Prigozhin, Putin, and the new fight for the future of Russia


‘Absolutely gripping, deeply authoritative, hugely important and lethally lurid’
Simon Sebag Montefiore, Sunday Times bestselling author of The World: A Family History

Yevgeny Prigozhin emerged as one of the most dangerous warlords in the world and as one of Vladimir Putin's chief rivals in Russia's tumultuous political climate, exiled after leading Wagner's attempted coup and killed in a mysterious plane crash. But what is the truth about this enigmatic figure, his role in the war with Ukraine, and the chaos unleashed across Russia by his turn against Putin? And, in the aftermath of his death, what is next for Russia in the new stage of late Putinism that Prigozhin's life forged?

Drawing on years of research, this book traces the rise of Russia's most prominent non-state actor and examines the political climate that propelled a convicted gangster with no government office to the formidable role he came to occupy. An essential story of Russia's recent history, Downfall is also a compelling insight into its likely future.


  • [Mark Galeotti and Anna Arutunyan] have penned not only a deeply interesting biography of Prigozhin, but also a penetrating account of Russia under Putin. Downfall is as much a biography of a system as a biography of a man.
    Joshua Huminski, Diplomatic Courier

About the authors

Anna Arutunyan

Anna Arutunyan is a Russia-American journalist, analyst and author. Born in Moscow, she was raised and educated in the United States before returning to Russia as a journalist. She covered two decades of Russian politics, first as reporter and editor at The Moscow News, then as a correspondent and analyst. She has served as Russia's senior analyst for the International Crisis Group, and only left Russia after the February 2022 invasion. She has a wide range of contacts in Russian politics and business and worked on the ground in both Crimea and the Donbas after the outbreak of the undeclared conflict in 2014. She is now Associate Director of the consultancy Mayak Intelligence and a Global Fellow at the Wilson Center. Her articles have appeared regularly in USA Today, Foreign Affairs, and other publications worldwide. She is the author of several books on Russia, including The Putin Mystique (Skyscraper), translated into over a dozen languages, and the latest on Russia's war in Ukraine, Hybrid Warriors: Proxies, Freelancers and Moscow's Struggle for Ukraine (Hurst).
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Mark Galeotti

Professor Mark Galeotti is one of the foremost Russia-watchers today, who travels there regularly to teach, lecture, talk to his contacts, and generally watch the unfolding story of the Putin era. Based in London, he is Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague, having previously headed its Centre for European Security, and was before then Professor of Global Affairs at NYU. A prolific author on Russia and security affairs, he frequently acts as consultant to various government, commercial and law-enforcement agencies.
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