Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed a new leader for the private military Wagner group, which is a move that could split the ranks of the group that waged a brief rebellion against the Russian military and ended up in exile in Belarus.
According to Russian Kommersant newspaper, Vladimir Putin suggested that Andrei Troshev lead the group.
The newspaper reported that Putin met with Prigozhin and the group’s leaders five days after the failed insurrection.
According to Kommersant newspaper, Putin told the Wagner commanders at the meeting that took place in Moscow after the rebellion, that they could continue fighting under the command of their direct commander, a man symbolized by the Russian word “Sedoy”, meaning “gray hair”, and what is meant here is Andrei Troshev, whom Putin described as “the real leader of Wagner all the time”.
Putin said about the group’s reaction to the proposal: “Many of them nodded in the affirmative when I said that”.
Andrei Troshev, who is called “Sedoy,” to describe the color of his hair, is a retired Russian colonel and founding member and CEO of the Wagner Group, according to sanctions documents on Wagner published by the European Union.
These sanctions documents stated that Troshev is the chief of staff for the Wagner Group’s operations in Syria.
According to documents issued in December 2021, Troshev was born in April 1953 in Leningrad (St. Petersburg), in the former Soviet Union.
He was particularly involved in Deir al Zour region, eastern Syria and made a decisive contribution to the war in Syria.
According to British sanctions documents against Wagner Group, issued in June 2022 say, “Andrei Nikolayevich Troshev was the CEO of the Wagner Group, and he was a member of the militia and was involved in the repression of the civilian population in Syria”.
Among his partners is Dimitri Utkin, founder of the Wagner Group, who is also a former Russian military intelligence officer, according to EU sanctions.
Troshev is also associated with the leaders of the Wagner Group, Alexander Sergeyevich Kuznetsov and Andrei Bogatov.
Troshev was a former employee of the Special Rapid Response Department in the Northwest Federal District of the Russian Interior Ministry.
He was a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Chechnya, and was awarded medals for his participation in those wars.
In December 2016, Troshev and Utkin appeared at a reception in the Kremlin, alongside Putin, wearing several medals.