Reshuffling the Russian Navy

Vice Admiral Viktor Chirkov is the new Head Commander of the Russian Navy. Photo: Wikipedia

On his last day in the Kremlin, Dmitry Medvedev appointed Viktor Chirkov new Head Commander of the Navy.


With the decree signed on the 6th of May, Medvedev replaced Vladimir Vysotskii with Viktor Chirkov, the Vice Admiral which the last three years has headed the country’s Baltic Fleet.

In a comment to RIA Novosti, Chirkov highlights the importance ”to build the fleet with support from the President and his people”.

The reason for the reshuffle is not clear. However, Admiral Vysotskii is 57 years old and might simply have reached his natural retirement age. Possibly, the dismissal might also be linked with the political changes in the Kremlin, as well as with the major reforms currently unfolding in the Russian Armed Forces. Russia is investing huge sums in the modernization and strengthening of its military and the Navy plays a key strategic role in the ambitious plans.

Several of the new nuclear submarines currently under construction at the Sevmash yard in Severodvinsk, northern Russia, have been significantly delayed and the highly advanced new Buleva missile system remains a challenge. The Navy leaders have also faced major problems with harmonizing relations with the major shipyards, among them the Sevmash and Zvezdochka yards.

Admiral Vysotsky, who has headed the Navy since 2007, also had to take responsibility for the critical fire at the ”Yekaterinburg” nuclear sub in late December 2011.

During his presidency, Dmitry Medvedev dismissed a number of military leaders. Also in his last days as president, Medvedev made several major changes in the upper echelons of the Ministry of Defence. Among the changes was the removal of Aleksandr Zelin from the post as head commander of the Air Force to the post as Deputy Minister of Defence, Rossiiskaya Gazeta reports.