What really went on with Wagner?

Keen Russia watchers are confused. What really went on with Wagner? 

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, son of a Vladimir, has had to admit paying Yevgeny Victorovich Prigozhin, son of a Victor, for doing dirty tricks for the Russian state all along. 

The dreadful Alexander Grigoryvich Lukashenko, son of a Grigory, claims to have given the mercenary leader sanctuary in Belarus to stop Putin killing him. The Wagner boss says he never intended to overthrow Putin and kill him. The Western alliance says the coup attempt, mutiny or whatever it was, has made a rattled Putin all the more dangerous. Or has it?

It’s as clear as mud. Zimbabwe has remained unusually quiet about the latest shenanigans lapa side. Lukashenko was on a state visit here earlier this year, promising us tractors and farm equipment, and went away with a taxidermist’s stuffed African lion as a gift symbolic of our lion-hearted friendships going back to Soviet days. 

Wagner at work

There hasn’t been any of our local propaganda guff about our Russian-speaking friends fighting against the capitalist neo-imperialism of the West’s military-industrial complex that would be spending its ill-gotten gains on Ukraine and making even more money churning out more new weapons for the Ukrainians. 

All of the NATO alliance countries are spending a great deal of time and money on Ukraine. In a TV interview, David Owen, the former British foreign secretary during Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle now seen as an elder statesman, was asked why the West didn’t save all that money and effort by simply having Putin assassinated.

“We don’t do that sort of thing any more,” Owen said. Gone are the days of getting rid of people like Chile’s Salvador Allende. And indeed, the last figure in their sphere of influence the Brits thought of ‘taking out’ was Uganda’s Idi Amin. Instead they chose to materially support the Tanzania army’s retaliatory invasion of Uganda that toppled Amin after he had invaded northern Tanzania. .

When the Brits repeatedly failed to peacefully negotiate a settlement in Zimbabwe’s conflict it was left to the Russians and the Chinese to train and support our liberation fighters so as to shore up their own ‘geo-political’ interests during the Cold War.

They were the so-called progressive world seeking equality and justice for all the oppressed. But we know Russians and Chinese don’t actually like black people very much and never have. Their own human rights record doesn’t bear close scrutiny either. 

PMG (Private Military Company) Wagner’s badge/ emblem/ logo says it all

Accounts of their disdain for Africans are legion. The college campus where black students studied in Moscow was known locally as “Zoo Park.”

One former guerrilla fighter tells how he and his comrades were treated when they arrived in Moscow for military training in the dead of a Russian winter. They travelled aboard Aeroflot from sweltering Zambia dressed in tee shirts and worn-out cotton jeans. 

The welcoming party of Russian officers, dressed in those distinctive ear-wrapping fur hats of theirs and massive fur overcoats, marched the recruits through ankle-deep ice and snow to waiting buses. The youngsters were shivering as though having epileptic seizures and their teeth chattered and clanked together in sub-zero temperatures with ne’er so much as a blanket being tossed their way. “ I thought hell was supposed to be hot,’’ said one of our fighter’s fellow African trainees later..

China wasn’t much better. Africans were segregated from ordinary Chinese and their instructors ‘treat us like dogs,’ said one in a letter home.. 

When Robert Mugabe made his first trip to China after Zimbabwe finally won independence a colleague went along in the all black media group. Each of the journalists had a Chinese minder-translator allocated to them upon arrival. Elton was asked by his: Can I touch your hair. Why? I want to see if it’s made of wire, came the reply. At the baggage carousel the minder asked: Where are your drums? What do you mean? said Elton. Isn’t that how you communicate with each other in Africa?

Things have changed in today’s global village but resentment remains. Russians and Chinese are ripping us off in every aspect of their investments in mining, agriculture, construction, you name it. It is well known that Chinese employers can treat black workers as badly as any colonialists ever did in days of yore.

A recent story in the local press had a Chinese businessman smashing all his office tea cups in a rage after one worker drank out of one of the cups. Others got locals to steal pet dogs in our suburbs for their cooking pot. Croaking bull frogs caught on a luxuriant golf course were also a delicacy on their menu.

Others masterminded poaching gangs of the local poor who were paid peanuts for their tremendously valuable quarry – elephants for ivory and rhino horn and pangolin, our scaly ant-eaters, for their supposed medicinal and aphrodisiac properties in traditional Oriental medicine. 

A minor Russian oligarch has bought a splendid house down the road where he has spent more time since Putin’s Ukraine invasion in case, as a younger man, he gets called up for Ukraine service and can’t buy his way out of it. He doesn’t mix much but finds Zimbabweans malleable and not averse to accepting bribes to further his plans in buying properties on the cheap, and sometimes illegally. He wants to build a casino and put a minor superyacht our majestic Lake Kariba.

He says he doesn’t know much about Wagner but heard they had been on a recce in northern Mozambique where Jihadists need eliminating. The violent mercenary army, made up of many ex-convicts, murderers and rapists pardoned by Putin, have so far done most of their African looting and killing in Mali, the Central African Republic and other parts far to the north of us.

My junior oligarch hopes Putin won’t now banish them back to Africa possibly to upset Zimbabwe’s corrupt status quo and the comforts he enjoys therein. 

President ‘ED’ Mnangagwa and our solidarity with Lukashenko. No sign of the stuffed lion here.


1 Response

  1. Annie Price says:

    Hi – got my glasses ! Very erudite and wide reaching article – how are you doing ?

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