In the Telegram channel of the deputy, member of the State Duma Defense Committee Andrei Gurulev, an audio message appeared, as indicated - the commander of the 58th combined arms army of the Southern Military District of the Russian Armed Forces, Major General Ivan Popov with the call sign "Spartak" to the military. Popov said that he was removed from command after he expressed his claims “at the very top” and “outlined all the problematic issues” of the army. According to Popov, Sergei Shoigu's order to remove him "was concocted in one light day."
“Good night, my beloved gladiators, beloved, relatives, one family. I had to collect my thoughts, a lot of things happened in the last two days. Now we can say this with confidence. I was taken into custody, removed from my post, Lieutenant General Lyamin arrived, and took command. I am waiting for my further military fate, its change, receiving some kind of proposal for further service.
I have been honest with you from the very beginning. I shortened all distances with all the gladiators of the army - from the soldier to the marshal. In our case, up to the chief of staff, Major General Medvedev, because we die the same way, we fight the same way, everyone is scared, hurt and hard the same way. Didn't make any difference. Therefore, I honestly tell you that a difficult situation arose with the senior authorities, when it was necessary either to remain silent and cowardly and hide what they did not want to hear, or to call a spade a spade. In the name of you, in the name of the dead of all our combat friends, I had no right to lie, therefore, I outlined all the problematic issues that exist today in the army in terms of combat work and support. He called everything by its proper name. He focused on the most important tragedy of modern warfare - this is the lack of counter-battery combat, the absence of artillery reconnaissance stations and the mass death and injury of our brothers from enemy artillery.
He also raised a number of other problems, expressed it at the highest level - frankly, extremely harshly. In this regard, apparently the senior commanders sensed some kind of danger in me and quickly concocted an order from the Minister of Defense in one light day, took me out of the location and got rid of me. As many commanders of the regiments of the division said today, the military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine could not break through our army from the front, our senior commander hit us from the rear, treacherously and vilely decapitating the army at the most difficult and tense moment.
The day before, on July 11, a Storm Shadow missile flew into the Berdyansk hotel "Dune", where the command headquarters of the Russian 58th Army was supposedly located, resulting in the death of Lieutenant General Oleg Tsokov. A number of Telegram channels reported that Tsokov died by accident, and Major General Ivan Popov was supposed to be the real target - allegedly in this way the command of the RF Armed Forces gets rid of unwanted people. Tsokov, on the other hand, was "in the wrong place at the wrong time."
At the same time, information from the Institute for the Study of War ISW appeared that Popov was removed from the post of commander of the 58th Army for reporting to Valery Gerasimov on the need for rotation among the units of the formation entrusted to him for a long time on the front line (namely, the positions of the 58th Army, in particular 42nd motorized rifle division, have been storming the forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Zaporozhye direction for more than a month). Gerasimov, on the other hand, reportedly got angry and accused Popov of blackmail (because he threatened to go directly to Putin) and panicking.