Former commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces Sergei Surovikin was appointed head of the Coordination Committee on Air Defense Issues under the Council of CIS Defense Ministers. This was reported by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), citing “a number of little-known and local Russian media.”
At the end of August, it became known that Surovikin was fired from the post of commander-in-chief of the Aerospace Forces, which he had held since October 31, 2017. RBC’s interlocutors claimed that the general was relieved of his position “due to a transfer to another job and is at the disposal” of the Ministry of Defense. “He is currently on short leave,” one of the sources said.
Now Surovikin will allegedly be responsible for the supervision and functioning of the joint air defense system of the CIS member states.
“ISW previously assessed that Surovikin’s transition to a leadership position in the CIS is consistent with previous patterns among Russian military leaders of moving disgraced and ineffective commanders to peripheral positions far from Ukraine without completely removing them from the Russian military,” the Institute for the Study of War report said.
The other day it was reported that Surovikin’s biography had disappeared from the website of the Russian Ministry of Defense.
From October 2022 to January 2023, Surovikin was the commander of the Russian group of troops fighting in Ukraine. In January of this year, Valery Gerasimov was appointed to this position, and Surovikin became his deputy. Since 2017, he has commanded a group of Russian troops in Syria. From the same year, according to Dossier, Surovikin was an honorary member of Wagner PMC.
Sergei Surovikin stopped appearing in public after the rebellion of the head of Wagner PMC Yevgeny Prigozhin. The last time he appeared on the video, which was distributed by the Russian Ministry of Defense on the night of June 24. Then he called on the Wagnerites to stop their campaign against Moscow. After that, he stopped appearing at official meetings, and the press secretary of President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, refused to answer a question about Surovikin.
The Bloomberg agency, citing a source, wrote that General Surovikin was interrogated by military prosecutors for several days after the Prigozhin mutiny – they were interested in Surovikin’s connections with Prigozhin. The Russian publication “Important Stories” claimed that Surovikin was interrogated and released.
The New York Times, citing American officials familiar with the intelligence data, claimed that he was aware of Prigozhin’s plans in advance. The sources of the publication did not rule out that if there is strong evidence that Prigozhin was assisted by Surovikin, who is considered one of the competent generals in the West, then Putin will have no choice but to remove Surovikin from command.
On September 5, Surovikin appeared for the first time after the June rebellion in a photo that Ksenia Sobchak published on her Telegram channel. In the picture, the general appeared in civilian clothes: in jeans, a shirt, a cap and dark glasses – next to his wife, against an ivy-covered wall. The location of Surovikin cannot be determined from it.