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Sydney’s chief propagandist for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine believes he has passed an “ideological minefield” by doubling down on his loyalty to President Vladimir Putin as Wagner troops marched on Moscow.
Simeon Boikov, better known as the Aussie Cossack, remains locked in the Russian Consulate General in Sydney’s eastern suburbs where he has spent more than six months evading arrest warrants issued by NSW authorities.
Simeon Boikov, unable to leave the Russian consulate in Sydney for fear of arrest, says the aborted Wagner mutiny in Russia exposed “traitors” who refused to back president Vladimir Putin – but he is not among them.Credit: Wolter Peeters
Boikov, a controversial and outspoken advocate of Russia’s invasion and war, found his social media accounts erupting with frantic chatter as Wagner tanks and troops threatened to confront Putin’s military at the weekend.
“Do not compromise yourself by taking the bait of cheap disinformation which is aimed at creating uncertainty, weakness and confusion,” Boikov told his followers, suggesting NATO and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky was involved.
It soon became clear, however, that Russia was on the brink of civil war between the government and its powerful paramilitary force Wagner.
Wagner Group mercenaries sit atop a tank before leaving Rostov-on-Don on Saturday.Credit: AP
Boikov urged his fans, including many westerners who support the invasion of Ukraine, to await Putin’s address to Russia.
Putin’s address, when it came some hours later, similarly suggested external foes were behind a campaign to sow disunity in Russia. The president denounced Wagner’s “betrayal” – and for the group’s public fans like Boikov that carries consequences.
Earlier this year Boikov asked Wagner to capture western foreign fighters in Ukraine, so he could be swapped in a prisoner exchange.
Boikov believes famed propagandists inside Russia, who failed to support Putin, will be exposed as “traitors”.Credit: Telegram
An exchange was Boikov’s best shot at reaching Russia without first surrendering to NSW Police on the stately streets of Woollahra.
Wagner’s failed march on Moscow, and the exile of its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, effectively ends that chance.
But Boikov remains optimistic, saying he spoke out in favour of Putin even as other, more famous propagandists were waiting to see where the chips fell.
“Putin needed to do this,” Boikov said.
“This was long overdue to establish and discover who are the traitors around the place. It’s because of traitors that Russia sometimes has things that don’t go to plan.”
Propagandists like Boikov are now in what he calls an “ideological minefield”.
Boikov suspects he has passed the test by staying loyal to Putin rather than picking sides between Prigozhin or the Wagner chief’s Kremlin enemies – army chief Valery Gerasimov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.
“When a husband and wife are arguing about soup being overcooked the smart mother-in-law stays out of it,” Boikov said.
“Because when they kiss and make up she will be in no-man’s-land.
“But the traitors Putin was probably talking about were not Prigozhin and Wagner… It’s the people who were actively encouraging this insurrection or people who were silent.”
Boikov, on his social media platforms, is now pinning his hopes on being offered up as a prisoner exchange for American journalist Evan Gershkovich.
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