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Jess Framptom

GZERO Wrapped 2023

‘Tis the Spotify Wrapped season! (Or Apple Music replay season, for those of us out of step with the cultural zeitgeist). In the spirit of everyone sharing their most-played tracks of the year, the GZERO team decided to look back at some of our top-viewed articles of 2023. You’ll never guess who wrote our top pick …

Plus, check out GZERO’s totally real and definitely not photoshopped 2023 Spotify Wrapped playlists from some of your favorite politicians.

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Candles are placed at a makeshift memorial near the former PMC Wagner Center, associated with the founder of the Wagner Group and Yevgeny Prigozhin, in St. Petersburg, Russia.

REUTERS/Anastasia Barashkova

Wagner and Russia’s next moves

Russia has confirmed the identities of the 10 people who died in a plane crash last Wednesday northwest of Moscow. They included Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Wagner Group, as well key associates Dmitry Utkin and Valery Chekalov.

The question now turns to what happens to Wagner forces and the group’s clients, particularly African nations that are of strategic importance to Russia. Can President Vladimir Putin pick up where Prigozhin left off?

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Russian President Vladimir Putin.


Putin breaks his silence on Prigo

Almost 24 hours after the plane presumed to be carrying Wagner warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin exploded midair outside Moscow – presumably killing him and Wagner’s top military commander Dmitry Utkin – Vladimir Putin has broken his silence. On Thursday, the Russian leader sent his condolences to the families of the 10 people killed in Wednesday’s massive explosion.

(For more on Prigozhin’s failed June mutiny, which brought him on a collision course with his boss, see our explainer here.)

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Prigozhin presumed dead
Prigozhin presumed dead | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Prigozhin presumed dead

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Yevgeny Prigozhin, former head of Wagner Group and would-be putschist against Vladimir Putin's Kremlin and Russia, is no more. It was an unprecedented story, that coup attempt against Putin's regime. This was the man who, of course, had been built up and so loyal to Vladimir Putin with the most powerful paramilitary organization in the world, fighting a battle on the ground in Ukraine and fighting against the Minister of Defense and others, losing that battle and deciding to turn his forces against the Russian regime. First, in Rostov and capturing the seat of the Southern command, and then marching him probably on to Moscow, where at the final moment he backs down and agrees to a quote unquote deal with Putin. Putin, who went on national media and referred to Prigozhin as a traitor.

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Don't count Yevgeny Prigozhin out
Don't count Yevgeny Prigozhin out | GZERO World

Don't count Yevgeny Prigozhin out

In late June, the oligarch, longtime Putin ally, and Wagner mercenary group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin shocked the world (and Vladimir Putin) when he marched his troops through Russia in what appeared to be a coup against Moscow. Although he backed down, Marie Yovanovitch, former US Ambassador to Ukraine, thinks the story is far from over.

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Ukraine's counteroffensive on the brink
Ukraine's counteroffensive on the brink | GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

Ukraine's counteroffensive on the brink

In the year and a half since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, it has felt like the momentum has consistently been with Ukraine and its Western backers. But is that beginning to change? Months into the long-awaited Ukrainian counteroffensive, Kyiv has little to show for its military push. So why hasn't it been more effective?

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Wagner troops posing for a picture during last month's mutiny in the city of Rostov-on-Don.


The threat from (what’s left of) Wagner

The Wagner Group, the private army financed by the now infamous entrepreneur/mutineer Yevgeny Prigozhin, has become one of the most talked about players in Russia’s war on Ukraine. But Wagner isn’t what it once was … in a couple of important ways.

Months of grinding warfare have left the group a shadow of its former self. A senior Wagner commander has estimated the group’s casualty rate over the course of the war at nearly 80%. From a peak of 78,000 soldiers, 49,000 of whom were recruited from Russian prisons, about 40,000 have been wounded and 22,000 are dead.

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Gen. Sergei Surovikin and soldiers

Prigozhin watch: Critic sacked, “Armageddon” at rest

A Russian general has said he was sacked for speaking frankly to his superiors about the army’s failings on the front lines in Ukraine.

In a voice message shared publicly by a Russian lawmaker, Major Gen. Ivan Popov accused top brass of “viciously beheading the army” by leaving it unprepared for Ukrainian counteroffensives. Popov had been commanding Russian forces in Southern Ukraine.

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