According to recent reports from The Moscow Times’ Russian service, an unexpected event has unfolded in the heart of Russia’s military leadership. Russian General Sergei Surovikin has been arrested, as per two anonymous sources from the Defense Ministry.
The Defense Ministry, however, remains tight-lipped about this alleged arrest. Surovikin’s public absence since Saturday further fuels speculations.
This sudden development comes after the Wagner Group’s head, Yevgeny Prigozhin, initiated an armed uprising against Russia’s military hierarchy. One source suggests that the situation was not favorable for Surovikin following this rebellion.
The arrest, according to the second source, took place amidst the chaos created by Prigozhin, hinting at Surovikin’s potential allegiance to Prigozhin during the revolt.
The Mystery of Sergei Surovikin’s Current Location
Information regarding Surovikin’s current location is scarce. The defense ministry sources declined to comment on it. Pro-war military blogger Vladimir Romanov, however, claimed that Surovikin was detained Sunday, following Prigozhin’s failed mutiny, and is currently confined in Moscow’s Lefortovo detention center.
Family out of Touch, Guards Unresponsive
Alexei Venediktov, the editor-in-chief of the now-defunct Ekho Moskvy radio station, voiced concern over Surovikin’s lack of contact with his family for three days. Adding to the air of mystery, his guards have remained unresponsive.
Previous Knowledge and a Political Uproar
Unnamed U.S. officials cited by The New York Times suggested that Surovikin had foreknowledge of Prigozhin’s plan to instigate a rebellion against Russia’s military leadership. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the report as mere speculation and gossip, indicating no immediate reshuffle in the Russian military’s top brass due to Prigozhin’s demands.
Reshuffling and the Aftermath
Surovikin held command over Russia’s forces in Ukraine for a brief period between October 2022 and January 2023, before Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov replaced him.
This followed the most significant security crisis Russia faced in decades due to Wagner’s uprising. The crisis subsided when Prigozhin agreed to step down in exchange for immunity in exile, a deal mediated by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.