Wall Watchers’ Delight

Russian President Vladimir Putin met mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin after the failed Wagner group mutiny last month, the Kremlin says. Prigozhin, who heads the mercenary group, was among 35 Wagner commanders invited to the meeting in Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov added. He said that President Putin had given an “assessment” of the Ukraine war effort and the mutiny. 

The rebellion, launched on 23 June, lasted only 24 hours. Under a deal to end the mutiny, which saw Wagner troops seize a city and march on Moscow, charges against Prigozhin were dropped and he was offered a move to Belarus. There had been very public infighting between Wagner and Russia’s ministry of defence over the conduct of the war. Prigozhin had repeatedly accused the ministry of failing to supply his group with ammunition. 

But on Monday, Mr Peskov said the Wagner chief was among the commanders who were invited to the Kremlin five days after the mutiny collapsed. “The president gave an assessment of the company’s actions on the front,” Mr Peskov is quoted as saying by Interfax news agency. “He also gave assessment to the 24 June events. Putin listened to the commanders’ explanations and suggested variants of their future employment and their future use in combat.” According to the spokesman, Prigozhin told Mr Putin that Wagner unconditionally supported him.

The Wagner chief’s current whereabouts are unclear.


Comment: Didn’t see that coming. I’m not sure this is an effort to make Putin appear strong and decisive or concrete evidence that he remains fully in control. Or is it an effort to erase the whole ugly incident from the history books. I am sure this move will keep the Kremlin watchers guessing. Guessing who’s in and who’s out at the Kremlin was once a cherished pastime among western intelligence analysts. There’s another story out there claiming that German Intelligence was listening in on the Lukashenko – Prigozhin conversations. More grist for the Kremlin watchers. 

In other Kremlin news Gerasimov is out as top general in charge of the SMO (if it’s still called that), but remains as Chief of General Staff. He’s replaced as overall SMO commander by General Colonel Mikhail Teplinsky, who served as the commander of Russia’s VDV for the past year. The British Defense Ministry said that Teplinsky is one of few top generals in Russia considered to be “widely respected by the rank-and-file” soldiers. Shoigu apparently remains as Defense Minister. He’s seen as absolutely loyal to Putin. Surovokin hasn’t been seen or heard from, but I think it’s safe to say he’s out as deputy SMO commander.

Putin has gone through SMO commanders faster than his underwear. It’s a sure sign that he knows his war has not gone according to plan. But it’s kind of refreshing to see a country’s leader sack his military commanders when they can’t produce desired results.


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35 Responses to Wall Watchers’ Delight

  1. F & L of the Punting Squad says:

    They’re now (today) reporting those 2 recent strikes by the Ukrainian side on the Rostov area and Kerch bridge (both shot down by air defense according to reports) as being done by updated S-200 systems which were redesigned to hit land targets. Said redesign claimed by Zelensky as done by Ukrainian engineers. Given the present Nato summit in Vilnius the representation may be a bit fuzzy and have a large PR component. IOW if the Times article on the summit is in the ballpark, there is hesitancy especially in the wake of Biden’s cluster weapons announcement and Wagner not being disbanded, which looks possibly to be a tactical temporizing decision by Putin. Tough call. Wagner is very popular among large sections of the Russian peoples from what I can tell, despite everything you will hear otherwise.
    I missed the Gerasimov announcement. Naryshkin the SVR chief and Zolotov the Rossgvardia chief also met with Wagner & Prigozhin on or about the 29th, whether or not in the same meeting with Putin, no idea.

    With your photo there of the old timers and this sit-down with rebellious war chiefs it brings to mind the stories of Krushchev and Beria et al meeting with Stalin a week or two immediately after the disastrous initial invasion of Barbarossa. Stalin thought they were there to do him in according to many accounts, but it didn’t turn out to be so. Striking parallels with divergences, and better pop music, at least I think so.

    Mari Kraimbrery & Dima Bilan: Ты не моя пара (You’re not my pair)

    Interesting because both are huge popstars in the Russian speaking world. Mari is originally Ukrainian but moved to Russia at age 13. Dima is Russian. The song is brilliant with fantastic wordplay and it’s been performed almost nonstop since very late 2021.

