The Russian Gambit :: By Jonathan Brentner

Last Saturday, June 24, just when it looked as though Yevgeny Prigozhin and his Wagner group were about to engage in a bloody conflict with forces loyal to Putin, the leader of Russia, the situation suddenly and mysteriously changed. It was then I realized that I had been far too hasty in writing about the situation. I had fallen prey to Russian gambit that had played out before the eyes of the world.

Until last week, I had never heard about the Wagner Group or Yevgeny Prigozhin. For those like me, below is a brief summary that I found on Telegram of the group as well as what ensued on June 23 leading up to the crisis.

The Wagner Group is a private military company under the control of Yevgeny Prigozhin that cut its teeth in deployments to Crimea and eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region in 2014 and has since dispatched troops to several conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, including the Syrian Civil War.

In Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Wagner has proved indispensable, but an apparent power struggle between the Kremlin and the outspoken Mr. Prigozhin has led to the group having its wings clipped by Moscow.

The friction escalated to a crisis point on Friday, 23 June, when Mr. Prigozhin accused his country’s defense ministry, Sergei Shoigu, of “destroying” his fighters and concocting lies to justify the invasion of Ukraine. Mr. Prigozhin called for armed mutiny in an explosive rant on Telegram in which he vowed to stop the “evil” of the Kremlin’s top brass.

What Happened?

The question that lingers on many minds is this, “What happened?” Why did Prigozhin suddenly and inexplicably call off the coup?

The story we heard at the time was that the President of Belarus, Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, intervened and mediated a deal between Prigozhin and Vladimir Putin that satisfied both sides and immediately eased the tensions. The promised changes at the Russian Ministry of Defense satisfied Prigozhin as he desired the removal of its head, Sergei Shoigu, which happened after the agreement was reached.

Prigozhin issued a statement to the effect that he didn’t want the great bloodshed that would ensue from an attack. Are we to believe this was a sudden realization and thus a valid concern?

Many remain unsatisfied with the possible explanations as to why Prigozhin so quickly changed course and retreated from his advance on the Kremlin.

Was It a Ruse?

It’s my opinion that it was a gambit with Putin knowing well in advance what Prigozhin would do; both sides in the conspiracy used the appearance of a coup to their advantage.

It’s the details of how this came about that remain fuzzy.

One theory is that Vladimir Putin allowed it to happen so he could see who truly supported him and who did not. And that certainly happened; Putin is now in a stronger position as the leader of Russia than before the coup attempt and has greater support for the war in Ukraine.

Some suggest that the CIA in America, with help from the Ukrainian secret service, paid Prigozhin a great sum of money to stage the rebellion, hoping it would mean the end of Vladimir Putin. He thus pretended to go through it with the full knowledge of Putin but suddenly stopped knowing that he had become very rich while still remaining loyal to Putin. This fits with what we know of the CIA, but we have no solid evidence supporting this.

Amir Tsarfati believes there’s a good possibility that the Wagner Group now possesses tactical nuclear weapons. It was shortly after the group took over the base with no resistance that Prigozhin ended the coup, which adds to his suspicions of what happened.

Amir warned that the Wagner Group might have these weapons and use them in Ukraine, with Putin able to claim that it wasn’t him but rather someone who tried to remove him from power.

Are Putin and Prigozhin still adversaries, as the ongoing statements from the Russian president suggest? Or were they co-conspirators in a plot to enhance each other’s position and advance the war in Ukraine and still united in purpose despite what we hear?

I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I’m convinced that the appearance of a coup doesn’t tell the full story of all that happened last Saturday.

Lessons Learned

Here are the lessons I learned from far too quickly putting my ideas in print.

First, I’m reminded that appearances will often deceive us in these last days. Because there’s so much going on behind the scenes with the deep state in America and the globalists at the UN and World Economic Forum (WEF), it’s frequently impossible to accurately interpret current events based on just what we see and hear. Satan, the master of deceit, is constantly working through his minions to deceive and subject people to his tyranny.

Jesus warned that deception would mark the last days (Matthew 24:4).

Second, the Russian gambit reinforces the importance of possessing an accurate understanding of biblical prophecy. The world may deceive us at times, but a knowledge of what the Bible says about the day in which we live will go a long way in averting deception as well as preserving our sanity. We know the end of the story and the joyous eternity that lies ahead for us as New Testament saints.

Third, it has reinforced my awareness that our enemy is working overtime to deceive us and, in the process, make us look foolish. He is fiercely attacking believers, knowing his time is short. I have learned anew not to overlook his ploys and deadly ambitions. He is a liar, and during the Tribulation, he will deceive great multitudes of people.

We live in biblical times; Jesus is coming for His church in the near future. The Rapture could happen today. Is it not increasingly difficult waiting for it to happen amid all the lawlessness and deception around us?

The reports that come our way from current events very often don’t reflect reality, which means that if ever there was a time to know the Bible and carefully study its prophetic words, it’s now!


My books:

My latest one is Cancel This! What Today’s Church Can Learn from the Bad Guys of the Bible. The book is all about growing to maturity in Christ. The bad examples of these characters reveal the mindset we need for living at a time when the cancel culture dominates our culture.

I provide a detailed defense of the Pretribulation viewpoint in: The Triumph of the Redeemed-An Eternal Perspective that Calms Our Fears in Perilous Times.

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