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Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian businessman and oligarch who controls the Wagner Group, is presumably entering Russian politics, with a claim to get power. Preliminary reports suggest Prigozhin is about to register a radical political party.
Prigozhin started his life and childhood in Leningrad, like most of those close to Putin. His adolescence, the difficult age of 15-16 years, when the formed values develop into actions, and everyone wants to be like adults, ended up with a suspended sentence, followed by 12-year imprisonment. Prigozhin lost his father early. When a stranger with some skills gets involved into raising a child (his stepfather was a famous ski coach), the child at this age seeks to avoid communication, to do things his way, and looks for new friends to express himself, as a way to reject the rules imposed on him. That was why he fell under the influence of criminals and dubious teenagers.
With the experience of imprisonment, he knows well the psychology of a prisoner, is an excellent speaker, gives the right priorities and arguments, appeals to values that are only relevant for prisoners.
Prigozhin’s main psychological features are sociability, charisma, and ambition. He is cunning and superior. He earns confidence quickly, knows how to listen carefully, you can rely on him, provided the tandem is to his advantage too.
Prigozhin belongs to choleric-sanguine temperament type, dominated by choleric. He is self-confident, demanding of others, impulsive. His character accentuation manifests as hyperthymic and hysteroid types, with various strong features of them both.
He is socially flexible, quickly adapts to changing circumstances, primarily due to his experience in different social groups, he is a good “chameleon”. He is eager to continuously broaden his range of interests, activities, and communication, with constant drive for action. He is extremely diverse in outer appearances, artistic, bright, and noticeable. He has rich facial expressions, gesturing. He is fluent in the language and good at hiding his intentions and emotions behind a smile. He has many hobbies and interests, and a lot of experience.
His thinking is imaginative, with strong ability to visualize. He gets interested in any new business very quickly, but without clear, quick, or attainable outcome he finds a range of ways to get to it. People close to Prigozhin, who know him personally, emphasize his cruel and sometimes rough language that he always uses for his subordinates and rivals. He learnt that behavior pattern at the same school of life in the 80s.
He uses bright elements and symbolic names to show his personality and strategic thinking. It is essential for Prigozhin to show his importance and success to Putin and to the Russians, as he seeks to appear as a promising leader.
His authoritarian style of management can be compared to that of Kadyrov, with extremely strict goal setting and no way back when results achieved.
He shares Kadyrov’s desire to get power, closely related to a series of maneuvers, challenges, threats, and actions. His recent statements on incompetent leaders of Russian military command addressed to Shoigu that echo Kadyrov’s previous attacks on ex-commander Lapin, speak of similar ambitions and consolidated positions in the political scene.
Both of them are aggressive, cruel, with brutal warfare, damaged reputation, and ambition. But if to compare them in terms of psychology, it is evident that a person showing his aggression and excessive cruelty is just protecting himself. With Wagner Group initially tied to the FSB, we can assume Prigozhin might be affiliated with Russian internal intelligence. But further Wagner’s engagement with the Defense Ministry indicates that Prigozhin could reach somewhere between these centers of influence in Russia, in attempt to gain his own leverage, as the one who is equidistant from key security agencies, and as a personal consigliere to Putin. That keeps him neutral in Kremlin conflicts so far. But his marked desire to gain his own leverage in Russia is likely to escalate his conflict with Defense Ministry and “liberal” part of the FSB.
Prigozhin-Kadyrov partnership ends where their common political interest ends.
Prigozhin’s reputation is the most painful and psychologically vulnerable thing for his personality, as he constantly feels highly tense over the memories of his criminal past and criminal present.
He has developed psychological complexes, in this context, and cannot hide them behind enrichment or success, as they always come to life and are felt.
He could be easily manipulated, if to use them.