General Sergei Surovikin, one of the most prominent commanders of the Russian military operation in Ukraine who was relieved of his duties due to his links to the Wagner Group, reappeared during an official visit to Algeria, after months of absence.
In photos published by the Ibn Badis Mosque in Oran (western Algeria) on Tuesday and republished by the Russian media on Friday, Surovikin could be seen in a light brown uniform without any military insignia, and next to him were Russian officers in military uniform with the imam of the mosque, Abu Abdullah Zabbar, according to Agence France-Presse.
No official announcement
While the photos were accompanied by a caption, “A high-level Russian delegation visited the main mosque, Al-Qutb Abdelhamid Ben Badis, and they were received by the Director of Religious Affairs and Endowments and the Imam of the Main Mosque.”
However, the visit and its purpose were not officially announced, and Moscow did not talk about it at all.
It is noteworthy that speculation has increased about the fate of Sergei Surovikin since his disappearance after the armed rebellion of the Wagner Group against the military leadership in Moscow in June.
According to Russian media, General Surovikin was relieved of his position as commander of the Air and Space Forces in August, two months after the Wagner rebellion, with which he had close ties but did not support it.
During the 24-hour Wagner mutiny, Surovikin called on the rebels to “stop” and return to their barracks “before it is too late.”
Close to Prigozhin
But the general was nonetheless considered close to Wagner commander Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was killed in a plane crash in August.
Surovikin is considered one of the veteran military leaders, especially since he assumed duties in many of the wars that Moscow fought, starting with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, through Syria, all the way to Ukraine.
He was also known for his “brutal” military style, to the point that he was nicknamed the “Doomsday General” and was awarded several medals of honor by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.
However, his “strong” relationship with the Wagner leader apparently toppled him, especially since Prigozhin, who was always and tirelessly criticizing and insulting the military commanders and the Ministry of Defense during the last months of his fighting in Ukraine, only spoke good things about him!