Wagner boss death sends shockwaves around the world but not in Putin’s Russia

News of the death of Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin is dominating the headlines around the world, but on Russian state media it has been pushed into second place by Vladimir Putin.

Prigozhin was among seven passengers and three crew killed when a private plane crashed en route from Moscow to St Petersburg on Wednesday (August 23), according to Russian officials.

The jet, which is believed to have belonged to Prigozhin, went down in the Tver region, more than 60 miles (100km) north of the Russian capital.

The reported death of the head of the Russian private military operation, who led an unsuccessful mutiny launched exactly two months ago, sent shockwaves around the world.

It was the top story on the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and BBC.

But on Russian state news agency TASS it was buried under a story about bizarre accusations from Putin that the West is to blame for the war in Ukraine.

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TASS broke the story on its website at 6.12pm under the headline, “Business jet crashes in Tver region, killing ten”.

That report did not mention Prigozhin’s being on board the Embraer jet, but confirmed all those on board had been killed.

Five minutes later, TASS reported that the Wagner boss was listed as a passenger on the plane.

The details appeared below a report about Putin telling leaders of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) that the West had unleashed the war in Ukraine.

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This compares to The Moscow Times, which describes itself as a provider of independent news, which put the story of the crash at the top of its website.

It quotes an anonymous Russian government official as saying that they believe “neither the fact of the crash nor its location” were a coincidence.

The Moscow Times quotes the official as saying: “Not far from the president’s residence in Valdai, there are four divisions of S-300 PMU1s [missile defense systems] guarding the sky.

“On June 24 — a march on Moscow. And on August 24 — two missiles. It all adds up.”

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The same publication quotes independent journalist Andrei Zakharov, citing an unnamed source, as saying Prigozhin was returning to Russia from a trip to Africa.

The source said: “It would be a miracle if he’s on another plane.”

But there were conflicting reports in the wake of the crash with St. Petersburg-based news outlet Fontanka reporting that another Embraer jet understoof to belong to Prigozhin landed at Moscow’s Ostafyevo Business Airport.

The Moscow Times reports that it is unclear whether Prigozhin was onboard.

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