Prigozhin watch: Critic sacked, “Armageddon” at rest
A Russian general has said he was sacked for speaking frankly to his superiors about the army’s failings on the front lines in Ukraine.
In a voice message shared publicly by a Russian lawmaker, Major Gen. Ivan Popov accused top brass of “viciously beheading the army” by leaving it unprepared for Ukrainian counteroffensives. Popov had been commanding Russian forces in Southern Ukraine.
That sounds a lot like the grievances that motivated Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin to lead his mutiny a few weeks ago. Since then, Putin has been unexpectedly soft on the “traitor” Prigozhin — possibly over fears that the Wagner boss’s populist anti-brass rants are uncomfortably popular among officers and enlisted men.
The upshot is that we don’t know how many other Popovs there are out there — but neither does Putin.
Meanwhile, Armageddon “rests” Gen. Sergei Surovikin, the infamously brutal, Blofeld-esque Russian general who hasn’t been seen since his friend Prigozhin led that mutiny, is currently “not reachable”, according to a senior Russian MP. The lawmaker says that Surovikin is “resting.”
Surovikin, known as “General Armageddon,” commanded Russian forces in Syria as well as Ukraine. He hasn’t been seen publicly since the New York Times wrote that he had known beforehand of Prigozhin’s plans to lead an uprising.
Careful as Putin has been with Prigozhin, he has made it clear that he’s sticking with his top generals. In recent days both Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Ukraine war commander Valery Gerasimov have appeared in public, shown hard at work running the war effort.
Meanwhile, Surovikin is “resting” and Popov is looking for work.