War legend nicknamed Grey Hair favoured by Putin to take over Wagner Group

A battle-hardened military veteran nicknamed 'Grey Hair' is favoured to succeed ousted Yevgeny Prigozhin as the leader of the Wagner Group as Vladimir Putin cracks down on dissent.

Wagner staged a short-lived mutiny led by Prigozhin on June 24, before stopping short of the capital in a bid to avoid spilling Russian blood.

Putin is now trying to publically discredit his former ally, overseeing the release of embarrassing images of him, and now castigating him by naming a commander who goes by his nom de guerre 'Sedoi' – or 'Grey Hair' as the real Wagner boss.

READ MORE: Putin says Wagner group 'does not exist' in furious rant as he snubs top commander

After Prigozhin had challenged Vladimir Putin's authority many expected heads would roll, however he is believed to be still alive and in exile in neighbouring Belarus.

Putin met with the group's leaders just days after the mutiny, and in a chat with Russian newspaper Kommersant, the 70-year-old has now detailed what was discussed at the summit, including snubbing his former pal.

He said a discussion was had around what "possible options for their further service" the Wagner fighters could explore.

The Russian dictator stated that 'Sedoi' was always in command, sticking the boot into power-hungry Prigozhin.

Talking up the soldiers' prospects he reportedly said: "All of them could have gathered in one place and continued to serve."

And in a dig to Prigozhin, he added: "And nothing would have changed for them. They would have been led by the same person who had been their real commander all that time."

Putin said soldiers nodded afirmatively to this comment, further rubbing salt into Prigozhin's wounds.

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'Sedoi' is believed to be Andrei Troshev, a senior Wagner commander and veteran of wars in Afghanistan and Chechnya. He has been photographed in the Kremlin alongside Putin.

The retired Russian colonel, from Leningrad (now St Petersburg), is a founding member and Executive Director of the Wagner Group, according to sanctions documents published by the European Union and France.

Troshev, whom Ukraine hit with sanctions in February, was reportedly the chief of staff of the Wagner Group operations in Syria, which supported the Syrian regime under Bashar al-Assad.

United Kingdom sanctions from June 2022 add that he "was a member of a militia, and has repressed the civilian population in Syria.”

He is also reportedly a former employee of the special rapid response detachment of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Northwestern Federal District.

Grey Hair was awarded two medals for exceptional service to the Soviet Union.

According to Russian media, for service in the operation in Chechnya he was awarded two Orders of Courage and a medal of the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 2nd degree.

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