Two Putin allies ridicule Russia’s war machine in public

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The withdrawal of Russian forces from a strategically important town in eastern Ukraine has prompted two powerful allies of President Vladimir Putin to do something rare in modern Russia: publicly ridicule the war machine’s top brass.

Russia’s loss of the bastion of Lyman, which puts western parts of Luhansk region under threat, touched a nerve for Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of the southern Russian republic of Chechnya.

Kadyrov, who has been close to Putin since his father and former president of Chechnya, Akhmad, was killed in a 2004 bomb attack in Grozny that also killed a Reuters photographer, suggested that Russia should consider using a small tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine in response to the loss.

The nuclear warning caught the headlines, but his public scorn for Russia’s top generals may have been just as significant in a Russia where public criticism of the war effort from within the top echelons of the elite has been taboo.

“Nepotism in the army will lead to no good,” Kadyrov said, adding that the commander of Russian forces in the area should be stripped of his medals and sent to the front line with a gun to wash away his shame with blood.

Such public contempt for the generals running Russia’s war is significant because it indicates the level of frustration within Putin’s elite over the conduct of the war while also piercing the Kremlin’s carefully controlled narrative.

Kadyrov, who supports the war and has sent many of his own Chechen units to fight, said his criticism was the bitter truth about a Russian fighting force which he said allowed talentless mediocrities to let down the country.

The defence ministry did not respond to a request for comment. Russian officials say the history of Russian warfare shows that fighting often begins badly until the military can be properly organised. Writing off Russia, they say, is a poor bet.

Asked about Kadyrov’s remarks on using a nuclear weapon, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday: “This is a very emotional moment.”

“The heads of regions have the right to express their point of view,” Peskov told reporters. “Even at difficult moments, emotions should still be excluded from any assessments.”

via Reuters

Once you're here...

%d bloggers like this: