Hardliners rise to power in Russian leadership rotation

In November, Russia made a large rotation of top leaders in the armed forces. Russian Defense Policy has looked at the people who have risen to glory. The overall trend is that successful command in combat is a key qualification for promotion.

The most prominent command change is that the Aerospace Forces got a new commander in chief. That is army Colonel General Sergey Surovikin who is currently the commander of the Russian forces in Syria.

About him, Russian Defense Policy notes:

No one would accuse Surovikin of being an uncontroversial figure. His biography features a number of incidents but nothing seems to stick to him.

As described on these pages in 2011 when he was reportedly considered to head the MOD’s new military police:

Kommersant gave details on Surovikin’s background. As a captain in August 1991, he was acting commander of the Taman division motorized rifle battalion responsible for the death of three Yeltsin supporters. He was arrested and investigated for seven months before charges against him were lifted.

As noted on these pages, he commanded the 34th MRD when one his colonels blew his brains out in front of the entire staff after an upbraiding from the commander. And Surovikin had a very short tenure as Chief of the GOU.

He seems an odd choice to be responsible for the army’s new enforcers of law and order. To be in charge of those charged with preventing dedovshchina and other barracks violence.

Not noted above is the fact that, as a major in 1995, he almost went to jail for the illegal possession and sale of a hand gun. This earned him one year of probation, and it later disqualified him from heading the MOD’s new military police force.

Sounds like a scrupulous bloke. I wonder what the air force officers hate the most: The fact that their new CINC has a history of misconduct, or the fact that he is from the Army?

Also interesting is this part, indicating that the Navy is increasing its focus on combat readiness in Kaliningrad and Crimea:

According to Izvestiya, the Navy also got a new deputy commander for ground and coastal troops General-Lieutenant Oleg Makarevich. The paper claims he’s second only to Surovikin in his “experience and charisma.” The position was made necessary because the land-based components of the navy have grown with army corps added to the fleets. The Navy is looking to Makarevich to smooth out their force structure and combat training, particularly in Kaliningrad and Crimea.

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