In 36 hours this weekend, a private Russian mercenary army denounced the country’s leadership, caravaned toward Moscow in an act of open revolt, then agreed to a truce that ended the hostilities almost as quickly as they began.
“This coup could have been an email,” one Twitter user quipped. And while it was shorter than a test cricket match, the mutiny will leave a long-term stain on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rule, exposing him to threats he had never faced before in more than 20 years leading Russia.
The tl;dr (too long; didn’t revolt)
- On Friday, the businessman who leads the Wagner private army for Russia, Yevgeny Prigozhin, dramatically escalated his long-simmering feud with the country’s military leadership, posting messages on Telegram that accused Russia’s defense minister of bombing his troops. He announced a “march for justice” against the Russian defense system.
- As Prigozhin and his Wagner army marched toward Moscow, Russia charged him with mounting an open rebellion. Bizarre scenes of everyday life comingling with an armed revolt in the major Russian city of Rostov-on-Don spread across social media.
- Leaders in Ukraine and the West, unsure of which thug (Prigozhin or Putin) they’d rather have in control of Russia’s stacked nuclear arsenal, looked on and grabbed the popcorn.
- After being on the cusp of civil war on Saturday, the two sides agreed to a truce that would send Prigozhin to Belarus in exchange for amnesty, and Wagner troops would stand down from their march on Moscow.
Who is Prigozhin and what is the Wagner Group? Nicknamed “Putin’s chef,” Prigozhin is a one-time catering tycoon who founded the Wagner Group, a network of soldiers-for-hire that Russia has used to expand its influence in places like Syria and Africa through ruthless tactics. In the current war, Russia has relied heavily on Wagner’s mercenaries to fight against Ukraine.
You will find no shortage of essays discussing what the Wagner uprising means for Russia and the rest of the world, but the main theme is that Prigozhin exposed glaring weaknesses in Putin’s authority that other domestic opponents could exploit (not necessarily to the benefit of the West). But here’s one alternate take.
Stillwater County DES
Train cars with hazardous materials plunged into a Montana river. Because US infrastructure can’t get back-to-back wins, a bridge collapsed over the Yellowstone River on Saturday morning, causing at least seven train cars carrying hazardous materials to fall into the water. Authorities said the worst-case scenario (sodium hydro sulfate leaking into the river) was averted but that cars carrying asphalt and molten sulfur had been “compromised,” so they’re testing the water quality. The collapse also severed the main fiber-optic cable that runs through Montana, hampering internet access for Global Net customers.
NYC, San Francisco headline a big day of Pride parades. Revelers flocked to the West Village for New York’s annual Pride parade, which occurs on the last Sunday in June to mark the anniversary of the 1969 uprising at the Stonewall gay bar. San Francisco, Chicago, Denver, and other major North American cities also held Pride parades yesterday that focused on affirming trans rights at a time when states are pushing to restrict gender-affirming care for children. A letter from more than 50 Pride organizations globally stated, “We are under threat.”
Fatal accidents at airport, amusement park. A ramp worker at San Antonio International Airport died after being “ingested” into a Delta plane engine that was taxiing toward the gate, the National Transportation Safety Board said. A similar incident involving a ground crew worker in Montgomery, Alabama, happened at the end of last year. Over in Sweden, one person was killed and nine injured when a roller coaster train car derailed in Stockholm. The park will be closed for seven days to allow for an investigation.
Is having a fruit on your license plate the new Sports Illustrated cover jinx?
Florida (oranges) and Georgia (peaches) are both experiencing the lowest production of their big-name fruits in decades, which could drive prices for products like OJ even higher than they are now.
Let’s start in Florida, where the citrus harvest this season could be its smallest since 1928: 18 million boxes, compared to a peak of 250 million boxes in the ’90s and early 2000s, according to the Washington Post. Nasty weather in the fall and winter compounded longer-term challenges like greening disease to devastate Florida’s famous citrus groves. And if you do get your hands on fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice, don’t expect it to be the religious experience you’re used to: Orange trees affected with greening disease (which is virtually all of them) produce more bitter fruit.
Moving to the other side of the Florida–Georgia line…Justin Bieber will have to get his peaches from somewhere else because Georgia peaches have been almost completely wiped out this year. Warm winter weather followed by a cold snap in March have destroyed 95% of the crop, which farmers say is the worst harvest since 1955.
Bottom line: Florida is far more dependent on its citrus harvest than Georgia is on its peaches. In Florida, the citrus industry is worth $6.9 billion, per the University of Florida, while peaches are mostly symbolic for Georgia: They brought in $34 million in revenue last year, compared to $1.4 billion for cotton.
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SCOTUS in the spotlight: The Supreme Court will wrap up its term this week with major rulings on student loan debt forgiveness, race-conscious college admissions policies, and LGBTQ rights.
The first half of the year concludes: Your company’s accounting department will be hella busy tying up all the loose ends as H1 of 2023 winds down on Friday, June 30.
Coming to screens: a new season of The Bachelorette today, The Witcher Season 3 on Thursday, and the final Indiana Jones movie of Harrison Ford’s career on Friday.
- LSU and Florida will duke it out for the College World Series in a winner-take-all game tonight.
- The highly anticipated International African American Museum opens in Charleston, SC, tomorrow.
- The Tour de France starts on Saturday.
- Hollywood actors could strike if a labor deal isn’t reached by Saturday.
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Stat: Everyone and their dog are running for mayor of Toronto—literally. A record 102 names are on the ballot for Toronto’s mayoral election today, including a man running on behalf of his dog, Molly. What’s going on in Toronto? The previous mayor of North America’s fourth-largest city resigned following a scandal, leaving a leadership void to tackle Toronto’s mounting problems, including skyrocketing housing prices and quality-of-life issues. And getting your name on the Toronto mayoral ballot is easy: All you need to do is pay $189 and get 25 signatures.
Quote: “I was invited earlier this month to ride the titanic submarine, I said no. Kind of scary that I could have been on it”
MrBeast, the YouTuber known for his viral stunts, revealed on Twitter that he was offered a trip on the doomed Titan submersible voyage that killed five people last week. Further evidence that it’s OK to just say, “No, I’m too busy.”
Read: The case against travel. (New Yorker)
- A tweet by NBA reporter Shams Charania during the draft is coming under scrutiny because it moved betting lines, and he has a partnership with FanDuel.
- Hollywood power broker Arnon Milchan testified in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial.
- Human remains were found in the California wilderness area where British actor Julian Sands went missing in January.
- Headline of the year? “Harvard professor who studies honesty accused of falsifying data in studies.”
- Scooter, a Chinese crested, was crowned the world’s ugliest dog in California.
- Barbiecore (e.g., hot pink) is the latest design trend ahead of the movie’s release in July.
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