A former Russian air commander, who once criticised President Vladimir Putin for running a “third-rate” air force, has been found dead at his home in Stavropol region, according to a report in Newsweek. The body of Lieutenant General Vladimir Sviridov, the former commander of the 6th Air Force and Air Defence Forces Army, was found on Wednesday. The police said that Sviridov was found next to the body of a woman, who is yet to be identified. However, other outlets in Russia claimed it was his wife.
Quoting Russian news agency RIA Novosti, Newsweek said no signs of violent death were found, and that the circumstances of the deaths are being looked into.
“Gas service workers have already taken measurements and no excess of the permissible concentration of harmful substances has been detected,” Metro quoted Russian officials as saying.
The highly-decorated senior military official had complained in an interview with Russian magazine Take Off that the country’s pilots were receiving inadequate training.
“A pilot must have about 100 hours of flight time per year for full combat readiness. However, this is not yet the case. The average flight time in the army is currently 25-30 hours,” he had told the outlet, as per Metro report.
In another interview, he had said, “We are forced to appoint officers who are not fully trained because there are no better ones. For the same reason we are sending to military academies third-ranking pilots. This did not happen in the past.”
Lieutenant General Sviridov was awarded the Order of the Red Star during his career and he became an honoured pilot of Russia.
He had also highlighted low salaries and poor housing being given to Russian pilots, urging Mr Putin to “create normal living conditions for young officers, as well as for all servicemen, so that they can properly perform their service duties”.