Amid uncertainty over the future of the Wagner group following a failed uprising in Russia, President Vladimir Putin proposed replacing Yevgeny Prigosh with a veteran mercenary, Andrei Troshev, in command.
Five days after the Wagner Group’s failed rebellion in late June, Putin met with Prigogine and several senior Wagner fighters, according to the Russian newspaper Kommersant.
Putin reportedly offered the Wagner mercenaries several options on how to go about their business, including the possibility of continuing the war under Troshev.
Who is Andrei Troshev?
According to EU sanctions documentsAndrey Troshev goes by the call sign “Sedoi” or “Grey Hair” and is a retired colonel who is one of the founding members and executive director of the Wagner Group.
Born in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) in the former Soviet Union in April 1953, EU sanctions detail Troshev’s role as “Chief of Staff” of the Wagner Group’s operations in Syria, where the group supported the Syrian government led by Bashar. Al-Asad.
“Andrei Troshev is a direct participant in the Wagner Group’s military operations in Syria. He was particularly involved in the Deir es-Zor region. Therefore, he makes a critical contribution to Bashar al-Assad’s war efforts, and therefore receives support and benefits from the Syrian regime,” the sanctions documents read.
Troshev has close ties to several high-ranking figures in the Wagner Group, including founder Dmitry Utkin, a former GRU military intelligence officer, and commanders Alexander Sergeevich Kuznetsov and Andrei Bogatov.
Troshev is also present in the United Kingdom list Economic sanctions targets, “The chief executive of the Wagner Group. So, he supported the Syrian regime, was a member of a militia, and oppressed the civilian population of Syria.”
A veteran of multiple wars, Troshev fought for a decade in Afghanistan during the Soviet-Afghan War and later in the North Caucasus, particularly demonstrating his bravery in the Chechen War alongside Russian forces. He also served as a commander in the SOBR, the rapid reaction special forces unit of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
A decorated military veteran, he was twice awarded the Order of the Red Star for his service in Afghanistan. In 2016, he was awarded Russia’s highest medal, the Hero of Russia, for leading the Palmyra storm in Syria against Islamic State terrorists.
Yevgeny Prigozhin has not been seen in public since leaving the southern Russian city of Rostov on June 24.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden said the United States did not know where Prigogine was, but he joked that the Wagner Group leader may have been poisoned.
“If I were him, I would watch what I eat. I would watch my menu,” Biden said, according to the White House. “But all jokes aside … I don’t think any of us know exactly what Prigosh’s future holds in Russia.”
Current activities of the Wagner Group
Belarusian officials announced Friday that Wagner Group fighters are providing military training to its territorial defense forces.
The short-lived insurgency of the Wagner group ended with an agreement that required the relocation of some Wagner fighters and Prigog to Belarus.
“Near Asipovichi, units of the Territorial Defense Forces are training,” the Belarusian Defense Ministry said in a statement, quoted by news agency AFP. “Fighters of the Wagner private military company serve as trainers in several military units.”