He was buried in an expensive coffin in a closed ceremony on Tuesday. By the next day, supporters were coming to the graveside to pay their respects.
ST. PETERSBURG — On Wednesday morning, some 25 people were waiting to enter the Porokhovskoye cemetery in St. Petersburg to pay their respects to the founder of Wagner Group Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was buried here the day before amid heavy security as authorities tried to avoid a mass turnout of supporters .
Many security officials were still present at the cemetery Wednesday morning to screen visitors, and several buses of the National Guard were parked nearby. A number of law enforcement officers also spent the night near the cemetery.
A sign in the cemetery directed visitors to Prigozhin's grave, where dozens of wreaths were placed at the headstone from friends and relatives of the deceased.
State Duma member of Parliament Vasily Vlasov came to the cemetery on Wednesday. The day before, he had been spotted standing outside the Serafimovskoye cemetery. On Tuesday morning, Russian telegram channels had incorrectly reported that Prigozhin would be buried there. Instead, the closed ceremony took place at the Porokhovskoye cemetery, and Prigozhin's press service released information only after the funeral had concluded.
This is the first time in my long, happy life that the cemetery has seen anything like this.
Cemetery administrator Igor Nazarov said Prigozhin’s mother had ordered the grave to be dug a day before the funeral at the cost of 29,000 rubles ($300). The owner of the Wagner PMC was buried in a closed coffin.
“Everything went quietly, calmly, without fuss,” Nazarov said. “There weren’t many people in attendance for the actual ceremony, though now things are far busier. There were no fireworks. There were no soldiers either. It was a regular funeral, just with some very special aspects. There were lots of flags, the grave was lined with velvet, the coffin was expensive, ordinary graves are not like that.”
A close up photograph of Prigozhin's grave.
According to the administrator, security forces began arriving at the cemetery immediately after Prigozhin’s press service announced the funeral. “[They came] right here ( to the administration building). They threatened to shoot me. They said: ‘who are you, get out of here!’”
“I myself am as surprised as anyone else,” Nazarov goes on. “This is a very quiet, peaceful family cemetery. I've been working here since the 1990s. This is the first time in my long, happy life that the cemetery has seen anything like this. I don't think this hype will continue. The Wagnerites will come, pay their respects, they’ll drink, but they won’t shoot from their machine guns, will they? There is a police station two stops away. In the 1990s people worse than tramps were buried here. This one is at the state level.”Prigozhin's plane crashed on August 23 in the Tver region. Along with him, the founder of the Wagner PMC Dmitry Utkin, Prigozhin’s deputy Valery Chekalov, four PMC soldiers, as well as two pilots and a flight attendant died. Chekalov was buried the day before Prigozhin at the Northern Cemetery in St. Petersburg. Utkin is likely to be buried near Moscow at the Mytishchi Memorial Cemetery, writes MSK1.Ru.