The head of the Main Intelligence Directorate (HUR), Kyrylo Budanov, predicted what would have happened to the Wagner mercenaries entering Moscow during Prigozhin's mutiny. Intelligence sources knew there were no ministers or high officials leading the Russian government from its seat of power. Budanov says power will change hands soon but “in a more or less legal way.”
“Had Mr. Prigozhin fulfilled his initial plan, Russia would have been divided into at least two parts by now, but as he didn't, we're still about to see. Because had Prigozhin entered the Kremlin that day, he would have shown to the public that the Kremlin was empty.
“There are no ministers. There are no real high-ranking officials there. They all have escaped, and he would have demonstrated that there’s no authority in power currently in Russia.
“But on the other hand, some officials from St. Petersburg or elsewhere would start claiming that they’re the legitimate power which makes a situation of two powers in the country, which would immediately split.” Budanov told War Zone on June 29.
According to Budanov, the regime in Russia will never return to what it was before.
“But given the fact that they’ve managed to come to an agreement, which they did, it bought some time for the Russian leadership, for the Russian authorities,” he said.
“But still, their stance as an all-controlling pillar of power was greatly undermined by Prigozhin's actions, and it will never be the same again.”
Ukraine’s HUR intelligence chief also said that after the attempted armed uprising in Russia, the FSB had been tasked with eliminating the organizer and owner of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin.
“Any actions aimed at destabilizing Russia are good for Ukraine, so I was in a good mood,” Budanov said.
He confirmed that Ukrainian military intelligence had known about the intentions to carry out such actions inside Russia for a long time. However, he downplayed their impact on Russia’s invasion and Ukarine’s summer offensive.
“We can’t talk about their serious impact [on Russia’s war against Ukraine], as all these events lasted for a very short time.”
During their interview with Budanov, The War Zone asked point blank: “Will Putin be overthrown?” His response was basically yes, but not in the dramatic it would have been with Prigozhin’s “March on Moscow”:
“They will demonstrate the change of power in more or less a legal way. The precise way how it will happen, we’re about to see.”
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