Russian President Vladimir Putin has purged all the officers in his Baltic Sea fleet


Russian President Vladimir Putin has purged all the officers in his Baltic Sea fleet

**RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin has taken a page out of Joseph Stalin’s book — and sacked every commander in his Baltic fleet. **The stated cause: corruption and incompetence.
But given the endemic nature of both problems across the Russian military, Western analysts are scratching their heads as to the real reason behind the purge.
The performance of Russia’s military during recent high profile, large-scale military NATO military exercises in the Baltic may have something to do with it. As could the ever escalating games of brinkmanship being played out in the international waters and skies.

“Some hint that the “buzzing” of USS Donald Cook by Russian Su-24 fighter-bombers on April 14, 2016 was meant to be part of a broader series of Russian confrontations against Western ships in the Baltic,” says international affairs analyst Peter Coates. “But the Russian Baltic Fleet in April, however, refused to follow such dangerous orders — hence Putin’s retaliation against his own naval officers.”

News of the purge has been trickling out through official Russian news agencies including TASS and Interfax. But it an article in The Moscow Times blamed “chaos” in the Baltic Fleet’s command structure for the dramatic move, citing the Russian Defense Ministry as accusing the officers of dereliction of duty.
“On June 29, the Russian Defense Ministry announced it was purging the entire senior and mid-level command of the Baltic Fleet. It was a dramatic move that suggested deep structural problems within the fleet command. In total, 50 officers were dismissed from their post, including the fleet commander, Vice Admiral Viktor Kravchuk, and his chief of staff, Vice Admiral Sergei Popov,” *The Moscow Times *report reads.
“Not since Stalin’s purges had so many officers been ousted at once.”


“Not since Stalin…”

Chilling. We ought to pay attention.


The comparison is fallacious, Stalin killed the officers he purged, Putin is sacking officers for incompetence. The Navy has had a series of failures and problems in recent years as the country has tried to rebuild it after it becoming increasingly run down. Stalin serves as an easy template to project a reductionist view of all events in Russia (which is amusing as he was not in fact even Russian) instead of dealing with events unique to each era as they occur.


I see. I meant no offense. It’s important to learn from the past, lest we fall victim to worse atrocities.

I do hope Putin is sacking them for incompetence only. I am concerned what seems to me a very aggressive stance toward our military and toward the nations surrounding his own.


It is not surprising that Putin is so sympathetic to Stalin.


I would think that many Russians who grew up during the Stalin/communist rule ( including Putin and his government) would want to go a different way. They know from their history how it works, the oppression and losing your rights and freedoms, etc. I do not believe the communist takeover of Russia was what the people of Russia wanted at the time, It was forced upon them by those in power ( the revolutionist’s government) by using fear of death, torture, etc. Why would anyone be sympathetic to this? I would think that they would have learned from it. The Czar system was not perfect before communism, but if they could choose again I believe, they would want it back. The rulers of communist gave them no choice. I hope they have learned from it and will become the old Russia again.


The majority of Russians would have little interest in wanting the Tsar back or the Royal Family, they are presented at times in a romanticized manner (depending on the particular Tsar) in literature or TV shows but for most Russians it is something from the dim and distant past. It forms little part of their daily life beyond that, they are proud of some of the more sensible royal figures in Russian history but that is for most of them about as far it goes. The communist party usually attracts around about 25 percent of the vote in elections in the last few years. Many Russians in the diaspora I come into contact with through my wife would point out the image of Russia fostered in the west during the Cold War did not jibe very well with the reality of daily life there and several of them laughed when I showed them footage of supposed giant queues of starving Russians in the mid 80’s waiting for hours outside shops. One of the ladies who is now in her mid 40’s is from the city the footage was from and pointed out it was actually a local issue with food deliveries been late each day due to bad weather that year leading to poor road conditions and that was why people were waiting outside the supermarkets in the city in the footage There was starvation and famine much earlier in the CCCP but not in the mid 80’s when the footage was shot. People were creasing themselves up laughing at it.


Did they not at least have religious freedom when the Czar was in control? After the communists took over, they killed Catholics in Russia, religion was a threat to them. There were many martyrs after the takeover. If I am right, before that, there was religious freedom in Russia, they were poor and angry about Russia going to war, but the economy at the time was suffering throughout the world then. You can correct me if you think I am wrong, I am interested in your opinion on this.


