A series of defeats in Ukraine, where the Russian army is retreating under the onslaught of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and the losses have reached such proportions that instead of professionals they decided to mobilize citizens to the front, intensified the search for a “scapegoat” among officials of the country’s military leadership.
After the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, criticized top army officials and was supported by businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who recently admitted ties with the Wagner PMC, work began on a possible review of personnel in the General Staff, said Ura.ru Member of the State Duma Defense Committee Viktor Zavarzin.
According to him, there are disputes about the possible replacement of Valery Gerasimov, an army general, a hero of Russia, who has headed the General Staff for almost 10 years.
“The candidates are called different,” Zavarzin said. – During the war, everything can be – and the change of personnel, too. Undoubtedly, enterprising, hardened, competent personnel with an analytical mind will appear.
According to the deputy, the leadership “sees problems on the ground.” “It gives commanders the opportunity to realize themselves by appointing them to serious areas. But an illiterate approach will not work here. I am sure that we are already working in this direction (revision of personnel),” Zavarzin stressed.
It is the General Staff that determines all the actions of the Russian army, and not the commanders on the ground, and the questions voiced by Prigozhin and Kadyrov are in its area of responsibility, Deputy Sergei Obukhov supported Zavarzin
“It’s hard to say that everything is going according to plan, after news from the Izyum front and what is happening now near Kherson. It is unlikely that this was part of the plans of the General Staff, ”he explained.
Analysts at the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) believethat the most likely candidate for a flight would still not be Gerasimov, a professional military man who went through the Chechen war, but the head of the Ministry of Defense, Sergei Shoigu, a civil engineer by training, who never served in the army.
ISW points to the features of a unified campaign in the criticism of the Ministry of Defense by the head of Kadyrov, Prigozhin and the State Duma, as well as in the words of Putin himself.
On October 5, the President publicly stressed that the Ministry of Defense did not “timely” make adjustments to the mobilization procedure and did not provide a deferment to students. Therefore, Putin had to personally resolve this issue by an additional decree.
“This direct criticism of the Ministry of Defense is also an implicit criticism of Shoigu, whom Putin seems to be setting up to take the blame for the failures of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine,” write ISW analysts.
However, Putin will refrain from firing Shoigu “for as long as he can,” analysts say. This will allow him to blame Shoigu for the ongoing military failures and gain support from other factions. The problem is that a possible replacement for Shoigu will have to take responsibility for future defeats.
But the potential candidate is not embarrassed. Shoigu’s replacement as Minister of Defense may be Putin’s former security guard, Tula Governor Alexei Dyumin, wrote Meduza, citing a source close to the presidential administration. According to them, Dyumin had a difficult relationship with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who at one time persuaded Putin to “exile” him to Tula. Now Dyumin expects that against the backdrop of failures in Ukraine, he will be able to return to the Ministry of Defense as head of the department.
Kadyrov and Prigozhin support Dyumin’s candidacy for the post of minister, but the possibility of a personnel reshuffle looks unlikely so far, although it is being discussed, the sources say. According to them, Putin remains “conservative in personnel decisions” and will not fire Shoigu while the Defense Ministry is under the blow of public criticism.