    • KjHeart says:

      F & L

      found (partial) lyrics on that music video and did a free translation program on it

      “This kitchen remembers too many fights
      We were so carried, not a word more
      My head hurts so much and not from the virus
      Minus minus, I can’t take it anymore
      You seem to be in English, and I’m in Yiddish
      And Google translate will not help, well, you see
      Black strong with bergamot, on, drink
      And pour me dry red, I’m at zero
      I’m not your fight, I’m not your boyfriend
      You are not my mate
      There is no fire, only the remains of steam like a bar
      With IQOS I stand stupid and really, I try to forget
      And the heart is so sparkling
      You are not my fight, you are not my boyfriend
      You are not my mate
      There is no fire, only the remains of steam like a bar
      With IQOS I stand stupid and really, I try to forget
      And the heart sparkles so, and
      I would have forgotten a long time ago
      I don’t need anything, just not a wing
      But in all your photos, someone is in my place
      There you are in new flights
      How annoying is all this?
      I’ll record a voice for you this Wednesday
      But no matter what you answer me, I will not come
      And his own strong with bergamot, on, drink
      And pour me dry red, I’m at zero
      You are not my fight, you are not my boyfriend
      You are not my mate
      There is no fire, only the remains of steam like a bar
      With IQOS I stand stupid and really, I try to forget
      And the heart is so sparkling
      I’m not your fight, I’m not your boyfriend
      You are not my mate
      There is no fire, only the remains of steam like a bar
      With IQOS I stand stupid and really, I try to forget
      I’m trying to forget, yeah
      You are not my fight, oh
      You’re not my fight, oh-oh-oh
      M-m-m-m, and-and
      I’m not your fight, I’m not your boyfriend
      You are not my mate
      There is no fire, only the remains of steam like a bar
      With IQOS I stand stupid and really, I try to forget
      And the heart is so sparkling
      You are not my fight, you are not my boyfriend
      You are not my mate
      There is no fire, only the remains of steam like a bar
      With IQOS I stand stupid and really, I try to forget
      And the heart sparkles so, and
      Also in the….”

  2. wiz says:

    Teplinsky is respected by some Ukrainian commanders as well.
    I think he was instrumental in preventing the last year’s Ukrainian offensive in Kharkov from turning into a complete disaster for the Russian forces.

    That’s what’s scary about the Russians. They keep throwing sh*t at a wall until it sticks, and they don’t mind the butcher’s bill they have to pay for the learning process.

    • leith says:

      Wiz –

      I don’t believe Teplinskii had anything to do with Kharkiv last year. He was busy at the time on the left bank (west bank) of the Dnipro during the Kharkiv counteroffensive. It was Teplinskii who successfully withdrew Russian troops across the river while under fire during Ukraine’s Kherson-Berslav counteroffensive. Surovikin got the credit, but it was due to Teplinskii’s planning and execution that made it a success.

  3. Fred says:

    Putin’s firing generals amost as fast as Lincoln did. On a sad note it doesn’t appear that as many are dying on the front lines. But it does serve as a distraction from Ukraine’s “spring” offensive. Which has made what gains since what’s his name’s mercenaries took control of the Russian logistics hub at Rostov?

    • wiz says:


      Ukrainians have been busy attriting Russian artillery and hitting their logistics.
      Yes, they have a lot of casualties but so do the Russians.

      It is not unlike a chess game with two players of similar capacities.
      Eventually one player might obtain a slightly better position, captures the opponent’s pawn and then the situation begins deteriorate quickly as his opponent is unable to plug ever increasing gaps in his defense.

      • Fred says:


        In a war of attrition the smaller side is going to lose. Especially since they effectively have no economy and the EU is busy destroying much of their own via the sanctions that aren’t destroying the Russians. But any day now the UA spring offensive will punch a hole in the like and ….

      • PeterHug says:

        It may at some point become evident that Ukraine has retained a strategic reserve, and the Russians are out of any uncommitted troops. If that’s the case, it will eventually make a real difference.

        (And let’s hope that Putin doesn’t find an analogue to Grant.)

