President of Russia, Vladimir Putin © Photo from kym-cdn.com
Something out of the ordinary happened today, on the 7th of August, in Kremlin. In any case, there haven’t been so many high-ranking power structure officers fired since the times of Stalin. This time, eighteen of the highest officers lost their jobs, including: military, heads of the Ministry of the Interior, Federal Drug Control Service, and the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. The corresponding decrees were signed by the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin.
It is interesting to note that Putin’s press service has kept delicately quiet about the mass firing of officer personnel that took place today. The only sources so far that confirm the aforementioned fact are the following decrees by Vladimir Putin: “Changes in Personnel in the Investigative Committee” and “Changes in Personnel in Federal Public Authorities”, published on Kremlin’s official website.
The list of sacked “siloviki” is more than interesting, in and of itself. It starts with Colonel General Vladimir Rushailo, whose last position is not named in the documents. He is known for being the Minister of Interior in Boris Yeltsin’s administration, and for having led the first Chechen War and later anti-terrorist activities in the Northern Caucasus. This is indirectly confirmed by Major General Vasiliy Fedoruk also being on the list, who was fired from the position of Deputy Commander of Forces responsible for anti-terrorist operations in the Northern Caucasus region. Putin also fired Colonel of Militia Vladimir Didenko, who held the position of Head of the Chief Directorate of Counteraction to Extremism of MOI of the Russian Federation. Apart from those three, many other highest-ranking officers from different regions were let go, including, which is rather juicy, Yuri Lazarev, Deputy Chief of the Main Directorate of the Federal Drug Control Service in Putin’s native city of Saint-Petersburg.
Considering the Investigative Committee, officials from many regions were affected. Eleven heads of regional offices and their deputies were fired, including Major General of Justice Andrei Stryzhakov, who worked as the Deputy Chief of the Office of the Investigative Committee in the Southern Federal District – the district with its central city of Rostov-na-Donu, which is famous for housing the main headquarters of Russian forces responsible for undeclared military action against Ukraine and sending terrorist forces there.
If one is to estimate the scale of 18 firings of generals and colonels today, a picture of some epic failure arises. Which failure it is remains a mystery, however this morning, sources in several regional offices of the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company reported independently of each other that they received an urgent dispatch from Moscow. This dispatch demanded to air an urgent address of Vladimir Putin to the people of Russia at 19:30 (Moscow time). The address was cancelled later, and Dmitry Peskov, the press-secretary of the President of Russia, officially stated that it wasn’t even planned.
What exactly happened today in Kremlin? Why were so many generals and colonels fired? What was Putin going to tell the people of Russia before he changed his mind? Those questions still remain a mystery.
This morning (August 7, 2014), the head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, spoke to journalists about the terrorist attack against the Malaysian Boeing aircraft. In the course of inquiry, facts were ascertained that prove that the Government of Russia was planning to down “Aeroflot’s” plane in order to blame Ukrainian military for it and to start a massive invasion under this pretext. It is possible that the mysterious wave of officer firings in Moscow might be related to this somehow.Translated by Dmytro Usenko, student at Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
Edited by Lisa Spencer