The Motherland does not take defeat well – and neither does Vladimir Putin.
Despite having organized a fairly efficient retreat from the city of Kherson, Colonel General Sergei “General Armageddon” Surovikin is on a short leash right now – evidence that no amount of titles can compensate for a lackluster performance.
As Reuters recently reported, Russian war hawks – including several influential military bloggers – are anxious to overcome the multiple humiliations they’ve suffered at the hands of the odds-defying Ukrainians.
“What are we spilling our blood for? Why can Zelensky calmly come to Kherson?” blogger Vladlen Tatarsky barked to his million-plus followers on the app Telegram. “Symbolically it would have been great if a Geran [drone] had landed on his stupid head but it didn’t happen. Why? Either we fight a full-on war or…nothing will work out.”
Another hawk, TV personality Vladimir Solovyov, issued his own demand:
“I appeal to the Hero of Russia Army General Surovikin: Comrade Army General, I ask you to complete the total destruction of energy infrastructure of the Nazi Ukrainian junta.”
Solovyov might sound like an extremist, but such a statement is actually not far out of the mainstream thinking: Putin’s regime has been promoting the false narrative that the Ukrainian leadership is rife with Nazis for a long time now.
And Surovikin’s nickname – “General Armageddon” – derives from his reputation for brutality.
He’s been living up to it – pounding Ukrainian infrastructure, including electrical facilities, in order to make life miserable for the civilians there.
Before taking the top command spot for the Russkies in the current war, Surovikin was their #1 guy in Syria (for which he won the “Hero of Russia” medal that Solovyov referenced) and then the commander of Russia’s aerospace forces.
A report issued earlier this month from supporters of jailed anti-Putin activist Aleksei Navalny details how Surovikin may have enriched himself from Syrian mine operations while in command there.
After the report was issued, files on the general and his family were restricted as “classified.”
Tactically, Surovikin’s retreat from Kherson made sense, as Putin’s forces were in danger of being overwhelmed.
Nonetheless, if a victory of some sort is not achieved soon, the general may find himself quickly replaced.
If that happens, he might have to make sure anything he eats after that isn’t radioactive.
And maybe don’t stand too close to any windows at that point either, general, as those who disappoint Putin have a habit of meeting their ends through terrible accidents.
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