Yevgeny Prigozhin’s popularity in Russia is increasing

fFor Moscow, reports from the front on Wednesday gave cause for joy for the first time in months. During the night, entrepreneur Yevgeny Prigozhin boasted that he and his “Wagner” mercenaries had taken Soledar, a now largely destroyed town in the Donetsk region. Russia’s war enthusiasts built this “liberation” but most of all that many Ukrainian defenders had fallen.

The war blogger Alexandr Koz from the tabloid “Komsomolskaya Pravda” summed up that with regard to the area, “the extent of the success” of Soledar cannot be compared with Kharkiv and Kherson; there the occupiers had been thrown back in September and November respectively. But Kyiv kept sending new brigades to Soledar, “who left the combat area on the backs of pickups in black sacks,” that is, as dead. Therefore, according to Koz, the “biggest defeat” of the Ukrainian armed forces since the battle for the port city of Mariupol last spring is “the main success” of Soledar.

Koz and other war bloggers left no doubt that this “success” was due to Prigozhin. They spread a photo montage that shows the “Wagner” leader in military gear through a peephole. “That awkward moment when the neighbor knocks and wants salt,” it says: a joke. In Soledar, where a good 10,000 people used to live, salt was mined – sol in Russian, hence the name. Once upon a time, the local company Artyomsol provided most of Ukraine’s salt needs. The destruction of the plant led to a shortage in the country last year.

Combined war and raw material interests

For other cities in the region, the invaders, who hate independent Ukraine, use the old Soviet names. So for Soledar’s heavily contested neighboring town of Bakhmut “Artjomowsk”. The fact that the attackers made an exception for Soledar may be due to the fact that the town bore the unwieldy name “Karlo-Libknechtowsk” until 1991, in honor of the German socialist Karl Liebknecht.

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