As dawn broke over Rostov on Saturday, the world woke up to an new situation in the heart of Russia. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the chief of Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organization and former close ally to President Vladimir Putin, had just announced an armed rebellion against Russia's defense minister, Sergei Shoigu. Despite Wagner playing a crucial role in Russia's ongoing Ukraine campaign, a dispute with the defense ministry has escalated rapidly, raising eyebrows worldwide.
These fast-paced, dynamically changing events call for robust intelligence-gathering tools, and that's where the power of open source intelligence (OSINT) and the DigitalStakeout platform steps in. In this blog post, we'll explore how to track the developing situation in Russia and provide your stakeholders with continuous insights as events unfold.
A Quick Overview of the Wagner Group
The Wagner Group is known to operate outside the confines of Russian law, where private military companies are officially forbidden. Speculation abounds that the Wagner Group receives equipment and training from the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) and is considered a de facto unit of the MoD or of Russia's military intelligence agency, the GRU. Wagner Group has been instrumental in the Russian invasion of Ukraine and other global conflicts where Russian interests lie.
Tracking the Events In Russia
In volatile environments such as this, the collection and analysis of real-time intelligence become paramount. Analysts can draw critical insights from gathering intelligence data based on topics and focusing on specific social media accounts -- in this situation, accounts in Telegram and VK.
Within the DigitalStakeout platform, analysts can use the following methods to create focused feeds to track the situation:
Use Keyword Monitor to track topical keywords like #RussiaIsCollapsing or #RussiaCivilWar across the whole public social media spectrum. Leverage the Chatter tool to perform on-demand searches of what's trending.
Create a regional geo-fence with a Location Monitor to discover new geo-tagged and geo-inferred information about Rostov, Vorozen, and Moscow. Leverage the Locus tool to perform on-demand searches of location-based data.
Focus on targeted sources and zero in on critical real-time updates with Profile Tracker to gather information from highly-followed Telegram accounts as:
(Pro Russia/ FSB ) Intel Slava Z at https://t.me/s/intelslava
(Wagner) Reverse Side of the Medal at https://t.me/s/rsotmdivision
State-owned news agency Russian TASS at https://t.me/s/tass_agency
Russian news channel RT on at https://vk.com/rt_russian
Caution About Misinformation
As developments continue to unfold, the situation in Russia is evolving rapidly. Whether we are witnessing a true insurrection is undetermined. However, amid the rapid dissemination of information and misinformation on social media, it's critical to approach everything cautiously. Verifying facts is a challenge in this tense and rapidly changing environment. Be diligent in your analysis and correlate intelligence from established sources to confirm ground truth.