The dismissal of Russian Navy Commander Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky was due to his reluctance to comply with an order by Russia’s top military leadership to move the Navy General Staff from Moscow to St. Petersburg, a high-ranking source in the General Staff of the Armed Forces said on Saturday.
Vysotsky, 57, who has occupied the top Navy post for almost five years, was dismissed and replaced with Vice-Admiral Viktor Chirkov, former Baltic Fleet commander, by a presidential decree on May 6.
“Vysotsky has not moved to St. Petersburg. This is the main reason of his dismissal,” the source said.
Boris Gryzlov, then speaker of the Russian parliament’s lower house, proposed back in 2007 moving the Navy General Staff from Moscow to St. Petersburg, where the Navy command was located until the 1917 Russian Revolution. The initiative was promptly supported by Russia’s military leadership.
In early March 2012, the entire Navy command was ordered to move to the northern city.
A military source told RIA Novosti on Saturday Vysotsky was not against the very idea of moving the Navy command, but “insisted that the relocation should be gradual and thought through.”
In 2008, the initiative was estimated to cost the Russian budget between 40 and 50 billion rubles ($1.3-1.6 billion), the source said. This would cover the cost of personnel relocation and the construction of a new command center in St. Pertersburg.