Moscow-backed leader South Ossetian leader Anatoly Bibilov has fired his “defense minister” Ibragim Gasseev. Gasseev’s first deputy, Russian general Viktor Fedorov, was named as acting defense chief.
The dismissal comes as Bibilov grew increasingly dissatisfied with Gasseev over his bid to participate as his challenger in the “presidential elections” of April 10.
Explaining the decision, Bibilov said on February 26 that “the defense ministry should not be left without a leader” amid Ukraine developments while Gasseev gets busy with political endeavors.
According to Tskhinvali-based RES news agency, Bibilov also accused Gasseev of overstepping his authority and disobeying the command.
“A man who cannot obey will never learn to command,” Bibilov argued.
Bibilov has also sacked Gasseev’s deputy Akhsar Gassiev, who oversaw the work with personnel.
Meanwhile, Bibilov has tasked acting military chief Fedorov to monitor the dividing line with Georgia proper.
The South Ossetia leader alleged that — albeit not in the vicinity of the occupied region — there was “a concentration of equipment” by the Georgian authorities.
As per the orders, Fedorov is also set to recall all officers from vacation, as well as to inventory properties, weaponry and equipment and appeal to Russia’s Defense Ministry for assistance.
The Tskhinvali leader previously assigned the S. Ossetian military to barracks on February 24, the day when Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Prior to that, he had tasked now-dismissed Gasseev to review combat readiness on February 24.
Viktor Fedorov had served in the Soviet Armed Forces since 1975, and subsequently in the Russian Armed Forces. In 2011, Fedorov moved to Tskhinvali and worked at the “defense ministry” of the occupied region since.
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