      • Mark Logan says:


        On the subject of Ukraine’s strategy, the artillery planner who goes by the nom de vid of ‘Arty Green” has a new interview. He is an exceptionally clear thinker and communicator, and has in this and previous vids expressed a healthy respect for Teplinsky’s professionalism. I suspect this may be true insights on Ukraine’s military thinking.


        • TTG says:

          Mark Logan,

          Excellent and in depth interview with Arty Green. He’s one smart cannon cocker. My assessment, from what little I can see, tracks with his and he sees a lot more than I do.

          • Whitewall says:

            “Arty” made a reference back to Saddam Hussein and Gulf War 1 by reminding us Iraq was driven out of Kuwait quickly with massive casualties and almost total loss of armor along the ‘highway of death’ I think it was. To Saddam, even though his war fighting capacity was gone, he himself was left standing which in an autocrat’s mind must mean ‘I won’.

          • F & L says:

            Does he mention that there are sources who have expressed the opinion that due to rumors of a potential big Ru offensive planned for the admittedly unforeseeable future, that (General) Custer weapons are not so much now in use because they forgot the phone number to the 155 Hotel Chain but more likely because Custard Weep-Ons are dandylions for stopping Infant-Tree attacks?
            I realize, apologetically, that mention of Wangers is frowned down upon here for reasons of decorum but if you like to use your brow, Sir, with a tranny slate app (required chalk board in toodayz Milly Terry) here’s a recent brief informed discussion:


        • leith says:

          Mark – Thanks for that link to the Art Green interview.

          His mention of success by autumn is a bit ambitious IMHO. Was he speaking of just the Southern counteroffensive liberating Zaporizhzhiya Oblast and the left bank of Kherson Oblast do you think, or all occupied territories?

          I believe he is correct that China would gladly see the denuclearization of Russia.

          Does anybody know which Ukrainian general he outed previously for using RU style frontal assaults that had ended badly?

          • Mark Logan says:


            I’m probably wrong, but I thought “a couple months” was his opinion on when Russian artillery should be degraded (in various ways) to the point where it is no longer a prohibitively costly obstacle to overcome for armor and infantry. Not that the job would be done anywhere specifically. The softest spot could appear anywhere.

            I too think they are going for it all. Seems to me they want to keep the Russians spread out, not chase them into the breakaway oblasts while they still have a lot of assets and some morale. By all means keep trying to defend Zaporizhia, you bastards. Keep those nice long LOCs out there to hit. To take it all without having to rubble a lot of cities in those oblasts they need a general collapse in Russian will to fight.

            Seen five Arty interviews and can’t recall him naming anyone in the Ukrainian military but has expressed a LOT of criticisms. Surely his targets and the people who count know who he’s talking about. Smart cannon cocker, he is.

  4. Babeltuap says:

    In war if your plan works out 70% that’s like 100%. If you get 70% it worked amazingly well considering 100’s of thousands of people trying to constantly sabotage it. Russia is probably around 62% even with this Wagner wrench. Not to shabby.

    The real war however is not actually this war. This war is over. The real one just started and will last for decades. I hope I’m not around to see it get in full swing but I probably will.

  5. F & L says:

    Relevance is dubious unless you feel like litigation over “Nasty Old Guy who Stays around forever inexplicably” and cite the above Stalin photo as exhibit 1.
    (Does “Joe and Joe” evoke the derogatory “So and so?”)
    It does go some way to confirming Colonel Lang’s anecdote regarding an encounter he personally had with his nibs. (I never doubted it. It’s been confirmed in so many other video clips since then). Maybe our host can save the photo as an election meme in case we don’t turn into radioactive neutrons and alpha-particles.

    Old yeller: Biden’s private fury.
    In public, President Biden likes to whisper to make a point. In private, he’s prone to yelling.

    Behind closed doors, Biden has such a quick-trigger temper that some aides try to avoid meeting alone with him. Some take a colleague, almost as a shield against a solo blast.
    The president’s admonitions include: “God dammit, how the f**k don’t you know this?!,” “Don’t f**king bullsh*t me!” and “Get the f**k out of here!” — according to current and former Biden aides who have witnessed and been on the receiving end of such outbursts.
    Why it matters: The private eruptions paint a more complicated picture of Biden as a manager and president than his carefully cultivated image as a kindly uncle who loves Aviator sunglasses and ice cream.

