Two prominent supporters of Vladimir Putin have been accused of calling the Russian president "Satan" and a "dwarf" in a leaked phone conversation that has erupted into a full-blown scandal.
The 35-minute phone call, shared by Ukraine's Channel Five, allegedly features Russian oligarch and former senator Farkhad Akhmedov and prominent Moscow music producer Iosif Prigozhin delving into a profanity-laced tirade against Putin and his inner circle.
The Russian government has "fucked us, our children, their future, their destiny," Akhmedov allegedly said in the leaked call, referring to the Kremlin's handling of the war in Ukraine , according to Meduza . "He's Satan," he goes on to say of Putin in the phone call, which reportedly took place on Jan. 24.
A significant portion of the conversation was dedicated to criticizing the Russian president and other members of the Kremlin elite for allegedly using Defense Minister Sergei Soigu as a scapegoat for Moscow's failures in the war on Ukraine.
They call Shoigu "a dumbass, behind his back, of course," Prigozhin allegedly complained on the call. "They are the dumbest people. My opinion is simple: they act like kings, like fucking gods. They are finished creatures … I can't say anything good about them. They are scumbags, damn it."
"These are cockroaches, damn it, in a glass, they are already nibbling each other," Akhmedov added. "They will destroy one, then they will devour each other, they will seize the throat there. They will drown each other."
Though Prigozhin initially claimed the recording was fake in a video message—suggesting it was the product of "neural networks" that "allow you to make miracles"—he later admitted that at least some of the phases heard on the tape were real.
"The recording is a symbiosis of spoken phrases, and those that were generated and never uttered," Prigozhin said this in a seemingly panicked interview with the St. Petersburg edition of Fontanka, adding that he doesn't remember the conversation but that the "this whole story is extremely unpleasant" for him.
An unnamed source in Russia's FSB security agency has allegedly confirmed the authenticity of the tape, telling iStories that "the FSB leadership recently held a meeting and instructed subordinates to take action" on the scandal.
Akhmedov, a billionaire, was sanctioned by the European Union in April last year as a close ally to the Kremlin and a "leading businessperson involved in economic sectors providing a substantial source of revenue to the government of the Russian Federation." He's famously desperate to get his $460 million yacht back after it was frozen in a German port, even attempting to distance himself from Putin to meet that end.
Prigozhin, the famous music producer, has been a longtime supporter of the Russian president—at least publicly. "I’m in shock now and don’t understand how to live with this shit," he said in his interview with Fontanka after the scandal broke out, in which he described Putin as a "planetary figure."
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