Fact Check: BBC Did NOT State That Wagner Chief Yevgeny Prigozhin Is Alive


  • Автор: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: BBC Did NOT State That Wagner Chief Yevgeny Prigozhin Is Alive Never Said

Did the BBC, the British public service broadcaster, state that Wagner Group chief and leader of the failed mutiny against the Kremlin, Yevgeny Prigozhin, is alive? No, that's not true: Lead Stories found that BBC never reported such information.

On September 2, 2023, the claim appeared in a video (archived here) posted on the TikTok account @ruporzdravomisliya.

The graphic overlay on the video, in Russian, says, translated by Lead Stories staff:

Did Prigozhin resurface after the funeral? The end of the story of the PMC (private military company, editor's note) and Prigozhin?

The three main arguments in this video are the following:

  1. BBC has stated that Prigozhin is alive.
  2. Official Wagner channels have not confirmed Prigozhin's death.
  3. An unverified video appeared online which shows Prigozhin in Africa refuting his death.

(The text and the audio have been translated into English from Russian by Lead Stories staff).

Below is how the post appeared on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-09-05 at 10.31.28.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Тue Sep 5 10:12:18 2023 UTC)

Lead Stories found that BBC has never stated that Prigozhin is alive. No such information was found on BBC's official website or BBC Russian News Service website. A search for the phrase "BBC stated Prigozhin is alive," conducted on September 5, 2023, using Google News' index of thousands of credible news sites, did not reveal any factual reports on this claim. Furthermore, on August 30, 2023, Lead Stories had already debunked the claim and showed that BBC denied having posted a video claiming that Prigozhin is still alive.

On August 29, 2023, Prigozhin's press service said on its official Telegram channel that Prigozhin was buried in a private funeral in St. Petersburg. On August 30, 2023, the Wagner group-affiliated Telegram channel Grey Zone published pictures of Prigozhin's grave along with the caption: "Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin (1961-∞). He once said, 'The dead speak louder than the living.' And he proved it!" (The text has been translated into English from Russian by Lead Stories staff).

On August 30, 2023, Grey Zone, published also a video that provoked rumors that Prigozhin did not die in a plane crash. The video shows Prigozhin sitting in a moving car and saying: "For those who are discussing whether I am alive or not, how I am doing. It's the weekend, the second half of August 2023. I am in Africa. So, for those who enjoy discussing my elimination - intimate life, earnings, or anything else, everything is fine." However, in this video, Prigozhin says nothing about the plane crash and this video has not been independently verified. The BBC reported, the so-called "weekend" reference in the video, on "the second half of August," suggests the video could have been recorded on 19 or 20 August, a few days before the plane crash.

On August 23, 2023, Russia's aviation authority reported that Prigozhin and top Wagner commander Dmitry Utkin, were on board a private jet traveling from Moscow to St. Petersburg when it crashed near the village of Kuzhenkino in Russia's Tver region. To date, the reason behind the crash remains unclear. On August 27, 2023, Russian officials said Prigozhin had been confirmed dead after a genetic analysis.

On June 23-24, 2023 Prigozhin led a tempted mutiny, threatening the Kremlin. The Wagner Group is a Russian shadowy mercenary company that has been active in Ukraine, Syria, and Africa and has repeatedly been accused of war crimes and human rights abuses.

  Lead Stories Staff

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.

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