Hundreds of mourners gathered in Moscow to mourn the death of Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Prigozhin, who led a mutiny against Russia's military, was killed last week after a jet crashed outside Moscow.
The public mourning of Prigozhin shows how his popularity endures even after clashing with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In the aftermath of Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin's death in a plane crash, hundreds of Russian mourners gathered at a makeshift memorial in Moscow to pay their respects to the founder of the paramilitary organization, according to the New York Times.
Heartbroken grievers praised Prigozhin, with one person comparing the 62-year-old Russian billionaire tycoon — who staged a short-lived mutiny against Russia's military two months ago — to the likes of Soviet leaders Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin.
The public mourning of Prigozhin near Moscow's Red Square shows how the mercenary chief's popularity hasn't waned, even after he clashed with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who described Wagner's armed rebellion in June as a "betrayal."
A mourner named Alyona told the Times that Prigozhin was feared.
"That alone is worth respecting. He didn't just make people fear him, he created a system that no one else had, did something that no one else had done," she said.
Alyona added, "In our history, there was only one Lenin, one Stalin, and one Prigozhin."
Another mourner who paid tribute, a 23-year-old student only identified as Sergei, told the Times that Prigozhin won his respect for the "simple fact that he went against this system."
Even some Wagner fighters appeared at the makeshift memorial to pay their respects to Prigozhin.
Prigozhin and nine others were killed last week when a Wagner-linked private jet crashed outside of Moscow. Preliminary information from the US intelligence community suggests the plane crashed as the result of an intentional explosion.
The Kremlin has denied allegations that it had anything to do with the crash.
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