In 2006, President George Bush and his wife Laura attended a dinner with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, where Bush unknowingly met Yevgeny Prigozhin. Prigozhin, also known as “Putin’s chef,” was in charge of catering for Putin. Recently, Bush revealed that he was surprised to discover that Prigozhin had served him dinner more than 17 years ago. Speaking at the Yalta European Strategy conference, Bush expressed his shock at the news of Prigozhin’s death in a plane crash. He recalled seeing a picture of Prigozhin serving him food at a G8 summit in St. Petersburg. Although Bush did not remember meeting Prigozhin in person, he remarked that he survived the encounter. When asked about the consequences of the Ukraine war for Putin, Bush emphasized that it is up to the Russian people to decide.
The photo dated July 14, 2006, captures the moment when Bush and his wife met Prigozhin during a dinner with Putin at the Constantine Palace in St. Petersburg. During that time, both the US and Russia were discussing increasing trade and the potential inclusion of Russia in the World Trade Organization. Prigozhin, who was known as “Putin’s chef,” ran a catering company called Concord and provided catering services for state banquets. However, he expanded his business network to include a troll factory and the military company Wagner Group. Wagner Group was deployed to the Ukraine War, and Prigozhin publicly criticized Russia’s top military leaders and complained about heavy losses. In June, he staged an armed rebellion against the Kremlin but quickly turned around and went into exile after striking a deal with Putin. Weeks later, Prigozhin was reported to have died in a plane crash.