Day: June 26, 2023

Background Briefing: June 26, 2023


Putin’s Angry Address Tries to Drive a Wedge Between Prigozhin and the Rank and File of His Wagner Mercenary Army

We begin with today’s 11 minute audio statement from Prigozhin followed by a 5 minute recorded TV address to the Russian people by President Putin in which he tried to drive a wedge between Prigozhin and his rank and file Wagner mercenary army promising them they could go home or sign up for the military while reneging on the Kremlin’s earlier assurances Prigozhin would not be punished, promising to hold him to account for a mutiny that was aiding and abetting what Putin calls “the neo-Nazis in Kyiv and the West.” Joining us is Andrew Weiss, Chair and Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace where he oversees research on Russia and Eurasia. He previously served as director for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian Affairs on the National Security Council and as a member of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff. His latest book is Accidental Czar: The Life and Lies of Vladimir Putin.


How Trump Changed the Culture of Washington With the Influx of Grifters, Con Men, Racists, Creeps and Bottom Feeders

Then we examine how the culture of Washington changed in the Trump years with the influx of grifters, con men, racists, creeps and bottom feeders who saw the moment as an opportunity to bet big on their country or maybe just on themselves. Joining us for a journey into post-Trump America’s mad mix of oddballs, opportunists and true believers is Ben Terris, a writer for The Washington Post’s Style section with a focus on national politics. He is the author of the new book, just out, The Big Break: The Gamblers, Party Animals, and True Believers Trying to Win in Washington While America Loses Its Mind.