Who is Yevgeny Prigohzin? Wagner Shef

Yevgeny Prigozhin began to be among the curious names after the allegations that Wagner declared war against the Russian army. So, who is Yevgeny Prigozhin?

Who is Yevgeny Prigohzin? Wagner Shef

Yevgeny Prigozhin, born on June 1, 1961, is a Russian oligarch, mercenary chief, and a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He is often referred to as "Putin's chef" because he owns restaurants and catering companies that provide services for the Kremlin. Prigozhin controls a network of influential companies, including the Russian state-backed mercenary company Wagner Group and three companies accused of interfering in the 2016 and 2018 U.S. elections.

Prigozhin was born and raised in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) in the Soviet Union. He had aspirations of becoming a professional cross-country skier but ultimately did not succeed in his sports career. In his early years, Prigozhin was involved in criminal activities and served prison sentences for theft, robbery, fraud, and involving teenagers in crime. After his release from prison in 1990, he started selling hot dogs and eventually ventured into various businesses.


Prigozhin became involved in the grocery store business and later entered the gambling industry. In 1995, he entered the restaurant business and opened his first restaurant, Old Customs House, in Saint Petersburg. He went on to establish several other successful restaurants, including New Island, which became popular among influential figures.

Who is Yevgeny Prigohzin? Wagner Shef

Over time, Prigozhin developed a close relationship with Vladimir Putin. He founded his own independent restaurants and secured lucrative government contracts through his company, Concord Catering. These contracts included providing meals to the Russian military and feeding school children and government workers. It is alleged that some of the profits from these contracts were used to fund the Internet Research Agency, which was involved in online propaganda operations.

Prigozhin's activities have drawn international attention and have led to economic sanctions and criminal charges against him, his companies, and his associates in the United States and the United Kingdom. The FBI has also issued a reward for information leading to his arrest.

In addition to his business endeavors, Prigozhin is associated with the Wagner Group, a controversial private military contractor affiliated with the Kremlin. He confirmed his role as the founder of the Wagner Group in 2022, stating that he established it to support Russian forces in the war in Donbas.

Prigozhin's involvement in Russian interference in U.S. elections has been a subject of scrutiny. After initially denying his role, he admitted his involvement in such operations in 2022. He has faced accusations of corrupt business practices and has been linked to various controversies, including allegations of supplying poor-quality food to Moscow schools.

Please note that the information provided is based on the available sources up until September 2021, and there may have been further developments or updates since then.