Russia’s new leader in Ukraine appears ready for expansion

Russia's new leader in Ukraine appears ready for expansion

France Press agency

NOS News

  • Iris de Graaf

    Russia correspondent

  • Iris de Graaf

    Russia correspondent

Once again the cards are shuffling in the Russian Ministry of Defense: Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Army, has been appointed the new commander of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine. that mentioned RIA Novosti Based on sources within the Russian Defense Ministry. Gerasimov replaces General Sergei Surovikin, who is said to be his deputy.

It is the thousandth change in the leadership of the army in a short time. Surovikin appointed commander of the “special operation” on Oct 8th. This was the day the bridge between Russia and Crimea exploded It was severely damaged. Under Serovikin’s command, Russia then carried out its largest missile attack since the launch of the “special operation” on 24 February. Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has also become a target.


Soerovikin is known as “General Armageddon,” or the general who set the world on fire. The Kremlin hoped to reform the military with Soerovikin and achieve greater success in Ukraine. According to military analysts, Soerovikin slowly managed to better organize and instill more discipline in the army, but he is also associated with pulling out In October the Russian forces from Kherson, one of the biggest defeats for Putin in the past year.

Gerasimov is known as an intelligent and respected general. Russia hopes to turn things around with him. The Russian Ministry of Defense said, in a statement, that “the upgrading of the command of the special military operation” is necessary due to the increasing tasks and goals that the Russian army is trying to achieve, and that there is a need for better coordination between army units. and better control of the armed forces.

Command a one-man army

A number of military bloggers say that in order to achieve victory, it is necessary to have a person at the top who will connect all the “structures”. For example, the military blogger Shurigin wrote on Telegram that there are many separate operations: the Chechen army is fighting under the command of Ramzan Kadyrov, the Wagner mercenary army is fighting under the command of Yevgeny Prigozhin and the official Russian army is fighting under the command of Surovikin.

“From now on, all types of the Russian Armed Forces, from aviation and GROE (intelligence) to the Navy and the Armed Forces of Ukraine, are subordinate to the same person – Gerasimov. Such a union of forces is unprecedented,” Shurygin writes.


Gerasimov, who was thus already the highest-ranking Russian soldier under the head of the Minister of Defense, will gain more power as commander-in-chief of the “special operation” against Ukraine and will henceforth command all the Russian armed forces; In both Russia and Ukraine. The army, the air force and the intelligence services – all under the command of the same man. The Department of Defense hopes this will make the special operation “more efficient”.

But it also seems to mainly refer to leveling up. The concrete form of this remains unclear, but bloggers and military analysts expect to see a new large-scale offensive under Gerasimov’s command soon.

New filling

This raises a lot of questions among ordinary Russians. For example, people are wondering if this automatically means that the entire Russian army will be deployed to fight in Ukraine. Or a new round of mobilization might be announced under Gerasimov.

Rumors of mobilization have been in the air for weeks. For example, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on December 31 that “the Russian authorities will close the borders to men, declare martial law and begin a new wave of mobilization.” The Kremlin denies this, but the appointment of a new general fuels these fears.

It is clear that Gerasimov’s appointment is in line with the military goals of Defense Minister Shoigu and President Putin as they announced in December: to expand the scope of the “special operation” through reforms in the army. Putin’s New Year’s speech also made it clear that there was no turning back: he called on the Russian people to prepare for “heavy sacrifices and a long struggle.” Thus, tougher intervention and expansionism will continue to be the line that Russia is taking at the moment.

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