====== Abstract / Tl;dr ======
The criteria stated that an early resolution would require widespread media consensus wich hasn't been established. The deadline has been reached and the criteria stated that i should resolve by my gut feeling.
My gut feeling unambiguously says YES, but since this is a big market i feel obliged to go into greater detail. In the end i use a scientific paper to find a formal definition to work by.
======= End of Abstract =====
Okay, i resolve this market now, but first a bit of background.
====== Background and motivation ======
I created the market a few seconds after i heard of the russian infighting on my favorite social media site. Since i am on the ukrainian side on this, it sounded too good to be true. My social media site isn't really known for sharing reliable, accurate information so i used Manifold to try and get an estimate on the accuracy of the information and keep a discussion going.
I could have elaborated more on how i just wanted to confirm/disprove the rumours of the moment, but i feel like the title "...right now", and the first sentence "Rumors are going round that..." showed that already.
====== resolution criteria and discussion ======
I initially specified the following resolution criteria:
"Resolves early if there is widespread media consensus for either side."
"Otherwise resolves according to my gut feeling about this having been a coup or a false alarm."
I also changed the definition of "coup" a bit by using the phrase:
"...Wagner units are attempting a coup against the russian ministry of defense."
As this market got more and more attention there was a lot of discussion about the specifics which promted me to expand further on what i thought constitutes a coup:
"I'd define coup as an armed insurgency aimed to replace any higher official, including the Minister of Defence."
"I think what is going on could reasonably be described as a coup insofar as it involves a military organization turning on its own to remove a person in power."
"as for specifying the resolution criteria: I think if I see enough combat footage of Wagnerites fighting Russian forces I will be satisfied."
My initial motivation was to get an answer to the question "Are the russians really fighting against each other or is this just a rumour that will turn out not to be a big deal?".
Since this affair made world-news for several days and there was extensive footage (https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2023/06/chefs-special-documenting-equipment.html) this question has been answered as a resounding YES.
I felt quite confident with that until the wagnerites stopped 300km south of Moscow the next day. At this point the discussion started to revolve around the question wether "a coup that hasn't happened" could still be counted as a coup. To this i didn't have an intuitive answer, so i promised to not resolve the market early.
But i still want to look at what the media has to say.
====== Media-consensus ======
In order to assess the this i searched for news articles to see what they called the Event. Here are articles that at some point called it a "coup":
Guardian: "The Wagner uprising: 24 hours that shook Russia"
"Prigozhin’s breezy coup attempt, or march for justice as he meekly put it, was real."
"Prigozhin's coup attempt was a "black swan" event that put Moscow on edge and could be the beginning of Putin's end. "
Here are some articles explaining that it actually wasn't a coup.
William Partlett from the university of Melbourne wrote "Why Prigozhin’s march on Moscow was not a coup". I found that article interesting to read because of the "dual-state"-thing but in the end Partlett's analysis hinges on the fact that Prigozhin propably didn't want to bring down the regime of Putin and we already assessed that point.
The New Yorker wrote in "What Prigozhin’s Half-Baked “Coup” Could Mean for Putin’s Rule"
that "this was not an attempt to conduct a coup. It was a gesture of desperation.", which also doesn't bring us much further because why wouldn't a coup happen out of desparation?
The Guardian -despite earlier calling it a coup-attempt- calls it "less an attempted coup, more an impulsive demonstration that got out of hand".
Some call it something else:
"so-called 24 hour coup", or "rebellion".
Some only quote people calling it a coup:
All in all i think that there isn't a real consensus. Especially not if you take into account that our definition of a coup (coups can target the ministry of defence) is a bit different than the official one.
So how to decide?
Media consensus: N/A, or No
====== Political Science to the rescue! ======
The Wikipedia article on "coup d'etat" links to an article in the "Journal of Peace Research" from 2011, written by Clayton Thyne and Jonathan Powell from the University of Kentucky. They looked at 14 studies on coups from 1950 to 2010 and worked out a definition of what constitutes a coup. Just what we need!
They define a coup by five criteria. Here is a short summary of the interesting parts with my comments after the bullet points:
The first factor in arriving at a definition is in deciding who may be targeted. We remain consistent with previous research by considering only attempts to overthrow the chief executive.
Coups may be undertaken by any elite who is part of the state apparatus. These can include non-civilian members of the military and security services, or civilian members of government
Two factors must be considered [...]:
First, the activity must be illegal.
I don't know too much of russian law, but i expect driving around in battle tanks and shooting down airplanes is pretty illegal, even in russia. Also Putin himself called it illegal, so i won't lose time here.
Second, a near-universal criterion for coups is that violence does not have to be present.
Plots and rumors:
[We opt to] coding only cases where coup attempts were ‘overt’ (there has been a visible
movement to claim power) and ‘actual’ (the events are not alleged ex post facto in some kind of trial proceeding).
Success and failure:
We [...] differentiate between failed and successful efforts. A coup attempt is [...] defined as successful if the perpetrators seize and hold power for at least seven days.
This would make it an unsuccesful coup attempt, since Prigozhin didn't actually seize power and i feel that the wording "A coup attempt is defined as sucessful if..." also solves the question if an unsuccesful attempt should be counted, too.
=====Summary and Conclusion====
It could be possible for the naysayers to find another, slightly different definition of "coup" and start a discussion again. After all this is political science, so there are propably multiple schools of thought fighting each other. But all i could find was this paper here:
... wich contains a nice flowchart (Figure 2: Coding Rules), but makes the grave error of requiring the perpetrators to seek power. I think it is nigh impossible to asses the true intentions of an honest person, let alone the ones of a political figure. This sounds like a recipe for endless unproductive debate and i have a market to resolve so you can get your fake internet points back.
So I'll stop this here and now. The resolution criteria stated that i should go by my gut feeling which i do. I hope i was able to explain my thought process a bit and thank you all for engaging in my market.
Thanks Mainfold! :-)