Wagner PMC’s mutiny didn’t fulfil the West’s wish but a new mutiny in France has caused it trouble

The Wagner PMC's mutiny has failed in Russia, disappointing the West. But a new mutiny in France is causing severe discomfort to the West.

Wagner PMC’s mutiny didn't fulfil the West's wish but a new mutiny in France has caused it trouble

File photo of 2017 protests in France. Damien Checoury/Unsplash

A week earlier, the West appeared visibly happy and hopeful after Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder and head of Russia’s Wagner Private Military Company (PMC), called for a ‘mutiny’ against Kremlin, accusing the Russian Air Force of attacking its fighters. The West pinned its hopes on Wagner PMC’s mutiny, anticipating that it will cause significant damage to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authority.

However, the West’s wishes didn’t come true. Prigozhin was labelled as a traitor by Putin in a televised address. The Federal Security Service (FSB) lodged complaints of treason against him and his followers, crushing the Wagner PMC’s mutiny before it could unfold. The West placed its bet on a man who thought of seizing Moscow with 5,000 footsoldiers, a few armoured cars and no air support!

Within a few days, following a mediation by Russia’s closest ally Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, Putin pardoned Prigozhin, whose ambitious ‘mutiny’ had fallen on its face. The FSB withdrew the cases, many of the Wagner PMC fighters, who remained loyal to the government, were absorbed into the Russian Army, and the rest reportedly fled to Belarussia, where Lukashenko allowed them to use a former military base as a camp.

While the Wagner PMC’s mutiny in Russia didn’t result in massive violence, arson, bloodshed and fireworks on the street, which the West wanted to use as optics to prove that Putin was losing, the West itself had to face an ignominious situation after a ‘mutiny’ of a different type took place in France.

On Tuesday, June 27th, French policemen shot dead a 17-year-old in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, after he reportedly failed to stop his car. The teenager was of Algeire-Moroccan descent. The incident sparked a nationwide outrage, which turned into street battles between the people of African and Middle-Eastern descent and the white French state.

The violence over the police atrocities, which bear resemblance to the outrage in the US over the killing of a black American named George Floyd by a white policeman in 2020, spread to several communities and big cities of France such as Dijon, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Strasbourg, and Toulouse. 

On the night of June 29th, several dozen police cars were burned and administrative and police buildings suffered damage when the protesters attacked them. According to reports, the French state has arrested over 900 from different corners and has deployed over 45,000 armed troops to suppress the people’s movement for democratic equality and against racism.

French President Emmanuel Macron reportedly left a European Union (EU) meeting on imposing additional sanctions to “punish Russia” in the mid-way to rush to Paris and take stock of the situation. 

While a similar protest in China or Russia would have invited the hawk’s gaze of several mainstream media outlets of the West and the protesters would’ve been labelled as “freedom fighters”, they have remained conspicuously silent over the atrocities unleashed by the French state against the people of colour.

While France, despite a growing anti-immigration right-wing movement, has been portraying itself as a beacon of liberalism and democracy, and has allowed immigrants, mainly from the countries it had brutally colonised in the past, it never allowed similar civil rights to the immigrants as it would to the white people.

Thus, the major fissure in French society, caused by the antagonistic contradiction between a white France and its growing number of immigrant people of colour, has widened in the last few years. Moreover, Macron’s ultra-right policies, which interfere with the personal beliefs and culture of immigrants of non-white, non-western backgrounds, have also instigated furore.

Now, with the killing of the teenager by the police, which is an extremely racist force in France, the lid over the pot has been lifted. The violence, which the West wanted to see in Russia, an ethnically diverse country, has reached its streets and is burning its assets. The epicentre of the West’s liberal democracy now suffers the brunt of what it wants to inflict on Moscow.

Prigozhin-led Wagner PMC’s mutiny is over, and the man is cast to oblivion forever. However, how will France deal with the upheaval, which it’s failing to do even after deploying massive armed forces, dangles as a question before the West and the world.

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