Prigozhin Crash: Russia Will Not Open Normal Investigation

By Spyros Georgilidakis | August 30, 2023

Russian aviation authorities will not conduct an ICAO Annex 13 accident investigation into the crash that killed Wagner group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin.

It is still difficult to verify many of the details around this August 23rd crash, that took place in Russia. International satellite imagery websites have verified its location, close to the village of Kuzhenkino, and close to the Khotilovo Air Base in the Tver region. The crash site’s coordinates are 57° 44′ 56.65″ N, 33° 57′ 14.69″ E.

Prigozhin Crash: Russia Will Not Open Normal Investigation
The Wagner Group aircraft that Prigozhin was on. Photo: Anna Zvereva, CC BY-SA 2.0

But the latest news on the Prigozhin crash is coming from Russia via Brazil. The aircraft in this crash was an Embraer Legacy 600, also known as EMB-135BJ (“BJ” for “business jet”). Brazil’s civil aviation authority issued the aircraft type’s certification.

So CENIPA, Brazil’s Center for Research and Prevention of Aeronautical Accidents, would like to participate in the investigation of the crash that killed Prigozhin. Under the rules of ICAO, the United Nations body responsible for civil aviation, the investigative authority from the country that originally certified the aircraft, should be part of the investigation.

Prigozhin Crash: Russia Will Not Open Normal Investigation
Older picture of the same aircraft, with its previous registration. Photo: Riik@mctr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Investigating the Prigozhin Crash

But Russian investigators have now informed their colleagues in Brazil that they do not intend to investigate the Prigozhin crash in this way, “at the moment”. And technically at least, they don’t have to, since this domestic business jet flight is not subject to ICAO’s Annex 13 investigation guidelines.

However, it is customary for aviation authorities to investigate such accidents to ICAO standards, in order to ensure transparency. Moreover, it is important to learn all possible lessons from accidents involving an aircraft type that is flown commercially, besides its use as a business/private jet. Over 1,200 Embraer EMB-135/140/145 have been built, the vast majority as commercial/regional airliners.

Another photo of the airframe destroyed in the crash, with its first registration. Photo: Alan Wilson, CC BY-SA 2.0

This development reinforces the view that there won’t be a lot of international scrutiny on a crash that many suspect involves foul play, in the form of a bomb or a missile. Since the crash, Russian authorities have also announced that they have identified the remains of Yevgeny Prigozhin, using DNA data.

Besides Prigozhin, on board the Legacy 600 for this flight were a number of bodyguards, plus two top Wagner executives, like Dmitry Utkin. There were also three crew members. The crash happened exactly two months after Prigozhin’s very public mutiny against Russia’s military leadership.



  • The cause of the crash was already planned!

  • Alexandru Dan GHEORGHIU

    What we can say for sure is that he went away with a bang. And the bang was needed because what he did meant a lot to Putin. The more important, the bigger the bang which makes sense if you want to get rid of someone and warn others at the same time.
    The crash itself is nothing interesting. I am not sure why there is still coverage in the media since it is obvious what this was (nothing to do with technical problems of the aircraft).

  • Either the Russian army made a mistake, and it won’t be admitted in a public report, or it was an execution (not very likely, as it could have been done more easily, while Prigozhin was in Africa, a few days before) and it won’t be admitted in a public report, or it was a terrorist/other government attack, which fooled Russian security services, and it won’t be admitted in a public report either.

    We would get information only if it was an accident. Obviously, it is not, so waiting for anything is certainly hopeless.

  • Gosh, is anybody surprised? You don’t need to investigate when you already know the cause of the crash before the aircraft even took off…… B-O-O-M!!!!🧨🧨🧨

  • Danielle Patton

    2 words “Open Secret”

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