By Sasha Kinskey, The Chicago Times
October 10, 2022
MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday announced the appointment of General Sergei Surovikin as the top commander of Russia’s Army Group South, which operates in Ukraine.
Putin’s appointment of Surovikin comes on the heels of recent humiliating Russian defeats at the hands of Ukrainian forces. During October, Ukrainian forces have pushed the Russian army out of key sectors recently annexed by Putin and may also have had a hand in the partial destruction of the Kerch Bridge, which links Russia to Crimea.
Surovikin was born in 1966 in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk and is a veteran of the Soviet-Afghan War. After graduating from various military academies Surovikin rose through the ranks of the Russian military, but has also been involved in various scandals including illegal arms dealing, voter intimidation, and implicated in the death of a fellow officer that committed suicide.
Known for being a ruthless and brutal commander, Surovikin was given the title of “Hero of Russia” and awarded a medal for his service in Syria in 2017 as the commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces.
In 1991, Surovikin allegedly ordered troops to fire on demonstrators during the August coup just before the fall of the Soviet Union. During his time in Syria, Surovikin allegedly ordered the bombardment of Aleppo, which lasted for 55 days killing some 530 people.