And the reasons why he fired them are shockingAt first I blew this story off because I did not believe it. Evidently, the U.S./Nato/whoever got enough plants into the Baltic fleet to make its entire command structure, in the eyes of Putin, "unreliable and of divided interest". Translation: They were not following orders of aggression against American forces in the Baltics.
As it turns out, the near-miss fly by incidents that happened earlier this year involving the Russian aircraft and U.S. warships were ordered directly by Putin. Then Naval commanders in the Baltics started defying orders to do so. And Putin was not interested in playing games. So he fired a shocking 50 commanders, which amounted to virtually the entire top command of the Baltic fleet, and replaced them with people who would follow orders. Evidently, when the commanders stopped obeying orders to confront the U.S., Putin saw that as them being infiltrated and of divided interest, so he purged them all.
Quite a hard story to believe, but I am saying it now because it ended up being true. It is being described in the Russian media as a "Stalin style purge", and at the top of this purge were Vice Admiral Viktor Kravchuk and his chief of staff Rear Admiral Sergei Popov. All of this was done because Putin wants a Navy that will act aggressively when told to do so, and FOLLOW ORDERS.
If anything can signal the fact that Putin believes an upcoming war with the U.S. is inevitable, this would have to be it. I'll take that prospect seriously now, it is not all just smoke and puff anymore.