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Wildly off-topic…what just happened?

If you’re wondering what the heck happened in Russia, join the crowd.

Here’s what I’ve been able to “learn”…

first – the actors

The Wagner Group – a private company that is a combination of a mercenary, terrorist organization, and exploiter of poor countries that supplies Russia with tens of thousands of fighters. Wagner is the most effective fighting force in Ukraine. Wagner is really, really awful.

Yevgeny Prighozin is Wagner’s leader – he’s the former hot-dog stand operator now old bald guy commanding a huge criminal enterprise while always wearing full tactical gear even though he’s never been anywhere near actual fighting.

nice look, eh?


  • Prighozin called for the firing of Russia’s top two military leaders,
  • Wagner Group troops took over critically important supply bases near Ukraine,
  • advanced on Moscow with convoys of his troops,  artillery and armored fighting vehicles;
  • was met with cheers, flowers, food and drink by Russian citizens;
  • shot down a super-sophisticated Russian surveillance plane and several Russian helicopters;
  • then Prighozin abruptly turned those convoys around and ostensibly went into exile in Belarus (a neighboring country that is essentially a Russian protectorate) after
  • Belarus’ president – a Putin lackey – negotiated some kind of deal between Putin and Prighozin.

Yeah, the entire US and NATO intelligence world is as confused as we are.

As I am far from “expert” in eastern European politics and “strategery”, I’ll just share what credible experts are saying:

  1. Putin is much weakened…he relied on a lackey/puppet – Belarus’ president – to end the crisis.
  2. Russia is also weaker than many including me thought – and likely getting weaker…
  3. Hard to see how merging Wagner’s troops into Russia’s Army will make the Army stronger – there’s too much mutual suspicion and distrust…
  4. Our efforts to recruit Russian intel sources seem to be ramping up…

Lastly, there’s this.

“Mr Putin was counting on a long war in which the West would grow tired of arming and funding Ukraine. There is now strong evidence that the war’s prolongation is also accelerating the fragmentation and decay of his regime.


Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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