The Wagner uprising four weeks earlier shook Russia. Since then, the Kremlin has been cracking down on the military. A military expert explains the situation of Wagner’s chief Prigozhin and the missing General Surovkin.
After the Wagner uprising a month earlier, the Russian military remains a focus for the Kremlin. Distrust is high, commanders are being fired, and meanwhile high-ranking General Sergei Surovkin continued to disappear without a trace.
And although Wagner’s boss Yevgeny Prigozhin has fallen out of favor since his aborted “March to Moscow,” he appears unimpressed. Russia And move Belarus.
How will the Russian military elite survive and why does the army face such enormous problems in the future? Ukraine explains András Rácz, military and defense expert at the German Association for Foreigners Policy in Berlin.
t-online: It’s been a month since Wagner’s boss Yevgeny Prigozhin rebelled. Since then, the Kremlin has cracked down on the Russian military. How weak is Putin’s army?
Andras Ratch: In essence, the rebellion brought long-standing problems to the surface. Immediately after this, at least 15 generals were arrested or released, including General Sergei Surovikin, who has since disappeared. For something like this to happen during an ongoing war is extraordinarily problematic.
In addition, three military personnel have recently died, among them the chief of staff of the 35th Army, the commander of Russian operations around Zaporizhia. All this confuses the Russian army even more.
One regularly hears complaints from Russian soldiers about poor supplies and equipment. Where do the problems of the Kremlin forces come from?
Cooperation between branches of the armed forces is weak. Communication between ground forces and artillery and between ground forces and air forces Sometimes it is disastrous. This is also a reason for the heavy losses of the Russians in the battle.
Andras Ratch Senior Research Fellow of the German Association for External Relations (DGAP). There he researches Russia’s foreign, security and defense policy, and Russia’s relations with post-Soviet states and Central Europe On the foreign and security policy of Belarus.
Where did this appear in particular?
fight for Kyiv At the beginning of the war, all the army’s weaknesses were exposed: the war was really poorly planned, the intelligence work was insufficient, and to this day Putin is being reported with embellished figures. This attack on Kiev was like a suicide mission, but completely insane in reality. The problem is: So far, the army has not succeeded in eradicating these violations.
The Kremlin is trying new appointments. The Supreme Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine has already changed four times. Valery Gerasimov followed Sergey Surovikin last.
The fact that responsibilities change frequently also shows serious structural problems at the leader level. Surovikin stayed only four months. Gerasimov came in January. Surovkin was demoted to his deputy. In addition, at the start of the war about a dozen generals had been killed in action. This also affects the efficiency of the units.
Also, at the beginning of the war, there was no unified command structure for Ukraine. There was the Western Military District commanded by Western military units. So is the southern region. A comprehensive structure was established only in the second half of last year.
Surovikin continued to be an influential general in the Air Force after his time in Ukraine. It turned out to be a sympathizer of the “Moscow March”. Since then he has disappeared. Does he have a future in Russia?
I think the military position is out of the question. He was an effective leader in Ukraine. He didn’t make any major mistakes. But if he returns, he will not be in the army. Maybe as a Member of Parliament. This is not unusual in Russia.
Commander Ivan Popov had to go last. He commanded the 58th Army, was popular and was also considered militarily successful.
Popov is an experienced commander. But Gerasimov could not overlook his “disobedience” within the chain of command. At first, Popov criticized internally that the artillery was working poorly and there were too many dead on the Russian side. He threatened to go straight to Putin, bypassing his superiors, if he did not listen. Gerasimov kicked him out. Then he recorded this audio message with his frank criticism.