Is Prigozhin leading a coup right now?
142
142
2K
resolved Jul 2
Resolved
YES

Rumors are going round that Wagner units are attempting a coup against the russian ministry of defense.

I will try to find better sources than this.

https://www.msn.com/he-il/news/other/update-2-russian-mercenary-boss-vows-to-avenge-alleged-army-attack-moscow-denies-accusation/ar-AA1cXjLX

Here is a translation of Prigozhin last love letter to Moscow:

"PMC Wagner Commanders’ Council made a decision: the evil brought by the military leadership of the country must be stopped.

They neglect the lives of soldiers.

They forgot the word “justice”, and we will bring it back.

Those, who destroyed today our guys, who destroyed tens, tens of thousands of lives of Russian soldiers will be punished.

I’m asking: no one resist. Everyone who will try to resist, we will consider them a danger and destroy them immediately, including any checkpoints on our way. And any aviation that we see above our heads.

I’m asking everyone to remain calm, do not succumb to provocations, and remain in their houses. Ideally, those along our way, do not go outside.

After we finished what we started, we will return to the frontline to protect our motherland. Presidential authority, Government, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Rosgvardia, and other departments will continue operating as before. We will deal with those who destroy Russian soldiers.

And we will return to the frontline.

Justice in the Army will be restored.

And after this, justice for the whole of Russia."

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.

Edit: Due to this market getting traction I sold all my shares so as to not seem biased when resolving this.

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====== 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."
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jun/25/prigozhins-march-on-moscow-chronology-of-an-attempted-coup

Kyiv Post

"Prigozhin's coup attempt was a "black swan" event that put Moscow on edge and could be the beginning of Putin's end. "
https://www.kyivpost.com/videos/18905

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.

https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/why-prigozhin-s-march-on-moscow-was-not-a-coup

The New Yorker wrote in "What Prigozhin’s Half-Baked “Coup” Could Mean for Putin’s Rule"

https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/what-prigozhins-half-baked-coup-could-mean-for-putins-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".
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jun/30/could-yevgeny-prigozhin-really-have-captured-moscow-wagner-russia

Some call it something else:
https://www.cnbc.com/2023/06/26/wager-coup-putins-regime-looks-deeply-damaged-despite-failure-of-coup.html

"so-called 24 hour coup", or "rebellion".

Some only quote people calling it a coup:

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2023/06/23/world/russia-ukraine-news

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?
Gut-feeling: Yes
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!
https://www.uky.edu/~clthyn2/powell-thyne-JPR-2011.pdf

They define a coup by five criteria. Here is a short summary of the interesting parts with my comments after the bullet points:

Targets:

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.

  • We adressed that one already, see above.

Perpetrators:

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

  • Wagner is a security service by russian definition, but de facto a military force.

Tactics:

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.

  • Phew! This one solves the problem of the Wagenrites not actually reaching Moscow.

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).

  • I guess we all agree that what we saw was quite real and overt.

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:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BndbowTxB245Hc3hOOWdYisBJpULcKM9/view?pli=1

... 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! :-)

jacksonpolack avatar
jackson polackpredicted YES

I'm nervous about my position here because I can't really steelman the NO case (and answers from NO holders haven't really made sense), but it's still quite low, but we will see

jacksonpolack avatar
jackson polackbought Ṁ100 of YES

how are you leaning on resolution?

Akzzz123 avatar
AKbought Ṁ50 of YES

@higherLEVELING Note that the market resolution criteria states

attempting a coup against the russian ministry of defense.

Technically, coups are against the head of state and when asked the creator did clarify as follows

I'd define coup as an armed insurgency aimed to replace any higher official, including the Minister of Defence.

After the mutiny/coup attempt was over, the market creator responded specifically about what happens if it's a failed attempt at coup.

in a discussion about "does a failed coup attempt still count as a coup"? I said that I'll leave the market open and assess the media consensus at closing time. That's why it is still open.

