A new photo appearing to show Russian General Sergei Surovikin, who disappeared from public view following a short-lived mutiny by Wagner mercenary fighters in June, has been published on the social media account of a prominent Russian media personality.
A second report on Monday, published by a prominent independent Russian journalist, also claimed that Surovikin was now “at home with his family”.
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“General Sergei Surovikin is out. Alive, healthy, at home, with his family, in Moscow. Photo taken today,” well-known media personality Ksenia Sobchak wrote in a caption to a picture released on the Telegram messaging app.
The photo, which showed a man in sunglasses and a cap walking alongside a woman resembling Surovikin’s wife, Anna, could not be independently verified by the Reuters news agency, which first reported the news.
Russian media published a photo of Surovikin. They claim it is a recent one and that he was released.
Surovikin has not been seen since Prigozhin's mutiny in June. Authorities said he was "resting". pic.twitter.com/6W5EvSnuXp
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) September 4, 2023
Russian journalist Alexei Venediktov also wrote on his Telegram channel that “General Surovikin is at home with his family. He is on leave and available to the Defence Ministry”.
Surovikin, who gained the nickname “General Armageddon” for his brutality during Russia’s military intervention in Syria’s civil war, was briefly in charge of Moscow’s war effort in Ukraine before that role was handed in January to General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff.
Various international and Russian military bloggers reported that Surovikin had fallen under suspicion by the Kremlin following the brief mutiny by Wagner mercenaries in June and that he was being investigated for possible complicity.
Russia’s state news agency RIA said last month that Surovikin had been removed as head of the country’s aerospace forces and his deputy Viktor Afzalov had assumed the job on a temporary basis.
The late Wagner boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who died in a private jet crash last month with other senior Wagner figures, was fiercely critical of Russia’s military leaders but spoke highly of Surovikin, calling him “a man who is not afraid of responsibility”.
Widely viewed by Russian war commentators as a forceful and capable figure, Surovikin was considered one of Prigozhin’s most important allies in the regular Russian army and in the Wagner chief’s bitter disputes with Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of General Staff Gerasimov.