Not particularly to answer your first question. I assure you been Catholic in parts of the Russian Empire was quite awkward in fact. Indeed a marriage like my own to a member of the Russian Orthodox Church was at times a legal nightmare and numerous such marriages were deemed illegal or caused issues for both partners. Catholics are a small group in Russia itself, we make up no more than around half a million of the citizens there or about 0.5 percent of the populace. We have never been a large group and due to bad blood between us and the Orthodox were often seen with suspicion. Obviously in some areas the Empire and Soviet Union controlled there were far more Catholics but in Russia itself we Catholics are very much a minority group and my mother-in-law had never talked to or met a Catholic before she met me. Not that she much cared as she considers religion a private matter and views it all as bunkum as she is an atheist. The Russian Empire was not terribly notable for religious freedom outside of certain areas and religious persecution and problems between various faiths were long a problem in many areas.

You have to remember at the time of the revolution it was not so many generations since much of Russia’s population were serfs. My great-grandmother and grandfather-in-law would have been alive at this time. I never sadly met them, although the only reason my mother-in-law and wife were baptised is due to her influence as she was a devout Orthodox Christian. Ironically her son was an ardent communist and Red Army officer for most of his life although he had his own peculiar views about the way the state should have handled matters of religion. He believed the state should have left religion as an individual choice and that the purges of religious organisations were a grave mistake.


This is the Russian version of Godwin’s Law? Maybe?


It would appear to be becoming so, using Stalin as a lens and comparison to view all events in either Russian or Soviet history against is pretty simplistic. In this case the navy had a fair few examples of incompetence ranging from missile trials that went wrong, ships that collided etc. Notice that Baltic Fleet is only one part of the Russian Navy also. The navy got seriously run down after the Soviet Union collapsed and there has been a lot of domestic pressure to get it sorted out and up to scratch again.


As I know nothing about it - a response, in relation to the subject, posted on a military discussion forum.

*They were fired because there was mass misreporting on several key areas. Readiness, troop/sailor accommodations, general lack of supplies where they were need most, things of that nature. It would have been done a long time ago if the chain of command hadn’t lied, i.e. nothing negative was being reported.

Good call!*


To have a Czar system, don’t you need a particular person who is Czar?

Are you suggesting that Kerensky should have been declared Czar or declared himself to be Czar? I don’t know the mechanics or legality of Czar Nicholas II abdicating in favor of Alexei and then – without authorization from Alexei (?) – changing his mind. If the following is correct, then Grand Duke Michael was unwilling to become Czar without some kind of authorization from the people or representatives of the people.

Maybe Czar Nicholas (the Second = Roman numerals II) could have governed Russia from the UK, just as the colonies in what is now the USA were once governed from the UK. However, he would have had to make that decision before abdicating.

The following is from Wikipedia:

At the end of the “February Revolution” of 1917 (February in the Old Russian Calendar), on 2 March (O.S.) / 15 March (N.S.) 1917, Nicholas II chose to abdicate. He first abdicated in favor of Alexei, but swiftly changed his mind after advice from doctors …

Nicholas thus drew up a new manifesto naming his brother, Grand Duke Michael, as the next Emperor of all the Russias.

Grand Duke Michael declined to accept the throne until the people were allowed to vote through a Constituent Assembly for the continuance of the monarchy or a republic.


Nicholas desperately wanted to go into exile in the United Kingdom following his abdication. The British government reluctantly offered him asylum in the UK on 19 March 1917, but this was deemed politically impossible and later withdrawn in April …


When the February Revolution broke out in 1917, Kerensky was one of its most prominent leaders: he was a member of the Provisional Committee of the State Duma and was elected vice-chairman of the Petrograd Soviet. Simultaneously, he became the first Minister of Justice in the newly formed Russian Provisional Government. When the Soviet passed a resolution prohibiting its leaders from joining the government, Kerensky delivered a stirring speech at a Soviet meeting. Although the decision was never formalized, he was granted a de facto exemption and continued acting in both capacities.



I admit I should know more about Russian history, but my understanding is that Catholics were allowed to practice their religion during the Czar reign. This is because some of my ancestors lived in Russia during this time. They were Polish, but had immigrated to Russia during Catherine the Great, there were also German speaking people in the villages near them, and so they spoke something they called low German. Some managed to get to Canada during Trotsky’s time in power (around 1925) but not all the family relations escaped.

They had catholic priests and had great faith and from what I know it was a beautiful place to live until the communist revolution. After the revolution, practicing your faith was seriously forbidden. There were many killed for their beliefs. My comment was not to say the Czar system was perfect, but to compare it to the days after the czar, when religion was forbidden. There are good people there also. I hope they can rebuild the country and bring back religion and undo the damage created by the revolution, from what I know this is possible. Russia was not always the bad guy in history, like some believe it is, and I have always hoped it would become a peaceful country again.


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