Russian President Vladimir Putin has fired his entire naval fleet’s officer class in the Baltic Sea amid concerns in the Kremlin that the fleet is was not following orders to engage western ships.
The Russian Defence Ministry revealed it was sacking the Russian navy’s top brass across its Baltic fleet late last month after officials voiced concerns about failure to follow orders matched with “incompetence and corruption” among the upper echelons of the country’s navy.
The Stalinesque bloodletting followed a month-long audit by the Kremlin, which was apparently sparked by a collision of the submarine Krasnodar with a Polish patrol boat during a training exercise.
Local media reported that the Baltic fleet commanders attempted to cover up the incident, angering defence ministry officials and Mr Putin, who carried out the mass dismissal in a show of Moscow’s strength.
But Observers believe a recent incident where Russian fighter bombers “buzzed” the USS Donald Cook may have been the signal for a series of confrontations with NATO vessels which Baltic Fleet commanders refused to carry out and have now paid with their jobs.
An article in The Moscow Times blamed “chaos” in the Baltic Fleet’s command structure for the dramatic move, citing the Russian Defense Ministry as accusing the officers of dereliction of duty.
“On June 29, the Russian Defense Ministry announced it was purging the entire senior and mid-level command of the Baltic Fleet,” said the report.
“It was a dramatic move that suggested deep structural problems within the fleet command.
“In total, 50 officers were dismissed from their post, including the fleet commander, Vice Admiral Viktor Kravchuk, and his chief of staff, Vice Admiral Sergei Popov.
“Not since Stalin’s purges have so many officers been ousted at once.”
Putin Fires Entire Fleet Of Naval Commanders - Humans At Sea