Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has not appeared in public since March 11. His absence has sparked all kinds of rumours, especially since Vladimir Putin gave a disturbing speech in which he spoke of the necessary “purification” of the country. This Wednesday, an independent Russian media has alluded for the first time to the disappearance of the minister and quotes close sources who assure that his absence is due to “health problems”.
Putin calls for the purification of Russia in his most sinister speech
The russian investigative outlet Agentstvo, one of the censored by the Kremlin, traces a chronology of his last appearances. The last time she appeared publicly was on March 11. The Defense Ministry reported that he had had a conversation with his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar. The same day, a video was broadcast in which he appeared handing out prizes to the Russian soldiers participating in the offensive in Ukraine.
From then on, Shoigu did not appear in public again. The March 18 was mentioned on the Kremlin website, assuring that he had been present at the meeting in which Putin discussed with the members of his Security Council the progress of the operations. Agentsvo notes that there was no video or photos of that meeting.
the latest news in Shoigu’s profile on the website of the Ministry of Defense it is also dated March 11. Previously, Shoigu’s appearances in state media were frequent.
The independent Russian media quotes sources close to the minister assuring that he has health problems, more specifically “heart problems”. Agentsvo has tried unsuccessfully to obtain statements about his whereabouts from the Defense Ministry. He has also asked the spokesman for the presidency, Dimitri Peskov, without receiving an answer so far.
And the Chief of Staff?
The investigative medium highlights that it is not the only high command whose whereabouts have not been known since March 11. Nothing is officially known about Valery GerasimovChief of Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.
Both Gerasimov and Shoigú are members of Putin’s closest circle and two of the pillars on which he placed his hopes on February 24.
Although Russia insists that the “special operation” is developing as expected, one month after the invasion of Ukraine, it becomes increasingly clear that the result is not what Putin wanted. The Ukrainian resistance slows the advance of the troops, especially in kyiv, and intelligence reports from countries such as the US and the UK confirm that the Russian armed forces are at a standstill.