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A 36 hour rebellion in Russia

By: Rachael Tan

An armed rebellion in Russia over the weekend stunned the world and became the single biggest challenge to President Vladimir V. Putin’s rule since he came to power 23 years ago.

When President Putin began his war with Ukraine in 2022, his army mainly consisted of Russian soldiers.

But then, another group of soldiers joined this battle. These people were professional fighters hired by a company called the Wagner Group. This company has over thousands of soldiers working for them.

Wagner is led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, who used to work closely with Russian President Putin, doing many of his favors.

Experts confirm that Putin used to order Wagner soldiers to do tasks that he didn’t want Russian soldiers to waste time doing, such as small battles and patrolling land. Members of the Wagner Group have also fought for Russia in many other countries besides Ukraine.

However, the group that originally paid to work with Russia had turned against them instead.

Putin recently passed a new law requiring Wagner members to be a part of Russia’s main army. However, Mr. Prigozhin didn’t like this rule because it meant that he would lose control of his group and his leadership.

Last Friday, Mr. Prigozhin falsely accused the Russian Military of attacking the innocent Wanger soldiers. In return, he called a “March for Justice”, turning over 25,000 of Wagner’s soldiers away from the fighting in Ukraine, and sending them back to Russia.

The next day, Mr. Prigozhin demanded that Russia get rid of it’s top 2 military leaders, or else Wagner’s forces would march on Moscow, Russia’s capital city.

Putin soon responded, accusing Mr. Prigozhin and the Wagner group of treason and rebellion. He also promised that everyone involved would receive strong punishments.

Wagner forces began their long trip to Moscow, with much fighting along the way. The Russian military damaged many important roads, bridges, and some small buildings, while trying to stop Wagner troops from entering Moscow.

That night, Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, announced that he had concluded a deal with the two sides.

Wagner’s soldiers would turn around and return to Ukraine. In return, no one would be punished. The Wagner soldiers who hadn’t contributed to the riot would be able to join Russia’s military, which Mr. Prigozhin agreed to go live in Belarus.

Although Prigozhin seems to have lost some power in this deal, this event has also left Putin looking very weak. He has lead Russia for over two decades, and was seen as someone who couldn’t be challenged.

This rebellion was short, but it showed Putin struggling for control, forgiveness, and most importantly, help.

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