Yevgeny Prigozhin died in a plane crash. Did Russians know who he was?

Screenshot of the Russia Post article page. Used with permission.

On the August 24, 2023, head of the private military company (PMC) Wagner Yevgeny Prigozhin is reported dead, killed in a suspicious plane crash exactly two months after his attempted mutiny, the so-called “March on Moscow.” Vladimir Zvonovsky writes for Russia Post about what Russian people thought about Progizhin after his “mutiny.” Global Voices has republished an edited extract of the article with permission from RussiaPost

In a poll conducted in Russia three weeks after the mutiny of Yevgeny Prigozhin and his Wagner group, only a third of respondents (33 percent) said they knew about “the military crisis that occurred in Russia on June 24.” Another 40 percent reported that they had “heard something” about these events, while more than a quarter (27 percent) had heard nothing about them. As one can see, the events, which, according to some participants, could have marked the beginning of a civil war, about which the Russian president has spoken publicly, are not so well known inside the country.

More men than women knew about the rebellion (36 percent versus 30 percent among women), while the youth knew little about it — 18 percent, or about half the average. Meanwhile, the older age groups (43 percent) were well aware of it. This reflects the number of Russians who are interested in the situation at the front. In other words, Russians place the events with the Wagner group in the general context of the conflict with Ukraine.

State television — and there is no other in Russia now — according to surveys, serves as the main source of news about important events in the country for most Russians. However, only 33 percent of the TV audience knew about the rebellion two weeks after the incident. Among those who receive information from YouTube channels, Rutube and Telegram, awareness was significantly higher at 39–46 percent.

Sources of information and attitudes toward Prigozhin

The rebellion is likely not something that the Russian leadership would like to tell its citizens about on television. However, if the Russian authorities restricted information about the rebellion, fearing that the effect from it would be unfavorable, Russians themselves easily got around the problem of accessing information that is of interest to them.

Those who intentionally seek out information on what is happening do not turn to television but to uncensored sources, using VPNs to bypass internet censorship. The share of VPN users who knew about the events of June 24 was 40 percent.

About a quarter of Russians (22 percent) had a positive view of PMC Wagner owner Yevgeny Prigozhin, while almost every second Russian did not (47 percent). (The question was asked to all respondents, not just those who know about the rebellion.) Another third (35 percent) had no hard position relative to “Putin’s cook,” [as Prigozhin was called]. Thus, for every supporter of Prigozhin in Russia, there are more than two people who oppose him.

As expected, support for Prigozhin is higher among men (27 percent) than women (18 percent); women are more likely than men to view Prigozhin negatively (47 percent and 38 percent, respectively).

The presented data was collected during a nationwide survey conducted by Chronicles on July 4-9, 2023, representing all the main social, political and territorial groups of Russia’s population over 17 years old.


Start the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Stay up to date about Global Voices and our mission. See our Privacy Policy for details. Newsletter powered by Mailchimp (Privacy Policy and Terms).

* = required field
Email Frequency

No thanks, show me the site