Wagner, the once-powerful Russian private military company that fell out of favor with the Kremlin after an aborted mutiny in June, has been cast into uncertainty.
The Russian authorities have confirmed the death of the group’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, in a plane crash, and Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has sent mixed signals on his plans for Wagner.
Attention is now shifting to whether Wagner, which Prigozhin built into a global empire over nearly a decade, ultimately will die, too.
The Kremlin is believed to be considering ways to bring Wagner under more direct control, experts say, but hasn’t made any final decisions on what to do with the group and its trained fighters, geopolitical inroads and business interests.
Wagner fighters are already joining volunteer formations, as well as official units, under the Russian armed forces.
Analysis: “I think that PMC Wagner, in itself, as a structure, most likely won’t exist,” said Aleksandr Borodai, a member of the Russian Parliament who briefly served in 2014 as a Moscow-installed proxy leader in Donetsk, Ukraine.