Questions swirled Tuesday round funeral preparations for Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, the Russian mercenary chief who died in a aircraft crash final week, because the Kremlin stated it had no details about the occasion besides that President Vladimir V. Putin wouldn’t attend.
The secrecy mirrored the sensitivities surrounding Mr. Prigozhin, a longtime ally of Mr. Putin who had obtained certainly one of Russia’s high army honors earlier than launching a failed mutiny against Moscow’s military leadership in June. He was killed together with 9 others, together with high leaders of his Wagner non-public army firm, within the crash of a personal jet northwest of Moscow final Wednesday.
Wagner’s logistics chief, Valery Chekalov, who was additionally on the aircraft, was buried Tuesday morning in Northern Cemetery within the Russian metropolis of St. Petersburg in a ceremony that was not publicized prematurely. A number of hundred folks got here to pay their respects.
However particulars about Mr. Prigozhin’s funeral, together with the date and whether or not members of the general public will probably be allowed to attend, haven’t been clear. Mr. Prigozhin had obtained the Hero of Russia designation, one of many Russian army’s high honors, which usually accords particular burials, together with an honor guard and a army band.
On Tuesday, the Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, stated that Mr. Putin wouldn’t attend Mr. Prigozhin’s funeral, the state-run RIA Novosti information company reported. He stated the Kremlin had no extra details about the occasion.
The confusion over the funeral is according to the murky particulars concerning the crash. Its trigger stays unclear, however U.S. and Western officers believe it was prompted by an explosion on board. Many Western officers have stated they assume it’s probably that Mr. Putin might have performed a task in having Mr. Prigozhin killed as retribution for the mercenary chief’s short-lived mutiny in June.
The deaths of Mr. Prigozhin, 5 others passengers linked to Wagner and three crew members weren’t formally confirmed until Sunday, when Russian investigators stated that genetic testing confirmed that the victims of the crash matched the names on the jet’s manifest. The affirmation got here after days of hypothesis about whether or not Mr. Prigozhin was actually on the aircraft.
In St. Petersburg, Mr. Prigozhin’s hometown and the bottom of his enterprise empire, hypothesis grew about how and the place he could be laid to relaxation. Beginning late Monday, police cordoned off a number of of town’s largest cemeteries and arrange metallic detectors on the Serafimovsky Cemetery, the place Mr. Putin’s dad and mom are buried.
However native information media shops additionally reported that Mr. Prigozhin and Wagner’s chief commander, Dmitri Utkin, who the Russian authorities also confirmed died in the plane crash, could possibly be buried at different places.
Some analysts speculated that the Russian authorities have been looking for to keep away from a public outpouring of assist for Mr. Prigozhin and his high lieutenants.
“Evidently the authorities, as anticipated, wish to keep away from a spontaneous rally in reminiscence of the highest management of Wagner and to take action, have imposed a fog across the burial place,” impartial journalist Farida Rustamova wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
Valeriya Safronova, Nanna Heitmann and Jesus Jiménez contributed reporting.