Putin’s right hand has not been seen for more than a month: where is top general Gerasimov? | War Ukraine and Russia

Russia’s top general Valeri Gerasimov (68) has not appeared in public for more than a month. The chief of staff of the Russian armed forces and leader of the invasion of Ukraine is considered President Vladimir Putin’s right-hand man. But no one knows where he is currently or what happened to him.

Last week it was noticeable that Gerasimov was not present at a press conference of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, where he had previously attended.

Gerasimov next to Minister Shoigu in an archive image. © RV

Last week he was nowhere to be found.
Last week he was nowhere to be found. © RV

The last time he appeared in public was on December 29 last year. Then he honored soldiers who had distinguished themselves during the capture of Marinka in the Ukrainian region of Donetsk.

LOOK. In August, Gerasimov visited the troops in Zaporizhia

Wildest rumors

In the meantime, the wildest rumors are circulating about his disappearance. One of the most persistent is that Gerasimov was killed in a Ukrainian attack on the Crimean peninsula on January 3. Several sources claim that there is evidence that Gerasimov was in a command post in Sevastopol when one of the Ukrainian missiles hit and that he did not survive.

However, that information could not be independently verified. And there is no concrete evidence that the general was in Sevastopol at the time of the attack and that he was killed.

For their part, Russian authorities remain silent about Gerasimov’s whereabouts. Another Russian general – Ihor Romanenko – denied the rumors, but immediately stated that no one is indispensable.

Gerasimov and Putin in an archive image.
Gerasimov and Putin in an archive image. © AP

Gerasimov is not the only high-ranking soldier who has disappeared from public view. Admiral Viktor Sokolov has not been seen since late September last year. According to Kiev, the man was killed in a rocket attack on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in annexed Crimea. However, Moscow denies this.

Remarkable: shortly after the attack, images emerged of an online meeting with the Russian Ministry of Defense, at which Sokolov was visibly present. However, he sat somewhat unnaturally against what looked like a cushion and did not say a word during the entire meeting. Moscow has since released another interview with him, although it is not clear when it was recorded. After that nothing more.

LOOK. Viktor Sokolov suddenly appears in an online meeting

Both disappearances are being laughed at online. “Admiral Sokolov, who has not been seen for 133 days, is probably ‘consulting’ somewhere with General Gerasimov, who has not been seen for 55 days,” military expert Fred Hoffman wrote on Friday on X. The memes are also impossible to keep up with.

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