Wagner After Prigozhin & the Next Putsch Attempt

Though Prigozhin had been a Hero of Russia, the country’s highest military honor, there was no honor guard, no military salute. State television largely skipped over his burial.
Though Prigozhin had been a Hero of Russia, the country’s highest military honor, there was no honor guard, no military salute. State television largely skipped over his burial. Photo: Pelagiya Tihonova/Getty Images
Julia Ioffe
August 29, 2023

On the day of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s funeral, journalists spotted his hearse at the Manege of the First Cadet Corps, a classical, Easter-yellow building on one of St. Petersburg’s famous embankments. The gate was blocked by a refrigerator of a man in a black leather jacket and black sunglasses. The building was closed, according to the security detail, “for a private event.” The details of when and where Prigozhin would be buried had been hard to find. The Kremlin was unsurprisingly tight-lipped except to say that Vladimir Putin would not be attending. 

By Monday, journalists in St. Petersburg discovered that metal detectors had been installed at the Serafimovskoe Cemetery, where Putin’s parents were buried, and everyone thought that this would be the site of Prigozhin’s interment. Until Tuesday, when three hearses that looked just like the one at the Manege were spotted at a different St. Petersburg cemetery, the Beloostrovsky. They were there with a black BMW bearing the same license plate as a similar car the mercenary boss had used back in the day. But then another BMW, with the same license plate, was spotted at River Palace, the luxury hotel associated with Prigozhin.