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In this image from video, a man sits atop an armored vehicle in the street as residents of the southern Russian city talk with military personnel on Saturday, June 24, 2023. Earlier in the day, the head of the Wagner group, mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said he had ordered his personnel to halt their march on Moscow to avoid shedding Russian blood. // AP Photo/APTN

VOICES: Should we be worried about what’s happening in Russia?


By Carmen Gentile

UPDATED: June 26, 2023

Short Answer: Yes. Very much so. 

While it seems the specter of Russian civil war has receded (for the time being), the hours-long standoff between Yevgeny Prigozhin, a former hot dog vendor, turned murderous mercenary leader, and President Vladmir Putin, an ice-cold killer in his own right, had the world bracing for the worst. 

That Putin also controls one of the world’s largest nuclear arsenals and has threatened repeatedly to use it since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, certainly added to global worry. 

All this amounts to a pretty scary scenario with potentially damaging consequences felt worldwide, including in Postindustral America. 

And it’s not over. 

Even though Prigozhin seemingly got a pass from Putin (again, for the time being) by way of the deal allegedly brokered by Belarussian president and Putin lapdog, Alexander Lukashenko, this situation is far from over. 

Right now, no one is certain where Prigozhin is, though his “Putin Pass” reportedly has him settling in Belarus.  

Meanwhile, his fighters in the Wagner Group, the private army Prigozhin founded and is known for its brutality in the battle for the Ukrainian city Bakmut, supposedly have the opportunity to sign on with the Russian military without consequence for their participation in the short-lived uprising. 

While it’s always difficult to assess exactly what’s going on in Russia, and even more so in Putin’s mind, something tells me neither Prigozhin, nor his 25,000 armed followers, are completely off the hook for trying to oust Russia’s top defense officials and threatening Putin’s rule. 

The Russian president looked weak and ineffectual in the eyes of the world, albeit only for a day. However this public perception of frailty does not sit well with Putin, who’s already dealing with humiliation in Ukraine, having assured the world the country would fall within days of Russia’s unprovoked invasion, a guarantee made almost a year and a half ago. 

So yeah, all this is upheaval and damage done to the reputation of an aged world leader with a penchant for cruelty and revenge against his enemies is bad news. 

But how does this potentially impact Postindustrial America? you may be wondering. 

Well, if the recent past is potential precedent for the future, we should look back to the winter of 2022, when the Russian invasion began, prompting the U.S. and other nations to cut economic ties with Russia, a major oil supplier. 

Prices at the pump jumped up after the start of the war, causing a trickle-down effect to any and all products that rely on gas-powered vehicles that transport goods from manufacturers to store shelves. 

We’ll get a better indicator of just how worried the business world is about Russian infighting soon after the markets’ open. But my guess is investors will be rattled by this internal unrest in Russia, causing another spike in gas prices and subsequent inflation. 

That means paychecks, already stretched thin by inflation and too-little wage growth, could seem even more measly in the days and weeks to come. 

Longer term, any unrest in the world triggers my and many others’ concerns that the United States could once again be embroiled in a fight that requires our daughters and sons in the armed services to once again risk their lives in service to our country.

Not that I think the United States is in any danger of a direct conflict with Russia, but an embarrassed and egomaniacal Putin could foment unrest someplace else, which could eventually prompt a military response that put’s said daughters and sons, many of whom hail from Postindustrial America, in harm’s way. 

So far, President Biden has yet to comment publicly on the unrest in Russia, though he did reportedly speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about the infighting next door that could end up benefitting Ukraine’s efforts to expel Russian forces.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken did comment publicly on the stunning developments in Russia a day later, telling CNN  that Putin appears weakened by the threat.

“The fact that you have from within someone directly questioning Putin’s authority, directly questioning the premises that – upon which he launched this aggression against Ukraine. That, in and of itself, is something very, very powerful. It adds cracks,” said Blinken. “Where those go, when they get there, too soon to say, but it clearly raises new questions that Putin has to deal with.”

Putin’s next move may better indicate just how harmful this still-unresolved  situation is to the Russian president, and more importantly, us at home and those who serve as our protectors.

Carmen Gentile

Postindustrial founder Carmen Gentile has worked for some of the world’s leading publications and news outlets including The New York Times, USA Today, CBS News and others. His book, “Blindsided by the Taliban,” documents his life as a war reporter and the aftermath of his brush with death after being shot with a rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan. He also is a board member of Industry’s Humanitarian Support Alliance. Reach him at

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