Too Close to Prigozhin? Russian General Sergey Surovikin Under Speculation

news 01-Jul-2023 Europe

Too Close to Prigozhin?

His whereabouts have been a recurring question for days. Russian Deputy Chief of General Staff, Sergei Surovikin, is at the center of speculation, allegedly arrested after the Wagner revolt. Who is this man?

On the evening when the Wagner revolt against the Russian army leadership began, Army General Sergey Surovikin addressed the Wagner troops, saying, "I urge you to stop. The enemy is eagerly waiting for our country's internal situation to worsen. It is impossible to play into the hands of the enemy during this difficult time for the country."

Surovikin appeared exhausted during this message, and some observers even speculated that he spoke under duress. Doubts about Surovikin's loyalty to President Vladimir Putin quickly arose. A few days later, the "New York Times" reported that Surovikin had prior knowledge of Wagner Chief Yevgeny Prigozhin's plans.

Could he have been a supporter of the uprising? Reports emerged suggesting that he had been arrested and possibly interrogated. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov declined to comment and recommended that questioners contact the relevant Ministry of Defense.

Highly Regarded within the Leadership for a Long Time Surovikin had long enjoyed Putin's favor. From October of last year until January, he even served as the commander of Russian troops in Ukraine. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu entrusted him with the task of coordinating and aligning all units involved in the so-called military special operation in Ukraine.

Ultranationalist ideologists like oligarch Konstantin Malofeev initially cheered as Surovikin unleashed wave after wave of attacks on Ukraine's energy infrastructure. The oligarch exclaimed, "Finally, we see what could have happened in the first days of the war." He dismissed the previous warfare as "a bloody child's play in a limited space" and explained that, for some reason, the Russian army had appeared to be more focused on Ukraine's infrastructure than its own.

A Reputation Earned in Syria

Surovikin's reputation preceded him as someone tough and brutal. He had previously commanded Russian troops in Syria and was allegedly involved in the bombardment of Aleppo, earning him the nickname "General Armageddon" in Russia.

However, doubts about his military capabilities emerged last year. Before being appointed as commander of Russian troops in Ukraine, he was in charge of Russian forces in the south of Ukraine and was responsible for the withdrawal from parts of the annexed region of Kherson.

At that time, government-critical military expert Yuri Fyodorov commented that Surovikin had "no special military talents" and differed from other generals "only in terms of heightened brutality." The Russian army had "no successes" in the southern region; in fact, the opposite was true. The troops suffered a "serious defeat" in Kherson.

Unwavering Ties to Prigozhin

His dismissal at the beginning of the year as Deputy Chief of General Staff may not have pleased Surovikin. However, he continued to have an advocate in Prigozhin, who insisted on working with Surovikin even when the Wagner troops were asked to subordinate themselves to the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Prigozhin described Surovikin as an "intelligent, educated, and experienced army leader," and it was precisely because of this that they had "demonstrated a high level of efficiency and success" in their collaboration.

Related Post

Polular post