(This story contains language that readers may find offensive in paragraph 5)
MOSCOW, May 24 (Reuters) –Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner mercenary group, warned that Russia could face a revolution similar to those of 1917 and lose the war in Ukraine unless the elite got serious about fighting the war.
Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine has triggered one of the deadliest European conflicts since World War Two and the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
Ukraine is preparing a counter-offensive aimed at pushing Russian troops back to the borders of before 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea, Prigozhin said. Ukraine would try to encircle Bakhmut and attack Crimea, he added.
“Most likely of all, this scenario will not be good for Russia so we need to prepare for an arduous war,” he said in an interview posted on his Telegram channel.
“We are in such a condition that we could fucking lose Russia – that is the main problem … We need to impose martial law.”
Prigozhin said his political outlook was dominated by love for the motherland and serving Putin. He said the nickname of “Putin’s chef” was stupid as he couldn’t cook, quipping that “Putin’s butcher” might be a more apt nickname.
Russia’s elite, he said, protected their own children from fighting the war while the children of ordinary Russians perished on the front, a situation he said that could trigger turmoil in Russia.
If ordinary Russians continued getting their children back in zinc coffins while the children of the elite sunned themselves abroad, he said, Russia would face turmoil along the lines of the 1917 revolutions which ushered in a civil war.
Photo – People visit the exposition of the open storage of military equipment and weapons in the Military Historical Museum of Artillery during the ‘Night of Museums 2023’ in St. Petersburg, Russia, 20 May 2023. EPA-EFE/ANATOLY MALTSEV