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Russian General Surovikin appointed to CIS Council of Defence Ministers – ISW

Monday, 11 September 2023, 05:15
Russian General Surovikin appointed to CIS Council of Defence Ministers – ISW
SERGEI SUROVIKIN, VLADIMIR PUTIN. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Sergei Surovikin, a former Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) commander who was fired over his links to Wagner, has been appointed as head of the Coordinating Committee for Air Defence under the Council of Defence Ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Source: Institute for the Study of War (ISW)

Details: According to military experts, little-known local Russian media reported on 10 September that the CIS Council of Defence Ministers had unanimously voted to appoint Surovikin as head of the air defence committee. From now on, Surovikin will allegedly be responsible for the supervision and functioning of the unified air defence system of the CIS member states.

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Military analysts noted that well-known and Kremlin-linked Russian media did not report on Surovikin's new appointment and did not mention him at all after Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed him from his post as VKS commander on 23 August.

Background: 

  • Surovikin took over the command of the Russian Aerospace Forces on 31 October 2017. From October 2022 to January 2023, he commanded the joint group of Russian troops in Ukraine, and from 11 January 2023, he served as deputy commander.
  • During the Wagner PMC mutiny on 23-24 June 2023, Surovikin recorded a video message to the mercenaries, calling for them to return to their places of deployment. After that, he did not appear in the public eye.
  • On 13 July, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources, that the Russian secret service had detained at least 12 high-ranking military officers, including General Sergei Surovikin, in connection with Yevgeny Prigozhin’s mutiny, and that 15 officers had been suspended or fired.
  • On 22 August, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin dismissed General Sergei Surovikin as commander of Russia’s Aerospace Forces. Media reports say Surovikin was detained by Russian counterintelligence in connection with the mutiny led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was known to be linked to the general.
  • On 5 September, it was reported that Sergei Surovikin had been released several days after the death of Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin in a plane crash.
  • On 6 September, a page containing information about General Sergei Surovikin, the former commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces, disappeared from the Russian Defence Ministry’s website.

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