Presumably, this is to give some time for a consensus to form since the attempt failed with limited fighting between the Wagnerites and the Russian forces. Note, the current media consensus is that it was an armed attempt at replacing the leadership of the Russian MoD although an unsuccessful one.

higherLEVELING avatar
higherLEVELINGbought Ṁ19 of NO

@Akzzz123 wait. are they replacing the MoD?
so you're saying that coup = rebellion, so yes?

Akzzz123 avatar
AKpredicted YES

@higherLEVELING

  1. MoD's future is uncertain but there haven't been any changes yet.

  2. For this market, yes.

d avatar
Vo

jacksonpolack avatar
jackson polackpredicted YES

Isn't he just trying to downplay it after he lost?

d avatar
Vo

@jacksonpolack that's what I think as well

Akzzz123 avatar
AKpredicted YES

@d Looks like it, ISW's assessment is that he was counting on defections from within the Russian military which didn't happen.

Akzzz123 avatar
AKpredicted YES
Akzzz123 avatar
AKpredicted YES

"During their 400-mile march toward Moscow, the Wagner fighters shot down six Russian aircraft: five helicopters and an Ilyushin Il-22M Coot aerial command post and radio-relay plane. Reportedly, 13 crew died in the six shoot-downs."

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidaxe/2023/06/26/wagner-mercenaries-did-what-ukrainian-troops-couldnt-do-shot-down-a-priceless-russian-command-plane/?sh=263514ce50e1

jacksonpolack avatar
jackson polackbought Ṁ400 of YES

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.

The media often refers to the event as a coup (note: sites sometimes change or A/B test titles, these were titles I saw)

Washington Examiner: Russia coup: Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin reveals motivations in first comments since rebellion

USA Today: Russian coup leader Prigozhin issues statement, says he did not want to depose Putin: Live updates

Economist: Prigozhin’s strange aborted coup is a sign of Russia’s malaise

Newsweek: Russian Nukes: Alarms Raised as Kremlin Faces Prigozhin's 'Coup' Attempt

Atlantic: Prigozhin Planned This Coup -- In its timing, design, and execution, the Wagner chief’s threatened coup bears the hallmarks of a well-prepared operation.

Guardian: The Wagner uprising: 24 hours that shook Russia - in text: Prigozhin's breezy coup attempt, or march for justice as he meekly put it, was real

Intercept: Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Coup Targets Putin and His “Oligarchic Clan”

Note that titles are not reliable sources, and are often heavily editorialized to the point of being actively misleading, even for otherwise trustworthy sources and accurate articles. However, most of the articles refer to the event as a coup in the body.

It is also often referred to as a rebellion, mutiny, etc. Other notes:

CNN: Prigozhin claimed it wasn't a coup but a “march of justice.” But that did little to appease Moscow, with a top security official calling Prigozhin's actions a “staged coup d'état,” according to Russian state media.14 hours ago

You could argue this is consensus for it being a coup. I was unable to find any mainstream media articles arguing it wasn't a coup attempt, with some saying "it might or might not be a coup".

But let's say there isn't media consensus. Then we move to - your gut feeling on whether it was a "coup" or a "false alarm". Recent events and military movements show it was not a false alarm, and it was very close to a coup.

A NO resolution doesn't make sense here. YES is preferred, N/A would be reasonable if many people bet NO on it not 'technically being a coup'.

Rederth avatar
Redpredicted NO

@jacksonpolack no resolution completely makes sense if OP looks at the aggregate and says it's not a coup.

Media certainly doesn't have a concensus and I can dig up many large media entities that discuss the events without using the word coup.

As a yes better, I can see why only yes or N/A makes sense.

jacksonpolack avatar
jackson polackpredicted YES

Media certainly doesn't have a concensus and I can dig up many large media entities that discuss the events without using the word coup.

