UK Intel Reports That Putin Fired His Top General Georasimov

  • Both UK and US Russia-watchers reported widespread rumors of firing a top Russian general.
  • The UK’s MOD stated that speculation regarding Chief of General Staff Valerygerasimov couldn’t be verified. 
  • Russia’s MOD denied it, and seems highly sensitive to ongoing reports about top-level power struggles.

The UK’s Ministry of Defence issued an intelligence update Wednesday, pointing out rumors that Russia’s top general has been fired.

“Rumours that Russian Chief General Staff General Valery Gerasimov could be fired have circulated on social media in the last 48 hours cannot be confirmed.” said the UK MOD’s update.

It continued, “However factional tensions likely extend up to the top of Russia’s military hierarchy.” 

Russia’s long struggle to win in its invasion of Ukraine over the months has caused turmoil among the Russian military and seen numerous power changes — but none so sweeping as a rumored ouster of Gerasimov, its top officer.

Gerasimov-related chatter was also noted by US think tank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW)According to the report, they were created by Russian hyper-nationalist military bloggers.

The matter attracted a denial from Russia’s Ministry of DefenseSunday’s statement, which stated that President Vladimir Putin hadn’t fired Gerasimov and that there wasn’t any reason for him to do so.

The MOD claimed that Gerasimov was to be expelled in the post. It also provided several photos of Gerasimov on official duties with Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu, which dates back to last week.

The gallery of images shared on Telegram to support the Russian MOD's claim that Chief of the General Staff of Russia's Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov is still in post.

Telegram gallery featuring images that support the claim of the Russian MOD that Chief of General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces Valerygerasimov is still in place

Russia MOD/Telegram

Insider’s request to get additional information from the ministry was not immediately answered by the ministry. 

The ISW conducted a Monday analysis and compared the extent of the denial with that offered by similar rumors about the firingOr sideliningShoigu, which were seen multiple times during the war. 

According to the ISW, the denial was “not credible enough to offer the kind of support for this denial it has provided” for Shoigu. 

Shoigu’s situation was unique in that the ministry shared video evidence of him still in post, ISW reported. 

However, the ISW said that the denial suggests Russia’s MOD is sensitive towards reports of any schisms in its elite leadership.

According to the analysis, the ministry may want to “counteract claims of massive disruptions or incoherencies at Russian command structures due to widespread failures with Ukraine”.

Since the beginning of this year, reports of power struggles at the Kremlin circulated for several weeks. Ukraine’s rapid retaking of vast occupied areas in the fall. Russia’s hawkish military commentators have harshly criticized the failures. 

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Russian businessman and Putin critic, described two factions within Russia’s military elite in October. as Politico reported

They included Shoigu and Gerasimov, along with Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov, and Wagner Group founder Evgeny Privgozhin, per Khodorkovsky. 

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