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Wife of Russian warlord whose husband’s death remains controversial

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Lyubov Prigozhina, a name perhaps less recognised on the global stage, has recently come under the spotlight due to her husband’s prominent position as a Wagner warlord, especially following the news of his unexpected death in August 2023.

While her husband’s activities and utterances captured international headlines, Prigozhina chose a different path, intentionally maintaining a low profile. This piece offers a closer look into the life and endeavours of Lyubov Prigozhina.

Lyubov Prigozhina’s biography

Lyubov Prigozhina smile

Lyubov Prigozhina is a Russian businesswoman and pharmacist. She was born in Russia on June 26, 1970.  She is best known for her association with her husband, the late Yevgeny Prigozhin, a prominent Russian businessman.

While details of Prigozhina’s childhood and educational history are not public knowledge, it is known that she has lived her whole life in Russia.

She owns and oversees several businesses in the country and operates away from the public’s eye due to her husband’s image in Russia.

Prigozhina is a mother of three children.

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Lyubov Prigozhina’s career

Lyubov Prigozhina at the Eiffel Tower

Prigozhina has built her career by closely aligning herself with her husband, the late Yevgeny Prigozhin, a prominent Russian businessman. She has built a reputation for owning and operating several boutique businesses throughout her career. She is most notable for owning and running the Saint Petersburg-based Chocolate Museum. The Crystal Spa & Residence boutique hotel, which won the renowned Perfect Spa Project award in 2013, and a wellness centre are also part of her business portfolio.

Prigozhina’s role in the corporate world increased with her ownership of Agat LLC, a division of Concord Management and Consulting LLC, a company that is a part of the Concord group. The Concord Organisation has been linked to government contracts, garnering attention from around the world. It is noteworthy that Prigozhina was subjected to financial penalties by Western nations as a result of her husband’s involvement during incidents like the Crimea annexation and the current war in Ukraine.

Lyubov Prigozhina’s net worth

Although Prigozhina’s net worth is yet to be confirmed, several online sources have stated that she is estimated to be worth around $5 million.

Lyubov Prigozhina family

Lyubov Prigozhina family

Prigozhina had three children with her husband, the late Yevgeny Prigozhin. They had two daughters: Polina (who was born in 1992) and Veronika (who was born in 2005). They also have a son, Pavel, whose birth year falls between 1996 and 1998.

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Before the Ukraine conflict, Prigozhin’s children enjoyed the freedom to travel within the European Union. An example of this was in February 2022, when Prigozhin’s daughter, Veronika, took part in equestrian competitions held in Spain.

Lyubov Prigozhina and Yevgeny Prigozhin

Lyubov Prigozhina and Yevgeny Prigozhin and their daughter

Prigozhina’s husband, the late Yevgeny Prigozhin, was born in 1961 in Russia. His parents were regular folks but his grandfather was a war hero. Prigozhin had some trouble when he was young, like stealing, and he even went to prison for a long time. After getting out of prison, Yevgeny started selling hot dogs and got into the grocery store business. He also started working in the casino business. He even ran restaurants like the trendy New Island in St. Petersburg. He gained fame by hosting world leaders like President Vladimir Putin of Russia, former U.S. President, George Bush; and former French President, Jacques Chirac, at his restaurants.

In the 2000s, Prigozhin got closer to Putin and started his chain of restaurants and catering business, Concord Catering. He won government contracts worth millions, some of which allegedly funded the Internet Research Agency, known for meddling in elections. Soon after, he became known as “Putin’s Chef” because he provided food for important Kremlin events.

Yevgeny Prigozhin

Prigozhin expanded his catering contracts to include schools and the Russian armed forces. In 2004, Prigozhin published a children’s picture book and his children were listed as co-authors. However, the book was not commercially available and was distributed as a gift to friends and associates.

As the years went by, Prigozhin’s wealth led to accusations of corruption, including supplying poor-quality food to schools. He became known for his lavish lifestyle, which included owning a private jet and a yacht. He was also linked to the Wagner Group, a private military company. He initially denied ties but later admitted to founding them in 2014 to support Russian interests abroad.

During the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Prigozhin gained more power as he led Wagner’s forces. He criticised the Russian government for not providing enough support and ammunition to his troops. He became a vocal critic, gaining popularity among some Russians.

There was a big disagreement between Prigozhin and the Russian Ministry of Defence. They did not get along, and this conflict became a big deal. It started to heat up in February 2023, during the Russian winter offensive.

Prigozhin complained that his private army, the Wagner Group, was not getting enough support from the Defence Ministry, especially when they were fighting in the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut. He even accused top military leaders of not giving his troops enough bullets, which led to heavy losses.

Prigozhin made fun of the family of Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, saying they lived a lavish life while soldiers were dying on the front lines.

In June 2023, things got even more intense. Prigozhin rebelled against the Russian Ministry of Defence. He said they were lying about why they invaded Ukraine, and he accused top military leaders of hiding the true number of soldiers who died in the conflict.

Prigozhin’s rebellion led to a surge in his popularity among some Russians. He began his rebellion by taking over the military headquarters at Rostov-on-Don and was on the march to Moscow, Russia’s capital. He, however, ordered his troops to turn back while they were at a village which is two hours away from Moscow.

In August 2023, an aircraft accident claimed the life of Prigozhin. There is much discussion about what caused the disaster, with various conspiracy theories emerging. Prigozhin was officially announced as having perished in the August aircraft tragedy.

Yevgeny Prigozhin's memorialSource: AP

All 10 passengers on board were tragically killed when the jet crashed while flying from Moscow to Saint Petersburg. The plane was seen descending to the ground from a height of 28,000 feet while emitting smoke from its fuselage just before exploding.

Following DNA testing on the bones, the Investigative Committee of Russia verified the passengers’ demise.

One of the most important competing theories speculates that Russian air defences may have shot down the jet. This was said by a Wagner-related Telegram channel, although no evidence has been provided yet. The idea put forward by Western officials was that the plane may have been brought down by an explosive on board.

Some speculate that Prigozhin’s demise may have been caused by sabotage or a bombing, given his contentious past and involvement in several battles. This idea contends that because of his deeds and influence, he could have been purposefully targeted.

Lyubov Prigozhina age

Prigozhina was born in 1970, which makes her 53 years old as of September 2023.

Lyubov Prigozhina now

Lyubov Prigozhina has always been known to keep a low profile. Following the death of her husband, Prigozhina has yet to make an appearance in public. Also, regardless of the countless speculations swirling around the international media sphere regarding her husband, there has been no word from her as of the time of this piece’s publication.

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