VLADIMIR Putin’s favorite “General Armageddon” commander lives a lavish life paid for in “blood-soaked” millions, investigators have told The Sun Online.
Sergey Surovikin, 56, cultivates a ruthless hardman image befitting his nickname – he sports a shaved head and a stern scowl – and he is responsible for Russia’s stalled campaign in Ukraine.
But behind his image as a hardened general is a “crook and crook” who has stuffed his bulging pockets with “blood-soaked” money – and is living the big life with his glamorous wife, Anna.
Putin’s top general earned his chilling nickname for his bloody role in Syria, when forces he commanded killed thousands of civilians.
Not only did he kill civilians with gas, barrel bombs and other horror weapons, but he also made his fortune here, investigators with the Russian Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF) told The Sun Online.
General Armageddon took over the faltering war in Ukraine in October, fearing he would use the tactics he was using in Syria to lay siege to the country.
And the new investigation has unearthed the brutal general’s murky business deals and how they allegedly funded a lifestyle far beyond his means.
The war in Syria was an opportunity for Putin and his friends to make money, according to the ACF, which was founded by leading opposition figure Alexei Navalny.
Surovikin lined his pockets so much that he and his wife bought a £2.7million mansion on a garishly fake ‘English estate’ in Russia.
The money he earned also reportedly helped pay for a massive palace being built for Putin, complete with a lap-dancing cave, casino and tunnel leading to a private beach.
Maria Pevchikh, an ACF investigator who has investigated Surovikin’s money-making activities in Syria, said that far from being a patriotic warrior, he was simply a “crook and crook”.
“I don’t know what other terms to use for a person who makes a living from destroying cities and killing civilians,” she told The Sun Online.
“He is corrupt and interested in his business rather than serving the country and his motivation is personal enrichment and the enrichment of his family.
“We wanted to destroy the image that he is this honorable officer fighting for his beliefs and we wanted to show people that this is a lie.”
When he got to Syria, Surovikin did business with Gennady Timchenko, one of Putin’s closest friends, who paid for the construction of the tyrant’s massive palace on the Black Sea coast.
The couple made money when the regime of brutal dictator Bashar al-Assad gave Timchenko’s company exclusive rights to mine and export phosphates from two deposits near Palmyra.
His money is very blood-soaked
While not glamorous, phosphates are an extremely lucrative business and there is a huge global demand for their use in fertilizers for growing crops.
At the time, Palmyra was an Islamic State stronghold, but Surovikin used his troops to cleanse it.
He then used mercenaries from the bloodthirsty Wagner Group, who were acting as Russian group troops in Syria, as security to take the goods out of the country, it is said.
Timchenko’s company paid Surovikin’s wife Anna £1.15million through a sawmill company she controlled, according to documents revealed by the ACF.
During his time in Syria, Surovikin oversaw a relentless attack on clinics, hospitals and civilian infrastructure in rebel-held Idlib in 2019.
The 11-month campaign “demonstrated a callous disregard for the lives of some 3 million civilians in the region,” Human Rights Watch said.
“His money is very blood-soaked,” Pevchikh said.
Who is General Armageddon?
Sergei Surovikin first made a name for himself in an attempted military coup in 1991.
Troops under his command killed three pro-democracy protesters when they saw him spend several months in detention.
The charges against him were eventually dropped, but his reputation rose during his time behind bars.
Surovikin was suspended in 1995 after being accused of illegally selling a gun to a colleague, but those charges were dropped too.
He continued to command troops during the brutal war in Chechnya, where he threatened to kill three insurgents for every soldier he killed.
In 2004 he allegedly beat up one of his soldiers because of his political views, the Institute for War Research says, but the soldier later withdrew the charge.
In the same year, a colonel is said to have shot himself after being summoned to a dressing by Surovikin.
In 2015, he was deployed to the country in Syria as commander of the Russian Air Force, although he had no experience in this field.
He lived up to his reputation for ruthlessness as he oversaw the aerial obliteration of much of the Syrian city of Aleppo.
The general was presented by Putin with the Hero of Russia medal – the country’s highest decoration – for his service in Syria.
He was promoted to army general in 2021 – one of only a handful of Russian officers to achieve such a rank – and later this summer assigned to troops in southern Ukraine.
British intelligence officials said his career “has been dogged by allegations of corruption and brutality”.
The general and his wife then used the money to fund a lifestyle far beyond what he could expect from a military salary.
They bought a £2.7million mansion in the ParkVille estate near Moscow, records show.
Eyebrows were raised as their combined earnings averaged around £100,000 a year over the previous five years.
The massive property includes a swimming pool, gym, 40sqm master bedroom, two car garage and separate servants’ quarters.
Pevchikh believes the money the general and his wife received could be far higher than records show.
“From my assessment of how this works, I’m pretty sure this is the tip of the iceberg, and it looks like there’s some kind of framework agreement in place that Surovikin will be receiving these types of payments on a regular basis,” she said .
“We see them two years in a row and they could now choose another channel to handle these payments, but it looks like Surovikin is on Timchenko’s payroll.”
The couple attended a 2022 New Year’s circus party with some of Putin’s closest spin doctors and propagandists.
They include warmonger spokesman Dmitry Peskov and head of the state-funded news agency RT Margarita Simonyan.
The house was sold last year and all records of their ownership have now been erased from official records.
But the war not only made Surovikin rich, but his deals also helped line the pockets of Vladimir Putin himself.
Wherever Timchenko makes money, Putin gets a cut, and he’s helped pay for the Russian tyrant’s massive Black Sea palace, Pevchikh says.
Leaked images of its opulent interior show a red velvet boudoir for pole dancing, said to be for the exclusive use of the Kremlin’s strongman and his cronies.
The huge palace was secretly built near Gelendzhik on the Black Sea coast on the Praskoveevka estate – reportedly 39 times the size of Monaco.
It includes a 260-foot bridge that leads to a tea house that is itself 26,000 square feet.
The ACF summarizes General Armageddon’s career: “Some fight to the last ditch while others grow rich. Surovikin is the embodiment of this saying.”
Surovikin’s lifestyle might come as a shock to outsiders, but Pevchikh says it’s common for Russian generals to line their own pockets.
“The Russian military elite is insanely corrupt – you just have to look at their assets, their cars, the palaces they build for themselves and their mistresses,” she said.
“These people disclose their official salary, but we know that their salary will not be enough to buy a tenth of what they actually own.
“Compared to most government officials, they live like kings and sheikhs. In the case of Surovikin, I’m just adding him to the other corrupt generals.
“Whoever works to support Putin’s team, they all do it for money.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6992205/corrupt-general-armageddon-mansion-putin-palace/ Into blood-soaked millions and the lavish life of Putin’s cronie ‘General Armageddon’ who paid for Vlad’s plush palace