Vladimir Putin, Vladimir Putin — Clean Up On Highway M4!

The highway between Rostov-on-Don and Moscow is the M4. It is an 18 – 20 hour drive at highway speed, slower if you are ambling northward with heavy weapons including tanks to conduct a coup-de-etat.

Rostov-on-Don is the headquarters town for the Russian effort to annihilate Ukraine, a military landmark thereby making it an important military town.

The Coup on the M4

The leader of the Wagner Group (parent of the Wagner Private Military Company, a band of mercenary thugs who operated in Ukraine and Africa), a thoroughly ugly and nasty piece of protoplasm named Yevgeny Prigozhin, attempted to conduct a coup and march on Moscow to remove the Russian Secretary of Defense and the Russian Chief of Staff, who is also now the Russian supreme military commander in Ukraine.

The coup started with Yevgeny and the Wagner toughs overrunning the military headquarters of the Russian army — conducting the campaign in Ukraine — in Rostov-on-Don.

Yevgeny then launched a march up the M4 to attack Moscow.

Enroute, in a city named Veronozh about halfway between Rostov-on-Don and Moscow, the Russian military finally kicked into gear and there was a combat confrontation that included the Wagner thugs shooting down a number of Russian aircraft including a command and control plane loaded with senior officers.

Depending upon who is doing the counting, somewhere between one and two dozen Russians were KIA at the hands of Wagner, ordered by Prigozhin.

Putin speaks

Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation and all around tough guy/control freak, took issue with this coup and without naming names said the mutineers would be dealt with harshly. He then fled to his underground bunker.

Yevgeny Prigozhin blinks

Yevgeny, supposedly not wanting to shed any Russian blood, then pulled the plug on the rebellion and turned his Wagner PMC killers back toward the south when they were about 125 miles from Moscow.

Meanwhile the Russian military — mostly the national guard — prepared to receive the Wagner onslaught and began to cut roads and prepare defenses — all for naught when Prigozhin pulled the plug.

The Deal

What motivated Yevgeny Prigozhin to retreat was the offer of a deal brokered between Yevgeny and Vladimir by the thug head of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko (put in power by Putin’s assistance in corrupting a faux election).

Belarus and Lukashenko have a Daddy – Daughter relationship with Vladimir (the Daddy) as evidenced by Russia deploying tactical nukes on Belarus soil. Belarus was also the line-of-departure for the failed attack on Kyiv that started the war.

The deal has multiple interesting elements:

 1. After saying the treasonous, mutinous, wicked Wagner soldiers would be dealt with fiercely, Vlad has decided they can all keep their heads on their shoulders if they just agree to move to Belarus which Yevgeny Prigozhin has now done.

 2. Anybody who participated in the coup has to go to Belarus, but if you didn’t throw in with the mutineers, then you get to join the Russian army under contract at a lower wage than they used to make with Wagner.

 3. The FSB — the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, the erstwhile successor to the KGB — had two investigations underway on Yevgeny Prigozhin, but Putin has now absolved Yevgeny as long as he stays in Belarus.

Prigozhin is safe and has Putin’s “word” on it. Haha. Sorry.

 4. It is reported that Wagner is turning in its heavy armaments — tanks and artillery — to the Russian army, but that Belarus is building barracks for Wagner in Belarus by converting a former military installation for them.

This, of course, leaves the world with this question: What are Alexander Lukashenko and Yevgeny Prigozhin (and Putin) really up to with the Wagner PMC in Belarus?

Putin speaks again

Vladimir, after the deal was disclosed, spoke to the Motherland/Fatherland of Russia and said that civil war had been avoided. Seemed like an odd admission by the guy who is in  charge of everything.

He also seemed to acknowledge and bless The Deal though with Putin that means what? Not a bloody thing.

One interesting fact that Putin threw out was that Russia had been financially supporting Wagner with more than $1B annually. He has always said there was no Russian support for Wagner.

Putin also said Wagner received a like amount for feeding the regular Russian army — Yevgeny Prigozhin’s original contact with Putin  was as a catering chef he trusted not to poison him.

If true, then Wagner is truly screwed as they will have no income.

Losers and winners, Big Red Car?

Ahhh, dear reader, an interesting question, no?

 1. Putin is a big loser given he had to acknowledge that a substantial public figure (Yevgeny Prigozhin) and a powerful military force (Wagner PMC) were not happy with his regime and conducted a coup — though short lived.

 2. The people of Rostov-on-Don seemed to welcome the mutineers and when Yevgeny Prigozhin left for exile in Belarus they all wanted selfies.

Interesting note: Yevgeny Prigozhin is far more social media astute than Putin. Keep an eye on this phenomenon.

 3. The Russian military looks like a loser in that it rolled over in Rostov-on-Don and, apparently, surrendered its entire theater headquarters without a fight.

They did not militarily defeat Wagner, but let them escape after driving to within a short distance of Moscow. Seems weak.

 4. Yevgeny Prigozhin is a dead man walking unless there is some scheme afoot to attack Ukraine from the north. The presence of a combat formation previously deployed against Ukraine has to leave both Ukraine and Poland a little antsy.

 5. Gorbachev was the victim of an abortive coup back in his day and now the Russian people see Putin as a man who can be a target of a coup. It is not a good look for the all powerful Putin.

 6. Lukashenko’s stock is up a little as he provided the ability for Putin to save face and took the Prigozhin and Wagner tar baby off his hands.

Bottom line it, Big Red Car

First, let me state my global suspicion and skepticism about everything that has transpired thus far. It is farcical.

 1. While Yevgeny Prigozhin says he was never after Putin, he was after the Secretary of Defense and the top Russian general. That is not a good thing when Putin is preaching unity.

Worse, battlefield results support that criticism.

 2. The Russians have lost a substantial combat experienced formation of as many as 50,000 men — the equivalent of three American divisions or one corps. I think they were probably at less than half that strength, but it is still a loss.

 3. The bare chested little Wizard of the Kremlin is revealed to be vulnerable and now Russia speculates: Who is next to rule Russia after Putin? It will not likely be a chef named “Yevgeny Prigozhin.” Who knows?

 4. Russia is ruled by a thug with the most guns. Right now that is Putin, but if the military turn against him — Wagner was a part of the military — then the thug changes.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. I don’t see Putin lasting until Christmas.