I agree with that! "Media certainly doesn't have a concensus and I can dig up many large media entities that discuss the events without using the word coup." from above. That doesn't make something not a coup, though. How would it? These terms aren't exclusive at all, it's word choice. A rebellion and mutiny can also be a coup.

As a yes better, I can see why only yes or N/A makes sense.

You have the causation backwards - I think it should resolves YES, so I bet YES. I made my bet in the last hour after thinking about the situation.

Can you find any media articles that claim it isn't a coup? I agree it's arguable there isn't consensus, but the reports that exists lean much more towards coup and non-coup.

Anyway, the criteria say that, absent consensus, this resolves to his instinct on coup vs "false alarm". And it was not a false alarm, while it's at worst sort of a coup.

Akzzz123 avatar
AKpredicted YES

@jacksonpolack Also note the market creator has explicitly mentioned that he will treat what a coup is differently, so the dictionary definition of the word was never relevant.

I'd define coup as an armed insurgency aimed to replace any higher official, including the Minister of Defence.

The market was never about the definition of the word coup but rather about whether the event was true or a false alarm as it's obvious to anyone who takes a moment to read the market description. The dictionary trolls who are betting NO have no other argument other than twisting the meaning of coup despite being informed that the market creator is not going by that.

jacksonpolack avatar
jackson polackbought Ṁ100 of YES

Yeah I'm genuinely confused why the market is at 50% right now after that clarification

edit: and am aware that often that's a sign I'm missing something lol

Rederth avatar
Redpredicted NO

@jacksonpolack Media consensus is relevant for an early close, but I completely agree that it doesn't make or not make something a coup attempt.

To quote the market creator from the post blow this: "@Rederth wie bot bogged down in a discussion about "does a failed coup attempt still count as a coup"? I said that I'll leave the market open and assess the media consensus at closing time. That's why it is still open."

So their gut feeling combined with media consensus is actually pretty important here as they've clarified.

Also I have links that don't call it a coup outright, several that are questioning, mostly because this was a big confusing russian shitshow. I don't actually want to play the "lets trade link for link anecdotes" game. I have a few lower in the thread, but the point being is presenting a source of CNN and declaring a "media consensus" is a large stretch.

I wish you the best on your yes bets, but I don't think they are anywhere near as guaranteed as those claiming in the comments section. The market also reflects this.

Akzzz123 avatar
AKpredicted YES

@jacksonpolack You're free to point me to any argument that doesn't rely on the word coup's definition. There isn't any. The media consensus already exists on an armed revolt against the MoD which is sufficient for the way the market creator is defining coup for this market.

Rederth avatar
Redpredicted NO

@jacksonpolack protip, if you want someone to make assumptions mindreading the market creator and give you confirmation bias, just read the stuff AK has been posting repeatedly the past few days. Certainly not huffing copium despite the market creator showing up and telling us why they haven't resolved it yet.

They ain't fucking sure.

jacksonpolack avatar
jackson polackpredicted YES

@Rederth I don't understand your comment.

"@Rederth wie bot bogged down in a discussion about "does a failed coup attempt still count as a coup"? I said that I'll leave the market open and assess the media consensus at closing time. That's why it is still open."

If the issue at hand is 'is the coup attempt having failed a reason to resolve it NO, if it is in every other sense a coup attempt', then the market must resolve YES. You are 'leading a coup' if you are, in the present, attempting a coup. If the coup fails, that doesn't mean you were not leading a coup. The description also begins - 'Rumors are going round that Wagner units are attempting a coup against the russian ministry of defense.'

I don't actually want to play the "lets trade link for link anecdotes" game. I have a few lower in the thread, but the point being is presenting a source of CNN and declaring a "media consensus" is a large stretch.

What is a 'link for link anecdote game' if the market resolves on media consensus? Articles or videos from mainstream media are the trees of the 'media' consensus forest. Little else is relevant. And I presented about ten different sources, where are yours?