    Some Biden aides think the president would be better off occasionally displaying his temper in public as a way to assuage voter concerns that the 80-year-old president is disengaged and too old for the office.
    Zoom in: Senior and lower-level aides alike can be in Biden’s line of fire. “No one is safe,” said one administration official.

    Biden aides still talk about how angry he got at Jeff Zients, then the administration’s “COVID czar,” in late 2021 when there was a shortage of testing kits as the Omicron variant spread. (The rage was temporary. Zients is now Biden’s chief of staff.)
    A spokesperson for Zients told Axios: “I’m not going to speak to what internal convos may or may not have happened between Jeff and the president.”
    The White House declined to comment.
    “There’s no question that the Biden temper is for real. It may not be as volcanic as Bill Clinton’s, but it’s definitely there,” said Chris Whipple, author of “The Fight of His Life: Inside Joe Biden’s White House.”

    Whipple’s book quotes former White House press secretary Jen Psaki as saying: “I said to [Biden] multiple times, ‘I’ll know we have a really good, trusting relationship when you yell at me the first time.'”
    Whipple notes: “Psaki wouldn’t have to wait long.”
    Zoom out: Biden’s temper comes in the form of angry interrogations rather than erratic tantrums.

    He’ll grill aides on topics until it’s clear they don’t know the answer to a question — a routine that some see as meticulous and others call “stump the chump” or “stump the dummy.”
    Being yelled at by the president has become an internal initiation ceremony in this White House, aides say — if Biden doesn’t yell at you, it could be a sign he doesn’t respect you.
    Ted Kaufman, Biden’s longtime chief of staff when the future president represented Delaware in the Senate, told Axios that Biden’s process is policy-driven, and has made him a strong executive.

    “If there is something that’s not in the brief, he’s going to find it,” he said. “It’s not to embarrass people, it’s because he wants to get to the right decision. Most people who have worked for him like the fact that he challenges them and gets them to a better decision.”
    Some Biden aides argue that the president’s rages reflect his high expectations for his staff.

    “Speaking Biden” is a particular skill, they said. It can take years to learn to navigate his moodiness, and anticipate what information he’s going to ask for in a briefing.
    Continues at link to see how he forces Ivy League wonks to ditch the fancy language. (Inserted as quid-pro-quo for inside source).

  6. ked says:

    in the Russian Dept of Lost Leaders, add LtGen Toskov. Gen. Surovkin is MI… A? or? & someone shot sub Capt. Rzhitsky in the back while on a run in the park.
    “in Russia, failed military leaders are not removed from command, but from life.”

    • TTG says:


      Rzhitsky posted his workout route on the Strava app. My son uses this for his bike rides on the Capital Trail in Richmond. Ukrainian intel chief Budanov actually “liked” Rzhitsky’s route. Rzhitsky the runner is now pushing up sunflowers. That’s a ballsy move by Budanov.

      • ked says:

        I guess there’s a certain feeling of invincibility that goes along with the immorality of being a war criminal.

        {bike racing many years ago I dove into all the latest training regimens & technologies. heart rate, VO2, body fat %, nutrition, intervals, scheduling peak performance for events… the whole bit – well before consumer GPS, sims & power meters. upon finding myself being taken-over by the demands of tech (+ the demands of family & career!) + a few good results in competition, I stopped racing. kept riding for pleasure & have now found it therapeutic in semi-retirement. can’t see myself wrapped up in all the gizmos & so much time spent on rollers or static trainers (an hr on a trainer was torture… maybe it was the TV). youngsters seem to revel in the health science & tech of riding & racing. I find too much of that can get in the way of a few nice hours in the saddle… especially on solo rides.}

    • leith says:

      Ked –

      Plus Russia’s 58th Army Commander, General Ivan Popov, has just been relieved of command. 58th is on the Southern Front in occupied portions of Zaporizhzhia Oblast and currently facing Ukraine’s counteroffensive there. Apparently Popov reported the true situation (bad) to the upper brass instead of telling them the situation is good. Back in the 2nd Chechen War Gerasimov commanded the 58th Army, so perhaps he didn’t want to hear any bad news about his former unit. Popov was probably skating on thin ice anyway as he commanded Russian forces in Balakliia near Izium when they conducted a chaotic retreat last September during the Ukrainian advance.

