Yevgeny Prigozhin, a prominent figure in Russia’s political and military landscape, met a tragic end as he perished in a plane crash. Known as “Putin’s chef” due to his catering services for Kremlin events, Prigozhin’s influence extended far beyond the kitchen. He was the founder of Wagner, a private military company involved in conflicts across the globe. This article delves into the life, career, and controversies surrounding Yevgeny Prigozhin.

From Catering to Kremlin Connections

Born on June 1, 1961, in St. Petersburg, Yevgeny Prigozhin’s early life took a criminal turn as he spent nearly a decade in Soviet prisons for crimes including robbery and fraud. His release coincided with the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1990, marking a turning point in his life. He transitioned from a troubled past to becoming a caterer and restaurateur, showcasing his culinary talents. During this time, he crossed paths with Vladimir Putin, then a top aide to St. Petersburg’s mayor, establishing a connection that would shape his future.

Yevgeny Prigozhin

Rise to “Putin’s Chef” and Beyond (Yevgeny Prigozhin)

Leveraging his political connections, Yevgeny Prigozhin secured lucrative state contracts, leading to his moniker “Putin’s chef” as he catered to Kremlin functions. However, as tensions escalated, especially during the war with Ukraine, his nickname took a darker turn, with some referring to him as “Putin’s butcher.”

The Birth of Wagner Group

In 2014, Yevgeny Prigozhin founded the Wagner Group, a controversial private military company that played a role in conflicts involving Moscow’s allies, spanning countries like Syria, Libya, and the Central African Republic. The United States imposed sanctions on the group, accusing it of committing atrocities. Prigozhin vehemently denied these allegations.

A Key Figure in the Ukraine Conflict

Prigozhin gained international attention during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. His Wagner fighters, including a significant number of recruited convicts, were at the forefront of the assault on Bakhmut, a battle marked as one of the longest and bloodiest in the war. His adept use of social media amplified Wagner’s achievements while he criticized the military establishment, accusing it of incompetence and treason.

The Ill-Fated Mutiny

In a surprising turn of events, Prigozhin led a mutiny in June, involving Wagner fighters taking control of Rostov-on-Don, downing Russian military helicopters, and advancing toward Moscow. Putin swiftly denounced the act as treachery, promising a strong response. The crisis was defused through negotiations, resulting in Prigozhin and some fighters heading to Belarus, with charges of armed mutiny against him dropped.

Tragedy Strikes: The Plane Crash

Prigozhin’s life met a tragic end in a plane crash that claimed his life and those of several others. The plane, an Embraer SA Legacy 600, was en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg when it exhibited erratic behavior before plummeting from the sky. Russian authorities confirmed his demise, leaving many questions unanswered.


Yevgeny Prigozhin’s journey from a troubled past to becoming a significant player in Russia’s political and military circles is marked by controversy and complexity. His legacy as “Putin’s chef” and Wagner’s founder intertwines culinary expertise with military operations. The circumstances of his death only add to the enigmatic aura surrounding this influential yet polarizing figure.

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