Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had suggested to Group Wagner fighters that he replace Prigozhin with a senior mercenary known as “Sedoi”, which means “grey hair” in Russian, Reuters reported.

He is Andrei Troshev, nicknamed “Sedoi”, a senior Wagner commander, according to European Union and French official documents.

His associates include Dmitry Utkin, a former GRU military intelligence special forces officer and founder of Wagner, the EU said.

The Kommersant newspaper cites Putin as saying that “Sedoi” was Wagner’s real commander.
The EU described him as Wagner’s “executive director” in its 2021 document, which also says he was a founding member of the paramilitary group.

“Andrei Troshev is directly involved in Wagner’s military operations in Syria,” the EU said, adding that “he was particularly involved in the Deir al-Zor region. As such, it provides a decisive contribution to Bashar al-Assad’s war effort and therefore supports and benefits from the Syrian regime.”

Britain also described him in its Syria sanctions documents as Wagner’s chief executive.
In the same report, Reuters reports that Troshev was born in Leningrad, the Soviet-era name for St. Petersburg, on April 5, 1962, according to Russian sources. Western sanctions documents list his date of birth as April 5, 1953. It is not clear why.

He fought in Afghanistan during the Soviet Union’s ten-year war there. After the fall of the Soviet Union, he served in the North Caucasus with the Russian army and then in the SOBR, a rapid reaction special forces unit of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs. He was a commander in the unit.

For his service in Afghanistan, Troshev was twice awarded the Order of the Red Star. He was awarded Russia’s highest medal, the Hero of Russia, in 2016 for the invasion of Palmyra in Syria against Islamic State militants.

A photo in Russian media in 2017 shows Putin with Troshev, Utkin and others. Both men are wearing multiple medals, and the photo is believed to be from 2016.

In the photo posted on social media, Troshev is right next to Putin, on the right.