The brevity of Surovikin's command meanwhile points to Putin's growing impatience


  • Karakulov and his family escaped on Oct. 14, the last day of his work trip
  • He said he threw off any suspicions after claiming he was suffering from stomach pains
  • Karakulov said he decided to leave the Kremlin on the same day Russia invaded Ukraine

A former officer with President Vladimir Putin's elite Federal Guard Service (FSO) has successfully escaped from Moscow while accompanying the Russian leader on a work trip in Kazakhstan.

In a sweeping interview with The Dossier Center published Tuesday, former FSO captain and engineer Gleb Karakulov said he traveled to Astana, Kazakhstan in early October to accompany Putin to three events, namely the VI Summit of the Conference on Engagement and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, a meeting of the Council of the CIS Heads of State, and the Russia-Central Asia Summit.

On Oct. 14, the last day of Putin's business trip to Astana, Karakulov met with his daughter and wife near a hotel where he and his FSO colleagues were staying. To avoid suspicion, he said he texted his colleagues that he would not be able to go souvenir shopping with them after work due to bad stomach cramps. He and his family later set off for the airport at about 3 p.m. local time but found that the flight was delayed until 5 p.m.

When asked why he did not simply quit his job, Karakulov said he feared that he would be conscripted to the Russian army and deployed to the war in Ukraine if he attempted to leave his post, forcing him to choose to escape instead.

Karakulov also added that he left the Kremlin because he knew he would commit "a crime in human terms" if he stayed in Russia. He noted that he decided to quit his post on Feb. 24 of last year — the same day Putin launched his full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

"In February 2022 a criminal war broke out, and I could no longer make compromises with myself. I couldn't remain in the service of this President. I consider him a war criminal. Even though I am not directly involved in the war, it is no longer possible for me to carry out his criminal orders or stay in his service," he said.

The interview was conducted late last year and was only published this week after ensuring that Karakulov and his family are in a safe location.

The course was launched after the Kremlin announced mobilisition of hundreds of thousands of men