Russia’s war: Gerasimov appointed Ukraine commander
Russland’s invading troops in the Ukraine are now led by Chief of General Staff Valeriy Gerasimov. This follows from a statement by the Russian Ministry of Defense on Wednesday evening. Minister Sergey Shoygu appointed Gerasimov. Accordingly, the 67-year-old Gerasimov should retain his position as chief of staff, which he has held for more than ten years. Sergey Surovikin, who was only appointed invasion force commander in October, is now one of Gerasimov’s three deputies.
The Department of Defense presented the personnel decisions as “raising the level of leadership of the special military operation”, like the War of Russia is further mentioned. This “increase” in turn is related to “the expansion of the scope of the tasks to be solved in the context of their implementation”. Added to this is “the need to organize closer cooperation between the types and types of troops in the armed forces” and to improve “the quality” of the effectiveness of the leadership of the invading forces.
Moscow is sticking to familiar cadres
Their first commander, whose appointment had been made public at all, had been a Surovikin. Under his command, Russia began systematic attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. In addition, Surovikin completed the withdrawal from Cherson after President Wladimir Putin had just annexed the southern Ukrainian territory. This fueled suspicions that Putin was trying to create a “scapegoat” for military setbacks.
Chief of Staff Gerasimov, like Minister Shoygu, was among the military leaders who were sharply criticized by pro-war bloggers and actors such as mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. Rumors that Gerasimov had even been fired as chief of staff had not been confirmed. Recently it was reported that another general, Alexandr Lapin, who was involved in Ukraine – namely in the failed storming of Kyiv and Donbass – and criticized by the same circles, had been appointed chief of staff of the Russian infantry troops. As a result, Russian media reported that Lapin had been relieved of his post as head of part of the invasion force.
This has not been officially confirmed, nor has the report about Lapin’s alleged new use. However, Moscow’s personnel decisions speak again and again that the familiar cadres are being retained. Getting fired would mean admitting mistakes, which reflects badly on leadership.