Powerful forces within the Putin administration are trying to make Anatoly Kvashnin, head of the Russian armed forces’ general staff, the scapegoat for last month’s fiasco in Ingushetia. A June 30 article by Igor Plugatarev in Nezavisimaya gazeta cited unnamed sources in the federal ministry of defense who said that Vladimir Putin had summoned Kvashnin for “a very harsh conversation.” The sources claimed that a new post had already been found for Kvashnin: He would be kicked upstairs to become one of the deputies to the secretary of the Kremlin’s Security Council.
Plugatarev noted that even before the raid on Ingushetia, Kvashnin has long been a personal target of Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov. The recent events have given Ivanov a new justification for achieving his goal of Kvashnin’s forced departure. But Kvashnin will not give up without a fight. According to Plugatarev’s sources he hosted a closed gathering on June 29 for all the members of the State Duma’s Defense Committee, using the occasion to lobby the parliamentarians to help convince the Kremlin to keep him in his current job.