It has been claimed by a famous journalist in Russia and various media sites that Russian General Sergei Surovikin has been removed from his position as head of the country’s aerospace forces. At one point in time, Surovikin was the leader of Moscow’s military effort in Ukraine.
On Tuesday, the well-connected former editor-in-chief of the radio station Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow), Alexei Venediktov, stated on his Telegram channel that Surovikin had been fired, citing an official decree as his source. According to Venediktov, Surovikin will maintain his position at the Ministry of Defense following his demotion.
There was no official confirmation of Venediktov’s story; nevertheless, the Russian-language RBC media outlet also reported later on Tuesday that Surovikin has been fired, citing its sources as its evidence.
“Army General Sergei Surovikin has been relieved of his post in connection with the transition to another job and is at the disposal of (the Ministry of Defence),” RBC said.
According to the information provided by one of the paper’s sources, Surovikin “is currently on short-term leave.”
Since the brief uprising against the Russian military establishment in June led by the Wagner mercenary group and Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian general has not been seen in public since then.
The Wagner chief’s power struggle with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov involved Surovikin, who was believed to be one of Prigozhin’s most important allies in the regular Russian army. Surovikin also served as a key ally for Surovikin.
During the uprising, Surovikin appeared in a video in which he pleaded with Prigozhin to end the uprising. Nevertheless, after the Wagner incident, Russian and international press reports stated that Surovikin was being investigated for possible cooperation in the insurrection. This information came after the Wagner incident.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), which has its headquarters in Washington, DC, announced on Tuesday that Russian military bloggers have asserted that the most recent information regarding Surovikin’s fate is neither fresh nor unexpected.
According to ISW, the bloggers stated that Russian authorities took Surovikin from authority immediately after Prigozhin’s insurrection on June 24. “Surovikin’s alleged dismissal is not new and does not change anything because Russian authorities removed Surovikin from power immediately after Prigozhin’s rebellion,” the bloggers added.
During Russia’s military engagement in Syria’s civil war, Surovikin got the nickname “General Armageddon,” which translates to “Armageddon the General.”
In October, he was given command of Russian military operations in Ukraine; however, in January, Gerasimov was promoted to take over those responsibilities, and Surovikin was given the position of Gerasimov’s deputy.