Amidst allegedly losing two more Russian generals the past week, Russia’s Vladimir Putin decided that it was time to purge his top military generals by dismissing five more generals. This comes as Russia continues to struggle in advancing and capturing areas in eastern Ukraine, specifically in Severodonetsk, where it has failed to capture the entire city.
According to the Russian state-sponsored news outlet Pravda, Putin dismissed five generals and one police colonel on May 30. According to the report, Putin dismissed the following officers:
- Major General Vasily Kukushkin, Head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Department for the Vladimir Region;
- Major General Alexander Laas, Deputy Head of the Main Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Altai Territory;
- Major General Andrey Lipilin, Head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Department for the Yaroslavl Region;
- Major General Alexander Udovenko, Head of the Operations Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs;
- Major General Yuri Instrankin, Deputy Head of the Department for Logistics and Medical Support of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
- Police Colonel Emil Musin, First Deputy Head of the Forensic Expert Center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs
Additionally, Putin had also dismissed another general before this report named Lieutenant-General Valery Balan. He was the Deputy Director of the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN). These reports were confirmed by the newspaper to be authentic as they had connections within the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The ranks of the men being relieved are revealing. As Major Generals, they would be in charge of the allocation of all resources in their districts as well as procuring these supplies and resources from contractors. It’s a license to steal.
The Major General contracts for the delivery of 1,000 set of body armor that is quoted at $300 per unit. He approveds the contract for $500 per unit, pay the supplier and is given a kickback of $200,000 that he divides among the cronies serving on his staff and himself. When the body armor kits arrive, a certain percentage will be reported as damaged or lost in training. These are units stolen by lower-level supply officers to pad their own pockets. They may also remove the armored plates and sell them off for a handsome profit, replacing them with simple steel plates or nothing at all. Their reasoning is simple, the pay is low, there is an opportunity to steal and Russia is not going to be at a war anytime soon. The gear sits in storage for years and years, with the remains getting picked away at by others to make a quick buck on eBay when they need to. Then the war in Ukraine breaks out and the gear is issued to the troops. Those thousand sets of body armor are now about 500 and they are missing their armored plate. They are basically useless to the troops.
The Ministry of the Interior is also responsible for arming and equipping the Russian National Guard of some 400,000 troops. This is Putin’s personal army under his direct command. We suspect that when they were mobilized by the Kremlin their warehouses were also found to be full of junk and empty boxes.
The interior ministry is also responsible for equipping and training the militia in their districts to be called up in times of conflict. We think this is the key to mass firings. Russia has been trying to replace its manpower losses by calling up militia units and we have seen pictures of these men armed with antiquated equipment left over from WWII, like bolt action rifles and some are without uniforms to wear.
They are also in charge of allocating medical resources in their districts in times of emergency. Russia is currently experiencing an acute shortage of medical personnel, supplies, and equipment. It’s so bad that they are literally commandeering civilian medical personnel and forcing them to go to Ukraine to treat the wounded. They are arriving to find hospitals full of patients but lacking the equipment and supplies to treat them. Again, much of this would have been stolen or misappropriated by its handlers.
We note that two of the Major Generals fired were the heads of Operations and the head of Logistics and Medical Support.
Connecting previous reports of the Russian forces struggling with supply issues on the frontlines and a recent report of a low supply of medical professionals on the battlefield and in major Russian cities, the dismissals of the generals give us another clue about why it happened. None of them were charged criminally, and the official reason for their dismissal was given as a “standard employee reshuffle procedure.”
The graft and corruption in the Russian government include virtually everyone, the Ministry of Justice brings very few charges for corruption against public officials because they are able to get on the stand and implicate everyone above them in most of these schemes.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoiguis paid about $120,000 a year on the books, but he owns an $18 million dollar mansion that was given to him by his daughter and is held in the name of his wife’s sister.
In previous reports, Putin had also sacked two generals some four weeks ago, dismissals of which were also related to Russia’s poor performance in Ukraine. Lt. Serhiy Kisel, who commanded the elite 1st Guards Tank Army, was suspended as he failed to capture Kharkiv. More so, Vice Admiral Igor Osipov, who reportedly commanded Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, was sacked because the fleet’s flagship, the cruiser Moskva had been sunk by a Neptune anti-ship missile in a humiliating blow to Russian pride and prestige.
Chief of the General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, who was previously rumored to be wounded in Ukrainian artillery strikes early in May, is believed to still be holding his current post but is slowly losing the confidence of Putin. Putin is also accused of micromanaging the war, making low-level tactical decisions for its forces in Ukraine which might explain why they are not gaining any significant success in the east aside from supply and morale issues plaguing the Russian troops.
It has also been rumored that Putin’s pick for the commander in its invasion of Ukraine, General Alexander Dvornikov, has not been spotted in recent weeks, which leads many to think that the general may have been removed from his post.
These reports of Russian generals being fired come after multiple generals have been killed in Ukraine over the past few weeks. A few days ago, SOFREP reported on Major General Roman Kutuzov and Lieutenant General Roman Berdnikov apparent deaths in Ukraine, with Kutuzov being killed in a battle near the village of Nikolaevka in Donbas. Not much was said about Berdnikov’s death, however.
With its generals dead and others being purged out of military service, and over 30,000 Russian troops also dead, it’s becoming clear why their military has not been performing well in Ukraine. The Russian military is in deep trouble, riddled with corruption, manufacturing issues, morale issues, and logistics issues that are all symptomatic of far larger problems within the Russian government, and it all points to one person – Putin.