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The Wagnerization of Political Order
Wagner Group arose out of Russia’s landscape of corruption, factionalism, and political fiefdoms. If similar conditions intensify in the West, powerful individuals will exploit the same opportunities.
Last week we published a new article by deputy editor Alexander Gelland. It covers the growing inability of the state to fulfill its goals, the increasing competition between factions of the state bureaucracy, and the opportunities for private individuals to take advantage of this situation. In a word, it can be called “Wagnerization.”
This is because Yevgeny Prigozhin’s private military company Wagner, and its dramatic rush on Moscow in the June of this year, was the clearest example of how powerful one man can become through acquiring state resources. Wagner Group used its funding to create a vast media empire that resembled something of a parallel society within Russia, creating its own headquarters in St. Petersburg that hosted startups, cultural events, and event Twitch streamers:
The Wagner Center took the mercenary company out of the PMC domain and made it the armed wing of an NGO. This is because it situated Wagner in the cultural sphere as it expanded its media operations. People became familiar with Prigozhin’s pugnacious Telegram voice messages that criticized the anemic Russian war effort, Wagner’s feature-length movies, and a temple for fallen soldiers replete with relics taken from the PMC’s time in Syria as if it was the Knights Templar. This is why people in Rostov were cheering them on in the aftermath of their “March for Justice.” Being useful to the government is what provided a group like Wagner its autonomy, and that autonomy eventually made it popular—and dangerous.
In America, as of yet there is no “American Prigozhin.” But the political failures that created the Russia of the 1990s and the mercenary leader himself are starting to become conceivable in American society as well. As the capacity of the state falters due to growing political gridlock, bureaucratic overhead, and the competence crisis, those who can figure out how to channel state resources to their own projects will be destined for great things in the years to come.
PALLADIUM 11: Social Apocalypse
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Here’s what’s been on the front page lately:
The Wagnerization of Political Order by Alexander Gelland. Wagner Group arose out of Russia’s landscape of corruption, factionalism, and political fiefdoms. If similar conditions intensify in the West, powerful individuals will exploit the same opportunities.
PALLADIUM 11: Social Apocalypse. PALLADIUM 11: Social Apocalypse is now available to all Palladium members. Subscribe today to receive your copy of our fall 2023 print edition.
It’s Time For Greater San Francisco by Evan Zimmerman. The Bay Area is a regional economy hindered by fragmented local governments. The answer is consolidation into Greater San Francisco.
A New Cosmist Moment by Alexander Gelland. The Cosmists pursued visions of resurrection and immortality but ended up recuperated into Soviet ideology. Modern tech utopians are following in their footsteps.
The Only Reason to Explore Space by Marko Jukic. There is only one durable justification for space exploration. If we fail to understand it, our civilization will end on Earth, not among the stars.
That’s all for now.