FSB initiates major purge within Russian Defense Ministry: top brass under arrest amidst Ukraine conflict fallout

Arrests of senior Russian generals are just beginning, all with the Kremlin's consent, reported Russian publication The Moscow Times, citing five anonymous sources.

The journalists spoke with two government officials, two sources close to the Kremlin, and an informed source within the Ministry of Defense. All five agreed that the ongoing wave of arrests aims for the security agencies to pin the blame for failures in Ukraine on the military and gain control of defense expenditure.

“There’s a rigorous purge going on. The FSB is cleaning out Shoigu’s team. This is an expected process. The security agencies have received approval from the very top. There’s still a long way to go before the purges are complete. More arrests will follow,” said a Kremlin-connected source to the journalists.

A source close to the Russian Ministry of Defense mentioned that intelligence officers appeared in the ministry's compound in April, prior to the arrest of Deputy Minister Timur Ivanov.

“It feels like there are more intelligence officers there now than military personnel,” commented another source to the journalists.

Presently unfolding is potentially one of the largest-scale purges in modern Russian history, just gaining traction. So said a current Russian government official to the journalists.

“I believe that by the end of the year, hundreds of people across all Defense Ministry divisions will be arrested,” he added.

According to another government official, investigators always had "a heap of material" against Ministry of Defense staff, and criminal cases were even initiated. “But as long as Shoygu was minister with significant influence, investigators were barred from pursuing them,” this source revealed.

Another source, close to the Kremlin, considers the wave of arrests in the defense sector as indicative of the security agencies' triumph over the military.

“In the failure of the invasion, there must be one entity to blame. It's either the security services, who handled intelligence and analytical preparation for the war and assured Putin of a triumphant operation and swift victory but failed. Or it's the second-most powerful army in the world under Shoigu, which was expected to deliver Putin this victory but proved to be a paper tiger and suffered a disaster," he explains.

Now, the security agencies are set to claim their prize—the Defence Ministry’s budgets.

“The ultimate goal is to appoint their own people and control the most lucrative areas with large budgets,” explained a government official. “Or do you seriously believe any of them are currently thinking about the special military operation?”

The campaign began with the arrest of Russia's Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov on April 23. Following this, security forces detained a further five Russian generals. All except the former commander of the 58th Army of the Southern Military District, General Ivan Popov, served in the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.

  War in Ukraine, Shoygu, Kremlin