One of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s close allies on Thursday publicly criticized Russia’s most prominent mercenary, casting Yevgeny Prigozhin as a blogger who yells all the time about problems, drawing a stern rebuke from a top Wagner fighter.
Addressing Prigozhin in a video message using the diminutive of “Zhenya” and the familiar Russian form of you (“ty”), Adam Delimkhanov, a close ally of Kadyrov, told Prigozhin: “If you don’t understand, then you can contact us and tell us the place and the time, I we will explain to you what you don’t understand.”
“You have become a blogger who screams and shouts off to the whole world about all the problems,” Delimkhanov said. “Stop shouting, yelling and screaming.”
The message drew a swift rebuke from one of Wagner’s most senior fighters, Dmitry Utkin, a former special forces officer who served in Russian military intelligence.
“Where did such familiarity come from: who gave you the right to use the address ‘ty’ and ‘Zhenya’?” Utkin said in a message which Prigozhin reposted on Telegram. “Certain citizens should be put against a wall for the SHAME that we have.”
“We are always ready to talk man to man,” Utkin said.
Kadyrov, the son of former Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov who was assassinated in a 2004 bombing in Grozny, had last year supported some of Prigozhin’s criticism of Russia’s top military brass but their relations have distanced in recent months.
Kadyrov is a close ally of President Vladimir Putin.
Prigozhin, a restaurateur-turned-mercenary who quipped last week that his nickname should be “Putin’s butcher” rather than “Putin’s chef,” said on Wednesday he had asked prosecutors to investigate whether senior Russian defense officials committed any “crime” before or during the war in Ukraine.