• Russia has routinely sacked commanders since the start of the invasion of Ukraine, but the removal of the 58th Combined Arms Army’s General-Major Ivan Popov is notable, he was apparently dismissed for voicing concerns rather than for any alleged poor performance.
  • In a leaked video intended for his troops, Popov delivered a scathing attack on the Russian MoD leadership, whom he accused of, “hitting us from the rear, viciously beheading the Army at the most difficult and intense moment”.
  • Popov’s comments draw attention to serious disaffection many officers likely harbour towards the senior military leadership. The complaints largely echo those made by Wagner Group owner Yevgeny Prigozhin prior to his June 2023 mutiny. Direct criticism from subordinates is likely to become an increasing problem for Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff General Gerasimov.
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