A recent investigation by RTVI has found that companies connected to Wagner Private Military Company (PMC) Chief Yevgeny Prigozhin have continued to receive multimillion-dollar contracts for catering services in schools and hospitals.
Despite the recent attempted mutiny, Russian government agencies have shown no intention of terminating the existing contracts with his companies.
The investigation revealed that nine contracts, with a combined worth exceeding one billion rubles ($11 million), were awarded to Prigozhin-associated companies after the June 24 revolt.
The largest contract, valued at over 705 million rubles ($7.8 million), was granted to Prodfutservice LLC by the Department of Education's administration of Mytishchi district near Moscow.
According to the terms of the contract, the company will be responsible for supplying meals to students in municipal schools from 2023 to 2025.
Furthermore, hospitals and polyclinics under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Department of Health have also engaged Prigozhin-connected companies as meal suppliers, with contracts totalling more than 82.4 million rubles ($915,000).
The Artek children’s camp has awarded a contract worth over 260 million rubles ($2.9 million) to one of these firms, while two hospitals near Moscow have signed contracts worth more than 16.6 million rubles ($184,000).
Prigozhin has an immense business empire that stretches ‘far and wide.’ During the uprising of the Wagner group, security forces conducted searches in one of Prigozhin’s offices.
On the premises, they discovered seals belonging to 600 distinct legal entities. This revelation suggests that Prigozhin may have been involved in the operations of well over a hundred companies.
Officially, Prigozhin’s list of firms is noticeably shorter. According to counterparty verification services, as an individual entrepreneur, Prigozhin has held leadership positions in at least 10 companies and has founded 27 others at various times.
Presently, only six of these companies remain active. In which areas does Prigozhin operate? The primary areas of his work encompass:
· Wagner private military companies, consisting of political, military, and economic divisions.
· Сivilian food services such as 'Moskovskiy Shkolnik' and its involvement in school and kindergarten catering.
· Military catering associated with the Ministry of Defense.
The mutiny, initiated by Prigozhin, Wagner PMC’s founder, commenced on June 23 with a declared “march for justice” aimed at removing Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Valery Gerasimov, from their positions.
Over the course of a little over a day and a half, the mercenaries seized control of Rostov and crossed through several Russian regions, shot down six Russian army helicopters and one high-value asset plane.
However, just as they reached striking distance of Moscow, Prigozhin abruptly altered his course following an agreement negotiated with Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko.
In line with the settlement, the Wagner PMCs returned to their field camps, and all charges against Prigozhin were dropped, facilitating his relocation to Belarus.
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