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Debunking The Top Two Conspiracy Theories About Prigozhin’s Failed Coup Attempt
Some in the Alt-Media Community are convinced that Prigozhin is either a Western puppet who was tasked with carrying out a coup against President Putin or that he’s the latter’s puppet who secretly colluded with him to carry out a psy-op.
Prigozhin’s failed coup attempt prompted a flurry of conspiracy theories, the two most popular of which are that he’s either a Western puppet who was ordered to overthrow President Putin or he’s the latter’s puppet who colluded with him to carry out a psy-op. Both are equally ridiculously but have regrettably proliferated across the Alt-Media Community (AMC), hence the need to debunk them in order to prevent people from being misled and to correct the perceptions of those who already fell for these false claims.
Regarding the first of these conspiracy theories, it was extended credence after Western media reported that American intelligence was aware of Prigozhin’s military buildup, which they assessed as preparations for a possible power grab. The US chose not to inform Russia about this because it cynically didn’t want to help it avoid the destabilization that they expected to follow if he tried to carry out his coup.
These reports don’t prove that Prigozhin was their puppet, however, just that they had an interest in not stopping him from carrying out his plans. If Russia’s domestic security services truly thought that he was in bed with their country’s existential enemies, then President Putin would never have offered him amnesty and exile in Belarus. He’d have at the very least been arrested or assassinated, not sent to the same allied country whose leader recently warned about an impending Western destabilization plot.
As for the second conspiracy theory, it convolutedly claims that President Putin secretly orchestrated a doomed-to-fail coup against himself for some purely speculative reason, which many adherents allege was for the Russian leader to gain more power. This explanation completely ignores reports from reliable sources like Russian war correspondent Alexander Kots, who recently met with President Putin, claiming that over half a dozen aircraft were downed by Wagner fighters before the coup was stopped.
It's a tell-tale sign of a so-called “sixth columnist”, or someone who pretends to support a cause while secretly working against it, to imply that President Putin colluded with Prigozhin to kill Russian pilots for some self-interested reason. Furthermore, he already has the power to do whatever he wants at home and in the context of the special operation, the latter of which he leads as the country’s Supreme-Commander-In-Chief.
Those influencers among the AMC who push these conspiracy theories should publicly clarify their intentions and ideally retract their ridiculous claims due to what they suggest about President Putin. The first hints that he sent thousands of Western agents to destabilize allied Belarus while the second makes it seem like he committed treason by supposedly plotting the killing of Russian pilots with Prigozhin. Both are absurd and have no basis in fact, thus discrediting those influencers who still cling to them.
What really happened is that the preexisting rivalry between the Defense Ministry and Wagner influenced the latter’s chief to plot his ultimately failed coup, the optics of which were exploited by foreign intelligence agencies through information warfare in an attempt to maximally destabilize Russia. They might even have passed along disinformation via their proxies to convince Prigozhin that he had to preempt his rival’s supposedly inevitable crackdown against him by pushing up the date of his coup.
In any case, he certainly wasn’t operating as their official agent otherwise he’d never have been granted amnesty and exile in Belarus by President Putin, who has no interest in destabilizing that allied country. The Russian leader also wasn’t ‘in on it’ like some in the AMC allege since he wouldn’t have repeated the FSB’s earlier claim that this was a “stab in the back” during his national address about this incident, which showed his over 145 million compatriots how serious the situation truly was at the time.
The folks who fell for these conspiracy theories have nothing to be ashamed about since they trusted those AMC influencers who push them, likely because they’d earned a reputation for being Russian-friendly and possibly even pretty accurate with some of their previous analyses. Regardless of whether they just ‘innocently’ got it wrong or are deliberately trying to mislead their audience, their two most popular but equally ridiculous explanations of recent events have one thing in common.
They don’t account for the fact that everything really is as simple as it seems: Prigozhin launched a coup against President Putin as the culmination of his long-running rivalry with the Russian leader’s allies in the Defense Ministry and was then sent into exile to Belarus after it failed. The reason why some in the AMC are reluctant to accept this truth is because it goes against their preconceived notions about the West and/or Russia depending on which of these two theories they believe.
The first one alleging that Prigozhin is a Western puppet makes sense in their mind since they struggle to accept that it’s indeed possible for coups to occur without the West’s direct involvement. As for the second theory claiming that this was all a massive psy-op secretly orchestrated by President Putin himself, this narrative reaffirms their false perception that “everything is going according to plan” with the special operation and that all claims to the contrary are supposedly just “fake news from the West”.
Both preconceived notions are shattered by what just happened, but the biggest grifters in the AMC realized that they can take advantage of their audience’s need to cope with this by feeding them false narratives in order to gain clout, advance their ideology, and/or solicit donations. That’s not to say that all those who push either of these popular conspiracy theories have that agenda, but just that average members in the AMC should be aware of this in order to avoid those who they suspect are doing this.