Prigozhin’s Death and Wagner’s Future in Africa
In a violent end to the life of an entrepreneur of violence, Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, founder of the Wagner private military company (PMC), died in a jet crash on 23 August 2023 in Russia. Aboard the airplane were six other Wagner top leaders including Dmitry Utkin and Valery Chekalov. An admirer of the Third Reich, Dmitry Utkin alegedly played a key role in the founding of the PMC. He was, for example, rumored to have named the group “Wagner” in honor of Wilhelm Richard Wagner, Adolf Hitler’s favorite composer. Yevgeny V. Prigozhin was a controversial figure known for his close ties to the Russian government. His operations as a leader of Wagner have raised concerns about human rights violation, accountability, and their impact on global security. In June 2023, however, Prigozhin staged in mutiny against the Russian military leadership prompting observers to question the linkages between Wagner and the Kremlin. While Prigozhin’s death is a major blow to the Russian PMC, it would be extremely dangerous and short sighted to conclude that it marks the end of Wagner’s security and economic influence in Africa. This brief strategically discusses the scope of Wagner legacy in Africa before the death of its founder. It presents future possible scenarios and their implications for Africa.