Leader of Russia-annexed region calls for Russia’s Military Chief to ‘shoot himself’

A close ally of Vladimir Putin, the Russian Federation's Military Chief Sergei Shoigu has often been marked as a potential successor to Putin in the Kremlin.

 Russian President Vladimir Putin (C), Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (R) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visit the Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province, Syria December 11, 2017 (photo credit: SPUTNIK/MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/KREMLIN VIA REUTERS)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (C), Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (R) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visit the Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province, Syria December 11, 2017
(photo credit: SPUTNIK/MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/KREMLIN VIA REUTERS)

The recently-appointed leader of the annexed Kherson region of southern Ukraine called on Russia’s Defense Minister and Putin confidante Sergei Shoigu to “shoot himself” in a video posted on his Telegram channel Thursday.

The Kremlin-installed deputy head of the annexed Kherson region, Kirill Stremousov, criticized the Russian military response amid a recent Ukrainian counteroffensive in the region, which led to massive gains by Ukraine. 

"Indeed, many say if they were a defense minister who had allowed such a state of affairs, he could, as an officer, shoot himself… but you know the word 'officer' is an incomprehensible word for many," said the 45-year-old Stremousov, who was appointed to lead the occupied region on April 26th.

Who is Sergei Shoigu?

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu salutes (credit: REUTERS / YURI KOCHETKOV / POOL)Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu salutes (credit: REUTERS / YURI KOCHETKOV / POOL)

Sergei Shoigu, 67, has served as the Russian Federation’s Minister of Defense since 2012. A close ally of Vladimir Putin, Shoigu has often been marked as a potential successor to Putin in the Kremlin.

In the midst of the Ukraine-Russia War, however, many within Russia’s nationalist circles have criticized Shoigu and his cabinet for a myriad of wartime failures that derailed what many originally perceived as an easy victory for Russia into a political catastrophe. 

Recent criticisms of Russia by Putin's allies

Controversial Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov issued a public rebuke of top Russian generals last Friday after Russian troops lost the city of Lyman – a key artery in the greater Ukraine-Russia War. 

Kadyrov mentioned Russian Colonel-General Aleksandr Lapin, who has led the Russian military in their invasion of Ukraine, by name – saying he should be demoted and sent “to the frontline with a machine gun” in another Telegram post.

"(They) should be sent barefoot to the front with automatic guns"

Yevgeny Prigozhin, Wagner Mercenary Group founder

"I agree with Ramzan Akhmatovich Kadyrov, who raised this issue. Well done," Stremousov replied to the post, while the Wagner Group militia’s founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, praised Kadyrov for his remarks. "Ramzan – you rock man! (They) should be sent barefoot to the front with automatic guns."