Yevgeny V. Prigozhin’s Private Funeral Ends Speculation
The press service of Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, the Russian mercenary chief who died in a plane crash last week, announced on Tuesday that he has been buried in a private ceremony in St. Petersburg. This announcement came as a surprise as earlier in the day, the Kremlin stated that there was no information regarding Mr. Prigozhin’s funeral and President Vladimir V. Putin would not be attending.
Private Format Funeral Held
According to Mr. Prigozhin’s press service, the funeral “took place in a private format.” However, those who wish to say goodbye can visit the Porokhovskoye cemetery in St. Petersburg. The cemetery was heavily guarded by Russian police, riot police, and national guardsmen, who did not allow people to enter. This suggests that the state has taken measures to minimize public mourning for Mr. Prigozhin.
Uncertainty Surrounding the Funeral
Details about Mr. Prigozhin’s funeral, including the date and whether the public would be allowed to attend, remained unclear for days. Rumors circulated about ceremonies at other cemeteries, but the Porokhovskoye cemetery was not mentioned until now. Police had cordoned off some cemeteries and set up metal detectors at the Serafimovsky Cemetery, where Mr. Putin’s parents are buried.
Sensitivities and Speculation
The secrecy surrounding Mr. Prigozhin reflects the sensitivities surrounding his persona. He was a longtime ally of Mr. Putin and had launched a failed mutiny against Moscow’s military leadership in June. He, along with nine others, including top leaders of his Wagner private military company, was killed in the plane crash last week. The cause of the crash remains unknown, but U.S. and Western officials believe it was caused by an onboard explosion. Some speculate that Mr. Putin may have played a role in orchestrating Mr. Prigozhin’s death as retribution for the mutiny. The deaths were officially confirmed on Sunday through genetic testing of crash victims.