Rosenberg: Putin’s military crackdown follows Prigozhin’s incitement

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By Creative Media News

  • Five senior Russian defense officials detained in a month
  • Top official, Lt Gen Vadim Shamarin, arrested for bribery
  • Kremlin’s purge targets corruption, affects military leadership

It is intriguing when a senior defence official is apprehended in Russia

Five senior defence figures were restrained in less than a month, which is considered a purge. 

Lt Gen Vadim Shamarin, the deputy chief of the army’s general staff and director of the Main Communications Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces, is the most recent senior military official imprisoned. 

He has been incarcerated in pre-trial detention for two months after being accused of large-scale bribery. 

Vladimir Verteletsky, a senior procurement official in the defence ministry, was also apprehended hours later. According to Russia’s Investigative Committee, he was accused of abusing authority in executing a state defence order. 

Lt-Gen Yuri Kuznetsov, the chief of the personnel directorate of the Russian defence ministry, and Deputy Defence Minister Timur Ivanov are among the Russian defence figures who have been demoted due to corruption charges within the past month. 

Additionally, modifications have been made at the highest levels of the ministry. Andrei Belousov, a technocrat economist, succeeded Sergei Shoigu, his defence minister of twelve years, in a recent reorganization. The action was widely perceived as an effort by the Kremlin to address corruption and increase the efficacy of the Russian military. 

Mr. Shoigu was appointed secretary of the Russian Security Council. Valery Gerasimov, Vadim Shamarin’s superior, currently serves as the director of the general staff of the Russian Armed Forces. 

However, the military leadership that has been overseeing Russia’s conflict in Ukraine is adversely affected by the high-profile arrests in the ministry and the general staff. 

The irony of the situation is immense. 

Do you recall Yevgeny Prigozhin? The Wagner mercenary group’s leader publicly criticized military commanders a year ago. He accused senior figures of corruption and incompetence and held them accountable for the battlefield disasters in Ukraine. Sergei Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov were the primary targets of Prigozhin’s ire. He had demanded that they be replaced. 

The highly publicized dispute escalated into a 24-hour mutiny. Wagner fighters seized critical military installations in southern Russia and commenced a march toward Moscow. It was an unprecedented challenge to the Kremlin’s authority. However, its primary objective was eliminating the nation’s most senior military officers. 

It was unsuccessful. President Putin supported his military commanders. Mr. Shoigu and Gen. Gerasimov defeated Prigozhin in their dominance struggle. Then, shortly after that, he was killed in a plane accident.

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However, a Kremlin-sponsored purge of the army commenced one year later. 

This reveals something about Vladimir Putin. The Russian president is particularly averse to acting under duress. Order him to terminate a minister or an army general, and it is unlikely that he will consent to the action immediately. He will not be instructed on what to do. 

That does not imply that Mr. Putin will refrain from taking action at his discretion. 

What is unclear is the extent of this purge of the Russian military, precisely, the number of additional senior figures who will be jailed. 

Maj-Gen Ivan Popov, the former commander of Russia’s 58th army, was apprehended this week on suspicion of engaging in large-scale fraud. In the previous year, he disclosed that he had been terminated due to his complaints to military commanders regarding the challenges faced on the Ukrainian front line. 

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