A highly decorated Russian general and his wife have been found mysteriously dead after he criticised Vladimir Putin for his “third-rate” military.
Investigators have been unable to work out how highly-decorated Lt-General Vladimir Sviridov, 68, and his wife Tatyana, 72, died.
The bodies of the general and his wife were found in their home in the village of Adzhievsky in Stavropol region. However, their corpses were not found for over a week.
The former commander of Russian air defences had once criticised Vlad for allowing a “third-ranking” air force.
He had publicly denounced the fact that top officers were leaving the armed forces because of dire pay and conditions.
The authorities have been unable to ascertain the cause of their sudden deaths, local media reported.
“Gas service workers have already taken measurements and no excess of the permissible concentration of harmful substances has been detected,” said a report into their bizarre deaths.
“What caused the death of Vladimir and Tatyana Sviridov is still unknown.”
He commanded the 6th Army of the Russian Air Force and Air Defence from 2005 to 2009 in an appointment personally made by Putin.
He was a heavily honoured pilot after being awarded the Order of the Red Star and a clutch of medals.
Sviridov left his commander’s role aged 54 after a series of scathing comments about the Russian armed forces.
He warned in one interview: “A pilot must have about 100 hours of flight time per year for full combat readiness.
“However, this is not yet the case. “The average flight time in the army is currently 25-30 hours.”
In another blast, he complained: “We are forced to appoint not fully trained officers because there are no better ones.
“For the same reason we are sending to military academies third-ranking pilots. “This did not happen in the past.”
He had fumed over how low salaries and poor housing provision were forcing experienced officers to leave the military.
“One in two of our officers, unfortunately, has no accommodation,” he said.
“Up to 10 per cent of young officers are doing everything possible to retire early.”
He demanded Putin “create normal living conditions for young officers, as well as for all servicemen, so that they can properly perform their service duties”.
Russia has been hit by a spate of suspicious deaths since the start of Putin’s war against Ukraine, with many linked to the energy sector.
Last month, a top executive at Russia’s second largest oil company died, marking the latest in a series of high-profile deaths of Russian oil tycoons.
Vladimir Nekrasov, 66, chairman of the Lukoil board of directors, reportedly “suddenly” died in his home in Moscow.
Nekrasov’s death follows that of tycoon Ravil Maganov, 67, who fell from a window of Moscow’s elite Central Clinical Hospital in September last year.
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