Headline RoundupAugust 24th, 2023

Rumors, Theories Circulate Following Reports of Wagner Boss' Death

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Following reports that a plane crash outside Moscow resulted in the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner mercenary group that staged a short-lived coup against the Russian Federation two months ago, rumors and theories are circulating online regarding the validity of the reports and the potential causes of the crash. 

Faked Death? An analysis from The Guardian (Lean Left bias) noted similar reports of Prigozhin dying in a plane crash in 2019. Prigozhin was reported to have died in a plane crash in Africa, but he reappeared a few days later. This instance, plus leaked images of Prigozhin wearing an array of disguises, is leading some to question the initial reports. A Newsweek (Center bias) analysis broke down the various theories regarding a faked death. Noah Rothman (Right bias) dismissed the theories, stating, “given the trajectory of the Wagner mutiny, we can assume neither Prigozhin nor his deputies think too many moves ahead.”

Cause of Crash? Among those accepting reports that Prigozhin died in the crash, the predominant belief is that the plane was intentionally downed by Russian authorities. President Biden told reporters, “There's not much that happens in Russia that Putin's not behind.” The Wagner-affiliated Gray Zone Telegram channel claimed the plane was shot down by air defenses. Others are speculating that a bomb snuck on board caused the crash. 

How the Media Covered It: Outlets across the spectrum are generally accepting reports of Prigozhin’s death as fact but are also covering suspicion from some voices.

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