A leading Russian general, Colonel General Gennady Zhidko, 58, purged by Vladimir Putin has been found dead.
Zhidko briefly led the Russian invasion of Ukraine before giving way to General Sergei ‘Armageddon’ Surovikin. Zhidko is a Hero of Russia. This is the country’s highest title. He held a string of top military positions.
He was ousted in October 2022 as commander of Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine after the failure to grab the city of Kharkiv.
Zhidko had been seen as in charge since April after taking over from ousted General Alexander Dvornikov, aka the ‘Butcher of Syria’. This led to Western sanctions against Zhidko.
Surovikin who replaced him was later demoted from the role by chief of the general staff Valery Gerasimov.
Surovikin remained his deputy but is believed to have been detained in June. This might be due to suspicion he knew of plans to stage a coup against Putin’s regime by Wagner mercenaries.
Little has been seen of Zhidko in recent months.
His death was confirmed by the loyalist governor of Khabarovsk region Mikhail Degtyarev, who expressed his condolences, but there was no official announcement.
The reports did not say where Russian General Zhidko was found dead. The commander was seen as having one of the best military brains in Russia.