Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin threatened that the son-in-law of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu should be assaulted and hit with a “sledgehammer” as the rift between Moscow’s military elite widens.
Prigozhin, the head and financier of the Russian mercenary group, threatened to have men bring Alexey Stolyarov, 33, to him so he could be trained to fight in Ukraine. The Wagner Group has played an active role in the war and has claimed responsibility for taking swathes of Ukrainian territory.
Stolyarov, a blogger and influencer, has avoided the military draft in Russia and is the partner of Shoigu’s 32-year-old daughter, Ksenia Shoigu.
Prigozhin, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most high-profile associates, made the comments on the VK social media site of his company, Concord in response to questions by the media.
Prigozhin was asked by NewsInfo to comment on Stolarov allegedly liking “Russophobic and anti-war posts” by Youtuber Yury Dud and to give his take on how relatives of Russian officials should be dealt with during “a difficult time” for the country. Stolarov has denied liking Dud’s anti-war post on Instagram.
The intro to Dud’s show is a pun on “Dud” and Vdut,” which means to “blow,” a colloquialism for smoking weed, but also for having sex.
Responding to the question, Prigozhin said: “I will train him for six weeks. I will help him improve by sending him to combat operations. I don’t really get the first part of the question about ‘to screw’ [Vdut] or ‘not to screw,’ but [before sending him to the front] we could screw [him].”
“If he likes Dud, then it’s better for everyone to like him too, because Stolyarov knows what he is doing, and we should all look up to him,” he added sarcastically. “And if we can’t ‘like’ Dud physically—perhaps because we don’t have fingers for this, our arms or legs got torn off; or [if] we are all stupid to visit Dud’s [Instagram] feed. In this case, one has to pick up a sledgehammer and deal with it in a grown-up way, all humor aside.”
There have been at least two videos circulating of alleged Wagner mercenaries being bludgeoned to death with sledgehammers after being accused of changing sides in the Ukraine war. One of the men was identified as Yevgeny Nuzhin, a 55-year-old convicted Russian murderer who was taken as a prisoner of war in Ukraine. In the video, before he is executed, Nuzhin said he was kidnapped in Kyiv, though Newsweek could not verify the case.
Stolyarov and his fiancée, Ksenia have been attacked by Prigozhin and others after pictures emerged of them on holiday in Dubai and partying during the Ukraine war. Russian President Vladimir Putin in September announced a partial mobilization to recruit thousands of troops to fight in the war in Ukraine, prompting thousands of Russians to flee the country.
Prigozhin has been a frequent critic of Shoigu and his ministry as the two men jostle for power and influence in Russia.
Last week, Prigozhin accused Shoigu and General Valery Gerasimov, Russia’s top military commander, of “high treason” for allegedly refusing to provide him with munitions in an attempt to wipe out his fighting force.
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