      Dmitri @wartranslated has a report of a four-minute audio message, where Popov talks about betrayal from the most senior military leadership. Same complaints that Prigozhin expressed.


      • ked says:

        Prigozhin took a different path to getting out of the line-of-fire. we’ll see which turns out better (probably neither). Russian military / state security behavior is as enigmatic as ever, even as the players are almost predictable.

  7. English Outsider says:

    Wagner had some lethal assault troops, particularly for urban fighting. Martyanov’s very critical indeed of the way they used the convict recruits. Larry Johnson reckons there might have been our Intel involved in some way. If so, doubt it’ll ever come out.

    On that I remember, TTG, a long exchange with you on the Steele affair. A privilege, that, incidentally. Where else but in SST would I, who knew nothing of the various branches of Intel, have been able to get the basics from one who did? Nothing classified of course, I hasten to add, but just seeing how an expert in the field thought and assessed things was a high level education in itself

    But the ultimate conclusion I came to was that it was a hall of mirrors the ordinary member of the public would get lost in right away. Expect it’s the same over in Moscow and in any case whether our Intel was involved, or theirs, will be kept under wraps for good.

    That irrespective of whatever Prigozhin might blurt out. He blurts out so much, and most of it changing the day after, that he’s got about as much credibility as the NYT. So like the NYT it’s the reason he has for saying something, rather than the veracity of what he says, that is of interest.

    And he says so much, and that for so many reasons, that there’s not much of interest even in that.

    For many Russians Wagner were and remain the glamour boys. Patriots, expert in their work, above all cocking a snook at the authorities and bureaucrats. In a country still loaded up with oligarchs, cronies in our terms, and where the oligarchs are thoroughly disliked, it’s ironic that Prigozhin, coming up in the oligarch stakes himself apparently, should be the figurehead for that.

    But so it is and the Russian Generals, I suppose, want to keep the fighters but dispense with their figurehead. Expect they’ll manage it. What was revealing about the whole affair in England was how the press and politicians seized upon what was, in terms of the Russian military effort overall, no big deal. One could sense their longing for something – anything really – to come along that might pull their chestnuts out of the fire. Political breakdown in Russia is their last best hope of victory and they grasped at it as drowning men at straws.

    Because you know my view, TTG, amateur view thought it is. Military victory for the West in Ukraine was never on the cards, from the recognition of the republics on. I believe what we’re now seeing, in Europe at least, is the politicians wondering how to break that news to their electorates. They will, I believe, have a job on their hands.

    • TTG says:


      As far as the idea of our intel involvement never coming out, the more likely reason is that our intel was not involved. They might have seen Prigozhin preparing for it, kept quiet about the indicators, sat back and enjoyed the show. Some Russian pundits push the idea of US intel involvement because they don’t want to admit everything is not going well with the SMO.

      Take a look at the Carnegie Endowment article on Wagner that F&L provided earlier today. It’s in Russian but I’m sure you can find a way to machine translate it. Wagner is a Russian business/military entity, not just a PMO. This is especially true across Africa and, new to me, very true in Syria as well. The Kremlin needs it even though there is friction. That’s especially true now that the Russian military has proven so wanting. In addition to adding thousands of trained and proven fighters to the Kremlin’s war effort, The business end of Wagner may be able to do a better job of getting foreign arms and ammo than the Russian MOD.

      Your observation that the Russian generals may have looked to Prigozhin’s attempted shake up as a way to pull their cookies out of the fire is astute in my opinion. They do not see an ultimate victory with the surety that you seem to have. They know things are not going well and they can sense defeat on the horizon. As you said, “Political breakdown in Russia is their last best hope of victory and they grasped at it as drowning men at straws.”