Also I have links that don't call it a coup outright, several that are questioning, mostly because this was a big confusing russian shitshow

Again, a coup is often also a mutiny and a rebellion. Not using a term doesn't make it not that term.

jacksonpolack avatar
jackson polackbought Ṁ80 of YES

@Rederth can you present an argument instead of adhoming AK? His arguments aren't any worse than yours. Imagine you're in a debate with Destiny, instead of spamming his chat.

Rederth avatar
Redpredicted NO

I've presented several in this market, and the ad hom is referring then calling me a troll, then refusing to engage with what's written and continue gishgalloping into the sunset. His arguments are great if you assuming there is an objective truth to arrive at and it is the only logical answer.

It being a coup for the purposes of the market resolution is entirely up to the market creator. It is based on their truth after taking the aggregate media information.

Its pretty simple. You are trying to bet if it was a coup, the actual subject of the market is does schwabillismus think there was a coup.

By all means go all in on yes because there isn't another possibility.

jacksonpolack avatar
jackson polackpredicted YES

None of those are sources or arguments.

I read your other comments, and they come down to: Wikipedia's title doesn't include coup, some articles use terms other than coup, putin didn't use the term 'coup', and wagner called it a 'march for justice'.

All of these fail under even minimal examination. Using a term other than coup doesn't prevent something from being a coup. I have called it the 'wagner event' in another comment. Does it being an 'event' make it not a coup? Is a BLT not a sandwich because it's a lunch? Is a Manifold question no longer a "market" because it's called a "question" now?

Rederth avatar
Redpredicted NO

You're aboslutely right, a coup is a spectrum and if you lie anywhere on it, you can be described as being in a coup.

Is a recession a recession if there are two consecutive quarters of negative GDP? If you redefine the word, according to the government, they can just not be in one.

My arguments naturally fail under the ivory towers of yes betters. The point WASN'T to demonstrate to YOU why it isn't a coup, but to why OP may think it might not be. What if OP makes a market "is the earth flat?" and after all your arguments he resolves it in the other direction.

The reason I don't want to play the link game is because the argument "there is a media consensus! look, here is CNN calling it a coup" is stupid and holds no ground. Posting news articles from different sides of the political spectrum muddy things a lot and I'm assuming you know little about the creator. Look around for your consensus of yes betters to support you.


Hubris definitely has no consequences, especially if you want to battle arguements and not read what I'm saying.

fucking debate brain. have fun.


BUY YES FREE MONEY EVERYONE!

Rederth avatar
Redpredicted NO

@Rederth I also have like 13 mana in this market. I can provide links, I just don't want to.

Lastly, this very well or likely could resolve yes. But it didn't yet. food for thought.

jacksonpolack avatar
jackson polackpredicted YES

I agree it's possible for something to be coup-ish without being a coup. I'd be interested in you making any argument for that, though. Which you are not doing, and have not done.

"there is a media consensus! look, here is CNN calling it a coup"

I still have no idea what you mean by this, I linked ten different media sources calling it a coup, not just CNN.

Posting news articles from different sides of the political spectrum muddy things

Also a confounding comment, if news articles across the spectrum agree with something, surely that bolsters the case for consensus?

What if OP makes a market "is the earth flat?" and after all your arguments he resolves it in the other direction.

That would be a misresolution (ignoring "did the title ACTUALLY mean is the earth's surface mostly flat")

Rederth avatar
Redpredicted NO

@jacksonpolack Sorry, if I post 10 links does that make your arguement stronger or weaker. There is a reason I'm not playing this never ending game.

Multiple links for news articles bolsters the argument that there could be a consensus. Links from large news sources not using that language points against. This leads to the "definition argument" which assumes the words are all synoymns and the authors intent for word choice. Maybe those calling it a coup were using lazy shorthand, and as a synonym for something else. Go ingonito and google russia, wagner, and all sorts of variations. Are you going to see coup plastered everywhere? The claim of media consensus on "a coup occuring" isn't nearly as strong as you think.

