The deputy chief of Russia’s Rosgvardia was reportedly detained on Thursday in an outburst by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is reportedly punishing disloyalty among the ranks of his army following the invasion against Ukraine.
According to a report by Christo Grozev, CEO of the Netherlands-based Bellingcat Group, General Roman Gavrilov, of the unit of RU’s interior army known as Rosgvardia, was detained by the Federal Security Service (FSB.)
According to Grozev’s report, the reason for Gavrilov’s detention was not instantly clear, although one of his sources indicated that the FSB’s military counterintelligence department detained the general for “leaks of military info that led to loss of life,” while two other sources said the motive was the army’s “wasteful squandering of fuel.”
Russia “self-purifies,” according to Putin
Russian state-controlled media reported that Gavrilov was fired since, under his command, Rosgvardia suffered heavy losses in Ukraine during the last three weeks since the invasion began.
However, senior United Russia official Alexander Khinshtein said in a Telegram message that, despite his dismissal, reports that Gavrilov had been arrested were “totally false.”
In a speech on Wednesday, Putin had already said that his country will undergo a “self-purification” of “traitors.”
“The Russian people will always be able to distinguish true patriots from scum and traitors and simply spit them out like a fly that accidentally flew into their mouths,” Putin said in his speech. “I am convinced that such a natural and necessary self-purification of society will only strengthen our country, our solidarity, cohesion and readiness to respond to any challenges.”
Meanwhile, according to the independent media outlet OVD info, nearly 15,000 people have been arrested in Russia since the beginning of the invasion, last February 24, for opposing the war, either in spontaneous street protests or for expressing their discontent on social networks.