Russian general missing for two weeks feared dead after 'supporting coup against Putin'

General Surovikin with Vladimir Putin

General Surovikin (left) and Vladimir Putin (right)

Sam Montgomery

By Sam Montgomery

Published: 07/07/2023

- 10:19

‘General Armageddon’ missed his wife’s birthday party prompting further speculation over his fate

Vladimir Putin’s deputy commander of the Russian forces in Ukraine has not been seen in public for two weeks, fuelling rumours that the general had prior knowledge of Wagner’s aborted coup.

General Sergey Surovikin, nicknamed ‘General Armageddon’, reportedly missed his wife’s birthday party as the Kremlin remains tight-lipped on his whereabouts.

While no official confirmation of his arrest has been made, it is suspected that General Surovikin is being detained and interrogated over his failure to raise the alarm on Wagner’s plot, or may even have been killed.

US intelligence sources have confirmed to the New York Times that the general was aware of plans to oust Russia’s military leaders.


General Surovikin


The rumour mill is rife with anonymous sources informing media outlets about General Surovikin’s detention.

Russia’s influential pro-war Rybar Telegram channel said: "The whereabouts of ‘General Armageddon’ is not known for certain.

"There is a version that he is under interrogation."

Likewise, Bloomberg claims the general “was quizzed over his links to Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin over several days last week at an undisclosed location, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.”

And a source told the Moscow Times: "Apparently, he [Surovikin] chose the side [of Prigozhin during the rebellion], and they grabbed him by the balls.”

Vladimir Putin

Putin is attempting to keep a lid on the coup investigations


UK’s Ministry of Defence explained the root of the suspicion: “Authorities will likely be suspicious of his long association with Wagner dating back to his service in Syria from 2017.”

General Surovikin is said to have been assigned a secret personal VIP Wagner registration number in 2018, according to CNN.

It was in Syria that Surovikin earned his “General Armageddon” nickname, in recognition of his merciless use of gas and barrel bombs.

In October last year, Surovikin took on the leading the Russian invasion but was stripped of the responsibility by Putin in January.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (left), India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (centre) and China's President Xi Jinping (right) at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan in 2019.\u200b

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (left), India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (centre) and China's President Xi Jinping (right) at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan in 2019.


Giorgi Revishvili, former senior advisor to Georgia and ‘Russia watcher’, has suggested that General Surovikin did not show face at his wife Anna’s birthday party on July 4 and that communication has ceased.

Revishvili said: “It suggests that so far everything is not going well for Surovikin.

“He is in isolation in connection with checking the reports of his subordinates that Surovikin had something to do with Prigozhin's rebellion.”

The Ministry of Defence alluded to why Putin might be keeping schtum: “Surovikin is one of the more respected senior officers within the Russian military; any official sanction against him is likely to be divisive.”


\u200bYevgeny Prigozhin

Yevgeny Prigozhin


Meanwhile, Wagner boss Prigozhin is also keeping a low profile, with reports that he had been exiled to Belarus after the aborted coup now being undermined.

Prigozhin staged an armed insurrection against Putin on June 23, marching to within 125 miles of Moscow before striking some form of deal with the Russian establishment.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus, mysteriously announced: "As for Prigozhin, he's in St. Petersburg. He is not on the territory of Belarus."

In response, the Kremlin dubiously declared that it was “not following” the movements of the man who threatened to overthrow the government.

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