Lastly, good thing this market isn't as objective as is the earth flat. Unlike that, there isn't a consensus. There isn't a consensus in the media according to the market creator (the real person you need to convince unless you are looking to offload the yes bet) since they've posted in the thread since.

If this market resolves no, do you think it was misresolved because you are objectively right?

jacksonpolack avatar
jackson polackpredicted YES

Sorry, if I post 10 links does that make your arguement stronger or weaker. There is a reason I'm not playing this never ending game

Again, this is absurd because the market resolves on media consensus - that is, articles in the media. The only correct source of evidence for that part of the criteria is that!

Go ingonito and google russia, wagner, and all sorts of variations. Are you going to see coup plastered everywhere? The claim of media consensus on "a coup occuring" isn't nearly as strong as you think.

Every article I see uses terms like 'mutiny', 'revolt', 'rebellion', 'insurrection', 'uprising', 'coup'. Again, something being a revolt doesn't make it not a coup attempt. But I agree it is arguable there is no media consenus on it being a coup, which brings us to OP's coup definition, which attempting to remove the MoD head (which there is media consensus on) satisfies, or the comparison between 'coup' and 'false alarm', where coup is plausible and false alarm is unambigously not true.

If this market resolves no, do you think it was misresolved because you are objectively right?

I'd think it would be misresolved because it isn't a false alarm, and by the market author's clarifiation below about the MoD? You haven't addressed that point at all.

Rederth avatar
Redpredicted NO

We are getting somewhere. There is an argument that there isn't a media consensus, perfect. Now using OP's quote, it meets the definition of coup for sure right? The intent is OBVIOUS that the market is about [SOMETHING COUP LIKE] and a false alarm, not what it declares. We know this because we can read minds. Now inconvienently using OP's quote made this morning "I said that I'll leave the market open and assess the media consensus at closing time. That's why it is still open.". So on the 30th you'll have your answer.

If the market authors intent is clear cut based on what they've posted, then keep yes voting harder. Make that mana and show everyone.

If the market authors intent is less clear cut based on the lack of resolved market, and them declaring they are getting more information... doesn't indicate anything. You're right. Make that mana and show everyone.

AlexPower avatar
Alex Powerbought Ṁ167 of NO

@jacksonpolack the suggestion that the market is really about "Are the media sources that say this is a possible coup saying this is a possible coup" is ludicrous. This isn't whales-v-minnows games. The crux of the market is whether there actually was an attempted coup, as opposed to a military convoy presented in a "fake news" way in the Russian media.

If Prigozhin's convoy was exploded, or Putin was killed in a military attack, that would qualify for an early closure. This continued suggestion that "9 out of 10 media outlets still say it was possibly a coup, so consensus is clear" is nonsense.

jacksonpolack avatar
jackson polackpredicted YES

could you buy some more no then?

The market is about the media consensus because, well, it says "Resolves early if there is widespread media consensus for either side." in the description

as opposed to a military convoy presented in a "fake news" way in the Russian media

sure, do you have any, like, evidence for this?

AlexPower avatar
Alex Powerpredicted NO

@jacksonpolack I have already spent over M2000 on NO, and will probably wait for more news before piling on further.

The evidence that it is "fake news" is that the official story is preposterous, and also Prigozhin has been constantly lying to the western media for the past 7 years.

jacksonpolack avatar
jackson polackpredicted YES

is that the official story is preposterous

preposterous things happen sometimes, how plausible was chatgpt?

Prigozhin has been constantly lying to the western media for the past 7 years.

There seems to be a lot of evidence it 'really happened', and I can't see how faking this benefits either putin or prigozhin, it just makes them look dumb.

higherLEVELING avatar
higherLEVELING

@jacksonpolack Putin calls Wagner mutiny "treason" in televised address - YouTube
im slowly reading through the comments, but you asked for media that is saying it isn't a coup. He goes through his reasonings. watch if you haven't seen it yet
Adding: cant forget wiki: Wagner Group rebellion - Wikipedia