[June 29, 2023] For those of us who study war, geopolitics, and statesmanship and like to understand why there is such a profound difference in modern-Western thought and all other nation-states, welcome to the world of humans. One of those enigmas is Russia; not Western but also not Oriental but Slav. And Slav has meaning in the great history of that culture. Peter Zeihan is someone who has been parsing out what it means to be Russian and yesterday used the Wagner Group as classic Russian.
He says that the Wagner Group is now officially a part of the Russian state. We already knew that the Wagner Group is a Russian state-funded paramilitary organization conducting military operations in foreign nations to give the Russian government plausible deniability for forbidden foreign activities. PMC Wagner, as it is officially known, was founded in 2014 by Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin.
“The legal fiction did allow a degree of separation that gave especially the Europeans pause and anyone who was looking for an excuse to continue normal relations with the Russians, the Germans are at the top of that list, grabbed onto that flimsy bit of legalisms and wouldn’t let go.”
The Wagner Group has been used by Russia in conflicts worldwide, especially in the Middle East and Africa, that can be defined as war crimes. Wagner has been sanctioned by the U.S., and many other Western countries, and its leaders are banned from international travel.
Since Russia has not claimed Wagner Group as a state entity, Wagner is not under state sanction, which is of critical importance to understand but that has changed.
“Well, that changes today now that Vladimir Putin has said that Wagner is and always was part of the Russian state; now, assets of the Russian state can be seized in order to pay for things that Wagner has done in various countries. Anything that Wagner does or has done, Moscow itself is culpable. Since Wagner (and now Russia) has been compensated, not with cash but mineral concessions with gold mines being a favorite, those are now legally all up in the air.”
This change means that Russia is liable to face a new round of punitive sanctions, and the assets of Russia/Wagner can now be seized. The plausible deniability pretext is now gone. Get the popcorn ready. The next target of the West is Russian assets. How does this impact on the Ukraine War? Good question.
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