Russian General says He was Fired After Criticizing Military Leadership

July 13, 2023

Russian Major General Ivan Popov said Thursday he had been fired after complaining about top military leadership and inadequate support for the soldiers on the front lines. 

In a Telegram voice note, Popov, commander of Russia’s 58th Combined Arms Army which has been deployed in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, said he had been relieved of duty after “a difficult situation emerged with senior leadership, where I had to either shut up and make peace with that, and tell them what they wanted to hear, or say things as they are.”

Popov further said he’s been relieved of duty after he raised questions about “the lack of counter-battery combat, the absence of artillery reconnaissance stations and the mass deaths and injuries of our brothers from enemy artillery.”

He also accused Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who “signed the order and got rid of me,” of acting “treasonously.” 

Andrey Turchak, the First Deputy Speaker of Russia’s Federation Council, said Popov’s appeal was not meant for the public, but was only intended to be “private chats of commanders and soldiers of the 58th Army.”

Turchak said a member of parliament, Andrey Gurulev, had “somehow” received the voice note and “made a political show of it.”

The Telegram post from Popov comes after last month’s uprising against Russia’s military brass by the mercenary Wagner group. Minister Shoigu was specifically targeted by Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin in that two-day revolt.

Meanwhile, another Russian commander, Gen. Sergey Surovikin,  has not been seen in public since the June 23 Wagner revolt, of which Surovikin is reported to have had advance notice. According to documents obtained by CNN, Surovikin appears to have been a secret member of Wagner.

The Wall Street Journal on Thursday reported that Surovikin was among “several high-ranking military officers” who have been “detained” in the wake of the Wagner uprising.

On Wednesday a Russian lawmaker said that Surovikin was “resting.”

PHOTO: Ivan Popov in 2022

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