Wigs, gold bars and pictures of severed heads: Inside Wagner boss’s lavish Russian mansion

By Isaac M August 24, 2023

A raid by Russian security services has revealed the colourful inside of mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s lavish mansion in St Petersburg.

A wardrobe full of wigs, gold bars and a stuffed alligator were among the many bizarre finds in photos and footage published by pro-Kremlin media outlet Izvestia in July.

Officials are also said to have found assault weapons, ammunition and even a photograph allegedly showing the severed heads of the Wagner leader’s enemies.

Officials are said to have found assault weapons with ammunition during the raid

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A wardrobe full of wigs were also uncovered, with colours ranging from grey to a mousy brown

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A lengthy indoor swimming pool complete with a bathing area, slides and even a jacuzzi can also be seen in the photographs, with the rooms lit up with what appear to be glass chandeliers.

Elsewhere, the contents of a wardrobe show an array of wigs with colours ranging from grey to a mousy brown, with photos purportedly showing the Wagner chief wearing them as a disguise leaked to state-backed Russian Telegram channels. The photographs, apparently taken from Mr Prigozhin’s personal photo albums, appear to have been taken during trips to various African and Middle Eastern countries where Wagner have had a presence in recent years.

Wagner was founded in 2014 and was involved in operations in Ukraine’s eastern regions. In subsequent years, it has fought in countries such as Syria, Libya, and the Central African Republic.

In a programme called 60 Minutes, broadcast on the state-run Rossiya-1 TV channel, it was claimed that cash worth 600 million roubles (£5m) had been found in the Wagner chief’s properties.

Mr Prigozhin has previously said that Wagner only dealt in cash, with Russian president Vladimir Putin recently admitting that the group was financed by the state. With the Russian president saying Wagner had received more than 86 billion rubles (£790m) between May 2022 and May 2023 for wages and additional items. That had come out of the defence ministry and state budgets. For years prior to Mr Putin’s speech late last month the Kremlin had denied any links to Wagner.

The mansion includes a lengthy indoor swimming pool complete with a bathing area, slides and even a jacuzzi

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Glass chandeliers are seen throughout the Wagner boss’s mansion

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An indoor swimming pool is pictured following a raid on Yevgeny Prigozhin’s St Petersburg mansion

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The programme also showed multiple passports under different names. “A normal person can’t have so many passports,” Petrov said. “Why did this person have such strange powers like the serious leader of some kind of criminal group.”

On Thursday, Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko said that Mr Prigozhin was not in Belarus, having brokered a deal last month to end an armed mutiny in Russia.

“As for Prigozhin, he’s in St Petersburg. He is not on the territory of Belarus”, Mr Lukashenko told reporters, having said last week that Mr Prigozhin was still in Belarus.

Photos of the Wagner chief wearing the wigs as a disguise were leaked to state-backed Russian Telegram channels

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Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko has said that Prigozhin is no longer in Belarus

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Mr Prigozhin took control of the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don on 24 June, seizing the command centre there and then taking a column of fighters towards Moscow. He eventaully stood down after striking a deal broked by Mr Lukashenko, a staunch ally of Mr Putin.

The agreement was meant to see Mr Prigozhin relocate to Belarus that criminal charges against him and Wagner over the attempted mutiny would be dropped.

However, it was stated during the Rossiya-1 broadcast that “nobody planned to close this case… The investigation is ongoing.”

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