      European leaders, on the other hand, are creating multi-year plans to support Ukraine. They are in this for the long haul. They are still wedded to the idea of a Ukraine eventually devoid of Russian troops, but not to a breakup of the Russian Federation or a downfall of Putin. They are equally wedded to the idea of avoiding direct confrontation of NATO troops with Russian troops. Hence they will not acquiesce to Zelenskiy’s strong desire for an immediate invitation to join NATO.

      • English Outsider says:

        The Euros are a muddle of wimps, TTG. They went into this on Uncle Sam’s-coat tails and you may be quite sure they’ll now be blaming the Americans for the debacle.

        Scholz the most duplicitous of the lot. Ugh. HMG strutting around like a somewhat dilapidated fighting cock. Breathing fire and slaughter knowing they haven’t got the military clout to do more so needn’t fear being put to the test. Ugh.

        The Euros all thought they had it made with the sanctions anyway and those were a busted flush. A muddle of crestfallen wimps now, therefore, and if were only the politicians getting the fall-out we’d need shed no tears.

        I saw a video of Wagner in Syria a few years back. They were clearing out a nest of Jihadis in the south-eastern desert. There was some dramatic incident not long ago up near the oil fields, but the accounts of that are so wildly at variance with each other that it’s difficult to know what to make of it. Except that the American troops involved were clearly prepared to fight to the last man and the last round and if the deconfliction arrangements hadn’t worked they’d have done just that.

        I’m not anti the West, you know. Very much pro. But anti what HMG’s been getting up to on our behalf and anti what the hawks in Washington are getting up to on yours. And as you may have guessed, very much anti Scholz and Habeck and that crowd. “Nie Wieder” my foot.

        • TTG says:


          There’s no doubt that the US is leading NATO in both the sanctions and support provided to Ukraine, especially the East Europeans. That started in earnest long before Russia initiated the invasion. That Germany went along with shutting Nord Stream surprised me. The East Europeans are in this 100%, but the West Europeans continue to be held together by US leadership. I doubt the West European will ever become robust again, but they don’t have to as long as there is a strong coalition. The East Europeans will provide the armies. The West Europeans have to provide more equipment and munitions as does the US. Russia’s performance in this invasion has proven that this is enough.

          For an in depth read on the Wagner encounter with US forces, here’s the story.


  8. English Outsider says:

    Done it again,TTG. And I always check so carefully now. Didn’t succeed. Sorry about that fragment at the bottom. No idea how it got there! Also wrote thought for though.

    In the old days the children used to read my comments. They were supremely uninterested in the content but always loved the typing errors and the bits that got away at the bottom. They’re off doing their various things now. Les neiges d’antan.

  9. F & L says:

    Reference I:

    Within which re firefight in Talovaya (a town with a mil base housing sparkling firecrackers) where several “turntables” were shot down by the Wangers,
    you find here on fig 1 on pg 16:

    That not only is Voronezh-45 where they say it is in Talovaya (Voronezh oblast), but – drum roll with heavy metal crunch chords – guess what, sports fans? There’s a little sparkling firecrackers storage facility and repair shop called Belgorod-22 right on the border. Where fighting has been going on for weeks!

    I wonder what Colonel Lang Would be roasting on the grill this evening if he read about this today? What a shame he’s not around anymore. Whatever it was it would be served rarely. (Sorry).

    • TTG says:


      I wonder if Prigozhin really was serious about actually seizing Russian nucs or just using his proximity to the storage site as additional leverage. I also wonder how well protected that storage site was. Our sites are deadly force authorized areas. But i do remember when the USSR broke up, a certain factory was still churning out warheads, but the Soviet military stopped accepting them. The warheads were stored in the open under tarps with only a single flimsy fence protecting them. There was no guard force.

  10. F & L says:

    If anyone still retains a copy of that classic which is now out of print:

    The Day Idi Amin Aquired His First Two Dozen Little Nukes by Eyesack Azimuth,
    please respond directly below. Thank you. I’m trying to remember the first name of the mysterious agent Progknowschin introduced in chapter 1 during the poker game at the Swiss embassy.

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