1. Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin was born on June 1, 1961, in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), Russia. Raised in a modest family, he showed early entrepreneurial spirit by selling contraband goods during the Soviet era.
2. In 1979, when he was 18, Mr. Prigozhin got his first criminal conviction—a two-and-a-half-year suspended sentence for theft. Then, two years later, he received a 13-year prison term for robbery and theft, serving nine years behind bars.
3. During the 1990s, he initiated a fast-food venture of moderate triumph. He established an upscale branch in Saint Petersburg, frequented by patrons such as Putin. Recognized as "Chef to Putin," Prigozhin's catering enterprise arranged meals for the Russian leader, word leader and nourished the Kremlin's military.
4. Ever since establishing the Wagner mercenary group in 2014, Prigozhin had evolved into a vital asset in Putin's aspiration to rejuvenate Russian sway on a worldwide scale.
5. Prigozhin's sphere of influence extends beyond military exploits. He has been implicated in orchestrating disinformation campaigns and meddling in foreign elections, most notably the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The Internet Research Agency, widely believed to be controlled by Prigozhin, has been accused of spreading propaganda and sowing discord through social media platforms.
6. Earlier this year, in January, a 62-year-old admitted to founding, leading, and funding the secretive private military group Wagner. This organization has worked with the Russian army during their invasion of Ukraine. Western countries and UN experts have accused Wagner mercenaries of human rights abuses in Africa, including the Central African Republic, Libya, and Mali.
7. Wagner Group's Yevgeny Prigozhin, believed to have perished in a tragic plane crash in Russia on August 23, 2023, was recognized as a prominent Russian oligarch, commanding mercenary forces and once holding a position of trust as a confidant to President Vladimir Putin. However, his trajectory took a drastic turn when he initiated a rebellion in June 2023, leading to a rupture in their previously close association.