Former Wagner military chief Evgeny Prigozhin buried in St Petersburg behind closed doors European Union not sure if he died
Russian businessman Evgeny Prigozhin has been laid to rest at the Porokhovskoye cemetery in St. Petersburg, his media team announced on Tuesday. The controverial tycoon was best known for his association with the Wagner Private Military Company.
The funeral ceremony was held behind closed doors, with only close relatives and friends of Prigozhin in attendance. The exact location of the Wagner chief’s tomb has yet to be confirmed, but his media team said everyone was welcome to visit it at the graveyard.
Images circulating online suggest that the late Wagner boss has been buried alongside his father, with a wooden cross erected on the grave. Russian flags and those of the private military company were flown at Prigozhin’s tomb, the photographs show.
The EU is monitoring the situation and has yet to make a decision whether to lift the sanctions it imposed against him, Russian media have reported, citing the European Commission.
The Daily Storm news outlet said it had received a statement from the press service of the EU’s executive branch claiming it had yet to see “reliable confirmation” of Prigozhin’s death.
“The decisions of the [European] Council are taken unanimously, while discussions among member states are confidential,” the remarks, quoted in Russian, said.
Prigozhin was killed alongside some of his closest associates, including leaders of the Wagner Group, as well as the crew of his private jet, which crashed in Russia last Wednesday. The cause of the incident is currently being probed by the Russian Investigative Committee, which confirmed the identities of all the victims on Sunday following DNA tests.
A serial entrepreneur, who emerged as a major figure in the 1990s post-Soviet St. Petersburg business scene, Prigozhin started out with a hot dog stand, before becoming a noted restauranteur. This led to state contracts in the early 2000s, and his companies eventually became prominent suppliers to the education and military sectors.
Prigozhin later branched out into other spheres, ranging from construction to media holdings. His Wagner organization first came to international prominence in Syria, in the mid-2010s and its profile escalated further because of its activities in Ukraine, particularly in the second half of 2022.
The controversial tycoon and his enterprises had been hit by several rounds of Western sanctions. The US first targeted Prigozhin in 2016 for alleged election meddling. The EU did the same in 2020, citing his role as the head of the private military company Wagner Group, which at the time stood accused of supplying weapons to Libya, in violation of a UN embargo.
His family members also ended up in the crosshairs after the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict last year. In March, his elderly mother Violetta Prigozhina secured a ruling from the EU’s second-highest court to overturn personal sanctions against her, after the court said the restrictions were “based solely on their family relationship.”
Brussels has sanctioned relatives of a number of Russian businessmen under the premise that the actual targets may attempt to shield their assets by transferring ownership.
An outspoken critic of many state officials in Russia, Prigozhin led a failed military mutiny in June of this year.