Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan to travel to China demonstrates a confidence that his authority is stronger than ever after the death of mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, said investor and long-time Russia watcher Bill Browder.

Prigozhin, Putin’s long-time ally and the head of the Wagner Group, "was clearly a threat to his role and his power, and somebody who made him very weak and humiliated,” Browder said Tuesday in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s "Balance of Power.”

The Russian president’s visit to China for the Belt and Road forum in October is "all part of his expression of pride and power,” added Browder, the chief executive officer and co-founder of Hermitage Capital Management and a staunch Putin critic.