Moscow’s starting to shift blame.
As the Ukrainians gain even more traction after blasting the bridge in Crimea, Russia’s looking for ways to point fingers at anyone other than their supreme leader, Vladimir Putin.
In a rare public announcement, the Russian Defense Ministry said they will remove the general responsible for the “logistics and support of the Armed Forces,” Dmitry Bulgakov. As his replacement, they are appointing Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev. This is the first time, though, that they very openly disclosed personnel changes to the public.
Back in April, Russian Ground Forces were led was Gen. Alexander Dvornikov, a general who’s been in the military for 44 years and was known as a good tactician who led campaigns in Syria and Chechnya. Dvornikov only lasted seven weeks. Then, there was Col. Gen. Andrey Serdyukov, who also has four decades in his belt. Serdyukov led the elite airborne troops but was quickly replaced after most airborne divisions suffered significant losses.
This is one of the ways Moscow politicians are showing Russian citizens that the failure for the past months falls squarely on the generals on the field. It is challenging to pinpoint who is actually leading the Russian forces. Unlike in Ukraine, we all know the “Iron General” Valerii Zaluzhnyi who is revered by the locals and by international military analysts.
“General Zaluzhnyi made a major advance for his fighting forces when he decided to toss out the old Soviet-era doctrine (still used by Russian troops) and allow junior leaders to make decisions in the field. That may be par for the course for Western military forces but not for former Soviet-bloc countries. Allowing junior leader in the field to make their own decisions enables the fighting force to react more quickly to the ever-changing dynamics of the modern battlefield. This gives the Ukrainians flexibility their enemy does not have. It also tends to keep their senior leadership alive longer to do the strategic planning they have been trained to do. As a result, scores of senior Russian military leaders have been killed on the battlefield in places they most likely did not have to be.”
Russian lawmakers like Vasily Piskarev and Andrey Kartapolov have been convening with the lower house of the parliament to reportedly assess the “situation with the supply of the Russian Army.” According to Washington Post, Kartapolove and Piskarev have written letters to conduct an investigation on how financing was wasted on the “rear.”
“It’s necessary to stop lying,” Kartapolov, the defense committee chairman, said, lashing out on Soloviev Live, an online channel run by top state television propagandist Vladimir Soloviev. “Almost all the border villages of the Belgorod Region have been destroyed, but we are learning this from anyone: governors, Telegram channels, military correspondents. But not the Defense Ministry,” Kartapolov said.
At the same time, Ramzan Kadyrov, head of Chechnya, is also asking for answers after he sent his own troops to fight Ukraine.
“The colonel-general deployed mobilized fighters from the Luhansk People’s Republic and other units on all frontiers of the Lyman direction, but did not provide them with communication, did not ensure coordination and a proper supply of ammunition,” Kadyrov said.
Unfortunately, it is just not the politicians who are growing weary of Russia’s continued decline in the war. Soloviev also said during live TV that “lies on every level must be punished most severely.”
“I don’t pretend to know the art of warfare, but what is the genius idea behind the general staff plans now? Do you think time is on our side? [Ukrainians] have concentrated weapons and mercenaries … and what have you done in that time?”
As for who’s actually leading Russians in this war (except for the ragtag Wagner conscripts), there is no official statement yet. Col. Gen. Gennady Zhidko reportedly took over in May as deputy defense minister, but apparently, he only lasted for one month.