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Russian media: Prigozhin-linked firms receive state contracts after Wagner rebellion

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 3, 2023 4:09 PM 1 min read
Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin leaves the Southern Military District headquarters on June 24, 2023, in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Companies associated with Yevgeny Prigozhin signed state contracts worth at least 2 billion rubles (up to $21 million) within a month after his Wagner Group rebellion, the Russian independent outlet Agentstvo reported on Aug. 3.

Based on the state contracts of 17 companies, the outlet concluded that the largest contracts the Prigozhin-connected firms received concerned meals for schoolchildren. This included 705 million rubles ($7.5 million) for the "Social Nutrition" Center, 935 million rubles ($10 million) for Prodfoodservice, and 260 million rubles ($2.8 million) for Preschool Nutrition Combine.

According to Agentstvo, military related-contracts, such as meals for soldiers, remain classified. However, the continued financial support for Prigozhin-connected firms could indicate that Moscow keeps financing the Wagner Group's activities in Africa, the journalists concluded.

The Wagner Group's founder launched an armed rebellion against the Russian government on June 23. His mercenaries occupied the city of Rostov and marched on Moscow, only to abruptly end the insurrection on June 24.

After a deal brokered between the government and Prigozhin, Putin announced that Wagner mercenaries will be allowed to leave for Belarus or sign contracts with the regular military.

However, Prigozhin was seen back in Russia in late July on the sidelines of the Africa-Russia Summit in St. Petersburg. At the same time, his Wagner contractors began arriving in Belarus, providing training support to the Belarusian military.

The U.K. Defense Ministry said that Wagner is also expanding its activities in Africa.

On July 27, Putin claimed that the Wagner Group was "fully financed by the state," adding that between May 2022 and May 2023, it received over 86 billion rubles ($910 million) from the state's budget.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Prigozhin-linked companies have received contracts for more than 400 billion rubles (over $4.2 billion) between 2014-2022.

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