Putin is trying to make a final push: What the return of Gerasimov will change

16 January, 05:40 PM
Putin is trying to make a final push and turn the tide of the war in his favor by appointing Valery Gerasimov to lead military operations in Ukraine (Photo:Sputnik/Mikhail Kuravlev/Kremlin via REUTERS)

Putin is trying to make a final push and turn the tide of the war in his favor by appointing Valery Gerasimov to lead military operations in Ukraine (Photo:Sputnik/Mikhail Kuravlev/Kremlin via REUTERS)

This will be a tough fight

The castling of Russian military command will not lead to a change in their overall strategy for the war. However, it could lead to a change in their military’s operational situation.

Firstly, the move suggests that Putin is trying to make what is likely a final push to turn the tide of the war in his favor, and that he has instructed Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the Russian General Staff, to lead military operations in Ukraine. Putin hopes that this appointment will change the system of leadership, but this is hardly likely.

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Secondly, these reshuffles are always an attempt to change the balance on the scales of the political arena. It is, let’s say, a reconsideration of the power of certain groups’ influence. Putin sees that Yevgeny Prigozhin is trying to strengthen his position with the help of Sergei Surovikin. According to  statements by Prigozhin himself, we see that it is "exclusively PMC Wagner that is involved in the attack on Soledar." Putin is thus trying to change the levers of influence on power. He is trying to show that he is able to control these influence groups.

Thirdly, the emergence of private military companies, especially at the front, suggests that it is  not only Prigozhin who will participate in the distribution of power in post-war Russia. It turns out that there are many such aspirants. Such a redistribution of power would be bloody, judging by the fact that each of these characters who have PMCs under their command will try to influence this redistribution of power by force. That is, all of this does not bode well for Russia, of course. Castling their military command will not bring significant changes, since everything is determined not only by the person who is at the helm there, but also by the resources available. And these resources are dwindling.

Such a redistribution of power will be bloody in post-war Russia

It is worth it for us to expect a strengthening of Russian offensive operations due to the fact that a new offensive grouping is being prepared, with Gerasimov at its head. The fact that this group will not have a powerful potential is unequivocally clear. Its strength exists exclusively in its numbers. This is what they are trying to crush us with. Our command (judging by the remarks of our leaders), is ready for this pressure. We are not counting on an easy victory, of course. It will be a tough fight. But we will withstand it.

Unfortunately, the armored assistance announced by our Western allies over the past 10 days has not been timely. The help, as always, is late. The aid we are receiving is largely reactive, and not provided in order to proactively prevent certain events. We see that air defense systems also began being delivered after missile strikes began to generally decline, even though we asked for these assets at the very beginning. That tanks are still coming in in the wrong quantity and at the wrong pace.

But this is neither good nor bad. It is necessary to consider that our partner countries have their own national interests, and they will not elevate Ukrainian interests above them. This must be accounted for, and it must be taken as a given. It's good that we have friends, and it's good that we have partners. The multibillion-dollar assistance that is being provided to us is unprecedented, but the fact that it is not unlimited must be taken into account. We have requests for military assistance, and we fully receive what we ask for. But since neither Ukraine, nor the West, nor Russia itself were ready for this war, they have had to rearrange their economy on the go and place new orders in accordance with Ukrainian requests. This is all a matter of timing. That is, our partners right now (other than the United States) cannot take and remove everything from their reserves. They don't have much stock. We know that in recent years, before the war, and since the end of the Cold War in general, there has been a disarmament in Europe. It was done in the hope that Russia would be good, that it would become democratic, and that a market economy would prevail there. But all these hopes turned out not to be justified.

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