Wagner Chief Prigozhin On Downed Plane


Wagner Chief Yevgeny Prigozhin has been confirmed as one of the 10 people aboard an Embraer Legacy business jet that crashed in Russia on Aug. 23. The crash appeared unsurvivable and all the bodies were recovered at the scene, according to the BBC. Prigozhin led a failed mutiny against the Russian armed forces in June but had since returned to Russia after a deal was reached with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Wagner said in a statement that the plane was taken down by Russian “air defenses” on a flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg but offered no evidence of that.

The network said the flight appeared to be normal until 30 seconds before the crash. Video showed the jet, possibly missing a wing, spiraling vertically and flight trackers measured its descent at 8,000 feet per minute. There was smoke and flame coming from the plane and the wreckage was consumed by the post-crash fire. Russian authorities have been uncharacteristically forthcoming with information and have released the names of all 10 aboard. The seven passengers were all Wagner officials, including Prigozhin and his right-hand man Dmitry Utkin.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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    • So sad that a crew of two pilots and presumably a flight attendant had to be included.

      David Gagliardi, not intending to get religious here, but I hope you don’t mind me making attribution of your comment to Jesus. According to the authors of the biblical book of Matthew these words were spoken by Jesus after Simon Peter cut off the ear of a high priest’s slave whom Simon Peter perceived as a threat to Jesus. Ironically it is a text quoted by Christians world wide, including mainstream and evangelical Christians in the US as well as Russian Orthodox Christians in Russia.

      Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

      • nothing like a bit of tangential information to add to the mix. What are the names of the authors that you cite?

        • I believe if Wagner Group pulls their forces out of Ukraine the War will end quickly. No reason to fight now, since Vlad will make life for any Wagner person Hell back in Russia. Prigozhin regrets giving up on pursuing Vlad so easily back in June.

  1. I was blessed with a superb high school education curtesy of wonderful Jesuit priests. As I recall the biblical “live by the sword ,die by the sword” was interpreted as “those who live by violence will die by violence”, and was seen as a call for pacifism in Christ name.

    Prigozhin made life choices that will now be judged by a higher power. It would be inappropriate for me to suggest how anyone should feel about that.

  2. While most likely to be on Putin’s orders, there’s a minute possibility the plane crashed owing to maintenance issues. It was an Embraer and I don’t think they could have obtained service parts for over a year now.

  3. Holes in the aluminum wreckage pieces as shown by Reuters News Network were said by their Military aviation experts, to clearly have been ” caused by an obvious missile or rocket strike. “

    • It’s pure speculation on my part, but I’m not sure the “official” investigation on this one will be particularly honest so, I’m betting ground. Something big and mobile like a Buk would certainly cover it, but that would probably have been obvious. So, I’m betting on a MANPAD, like a Verba or Igla. Might be something older, too, given the state of Russian munition stores and that this would (should?) have been an easy target with no countermeasures.

    • If we had an AWACS close enough to have tracked that incident, the news coverage would probably be more focused on the downed AWACS that had violated Russian airspace and risked starting an open war. But that doesn’t mean the data you imagine doesn’t exist somewhere else.

    • While like everyone I’m happy to ascribe this to Putin, it’s possible it was something else. He made lots of enemies, like the entire Ukrainian nation. They’ve been getting more effective inside Russia. Unlikely but maybe they pulled off a opp here.

  4. Hmmmmm….
    “Russian authorities have been uncharacteristically forthcoming with information and have released the names of all 10 aboard.”

    I’m still not convinced he was actually on that aircraft.

  5. I’m not completely sold on the fact that he was on the plane. There was 2 aircraft flying the same route with the following aircraft turning around as the one plane was falling up the ground.

    Russians are always so truthful on whom, how many, etc etc on these types of high profile/valuable targets.

    As sick as it sounds, I’ll need absolute proof he was on this plane. Pics of him boarding the plane, pics of him deceased at the crash site and things like this. Putin is a very evil individual, I hate to even say or call him human but we all know we’re lied to and not told the truth of these deaths. Too many accidentally falling out windows, drowning in swimming pools, falling down stairs and the list goes on and on.

    I need proof.

    • I’m with you on that one. Prigoshin is (was?) a thoroughly evil person, but certainly not stupid. He knows (knew?) Putin well enough to be certain whatever “agreement” they may have had after the mutiny attempt, Putin would eventually find a way to kill him. Climbing on an airplane with his number two and several other high-ranking Wagner Group henchmen just doesn’t seem credible to me. Way too tempting a target for old Vlad to pass up. Short of verifiable DNA evidence, I remain very skeptical that he is dead. It is interesting that now Ukraine’s Zelensky is encouraging Wagner soldiers to switch sides in order to seek revenge against the man (Putin) who killed their leader. Strange times indeed!