Putin just dismissed nearly 20 generals

PutinREUTERS/Sergei Ilnitsky/PoolRussia’s President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a ceremony to award World War Two veterans in honour of the upcoming 70th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War at the Kremlin in Moscow, February 20, 2015.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed nearly 20 generals just a day before Moscow was set to host a Victory Day parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany, RIA Novosti reports.

The dismissed generals were dismissed by a presidential decree. Among those dismissed was the Lieutenant General of Police Sergey Lavrov as well as the Head of Media Relations in the Ministry of Internal Affairs Andrei Pilipchuk.

The first deputy commander of the Central regional military command Vladimir Padalko was also dismissed, according to the Gazeta.

The timing of the shakeup is curious. The Kremlin is set to host world leaders for the 7oth anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in Moscow on May 9th. The Victory Day parade features a parade of Russian military equipment and members of the Russian military play a major role in the celebrations.

The dismissals come amid major changes within the Russian military. Putin has made the modernization of the military one of his main priorities, and he signed a new military doctrine in December 2014 that updated the goals of the country’s armed forces.

Armata Tank T-14 RussiaAlexander Zemlianichenko/APRussian military vehicles including the new Russian T-14 Armata tank, center, make their way to Red Square during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade which will take place at Moscow’s Red Square on May 9 to celebrate 70 years after the victory in WWII, in Moscow, Russia, Monday, May 4, 2015.

Central to the Kremlin’s plans are an overhaul of the armed forces and a modernization of military equipment. This modernization includes modernization of Russia’s nuclear arsenal and an overhaul of the navy and air force.

However, sanctions aimed against Russia over Ukraine have caused modernization plans to hit a snag. Russia is now reconsidering how it will afford its military upgrades as well as the scope of its modernization plans.

Against all of this, Putin has been facing increased political pressure at home. The leader of the Chechen region of Russia and Moscow’s internal Federal Security Service are increasingly at odds, raising tensions within the Kremlin as Putin tries to balance power around him.

Elena Holodny contributed to this report.

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