Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was killed in a plane accident two months after staging a brief mutiny, has been buried in a private ceremony on Tuesday in his hometown of Saint Petersburg.
He was thought to have been buried at the Porokhovskoye cemetery amid increased security after his firm announced a private service for the warlord was held “in a closed setting.”
Access to the cemetery was restricted, but an AFP photographer spotted the rear of what appeared to be Prigozhin’s new grave, which was marked with a wooden cross.
Mourners put a framed extract from “Nature Morte,” a poem by Soviet poet and Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky, at the burial site, with the words “dead or alive?”
Prigozhin’s press agency simply stated that a private ceremony was performed at the cemetery on the northeastern suburbs of Saint Petersburg for Prigozhin, who held the title of Hero of Russia, the country’s highest accolade.
“Yevgeny Viktorovich’s farewell was held in a closed setting. Those wishing to say goodbye can visit the Porokhovskoye cemetery,” his firm said.
Ukrainian officials mentioned the ceremony’s secrecy as evidence that the Kremlin was worried about protests.
“The secret funeral of Wagner ex-chief Prigozhin as an absolute symbol of Putin’s genuine fear,” Mykhailo Podolyak, a political adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, wrote on messaging app Telegram.