sob. After kneeling for a minute or two they get up and walk sideways. From there came the sound of glass and rustling.
More wine is poured every hour. Conversations get louder. There has been a dispute at some places. One of the two who came here by accident says that Prigozhin “is someone who cares about others in Kremlin riffraff and can tell the truth.”
– No eggs! exclaimed the other, but immediately lowered his voice. “He was also obsessed with money!” Remember when they confiscated his entire bus fare after the riot?
“Well, I didn’t say he was poor. My mobilized colleague Paska said the Wagnerians received first-rate equipment. And the mobilized ones don’t even have adequate camouflage.
Another adds: “Prigozhin took the best of himself.” So murderers and thugs wore fine armor, and outlaws and conscripts went naked to the bullets.
– No shit! Someone else chimed in. “The criminals were sent to the worst heat.
Have you been to Wagner? The men turned to him.
– No. But I was in another private army. We also had criminals. They always went ahead.
In front of the headquarters of the Wagnerians in St. Petersburg
“Didn’t they make a fuss?”
“It was made clear to them that there would be no investigation for misconduct or disobedience of orders, so they knew what they were doing.
“Navalni also told the truth”
A dense group of people gradually forms to attract the attention of the police. They talk on walkie-talkies, blindfolded. “Only one of the big men who can stand up for the Russians,” continues one man. “In war and in the Kremlin. Others remain silent and stick to their positions.
“Well, Navalny was telling the truth too…” In the half-light you couldn’t tell who was speaking, but the voice was young.
“Navalny wanted Russia to lie down under the West and stick its head up their ass. Sick gays! I gotta punch. We’ll never have that!”
“Come on, gentlemen, let’s stop talking,” says the policeman, slowly approaching the group.
“What, you’re going to chase us with clubs?”
“If we have orders, we will.” You should be aware that orders are non-negotiable.
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