Russia, failed winter attack: Gerasimov risks his job, his scenario

Analysts do not rule out a new reshuffle at the top military. Meanwhile, the army grapples with indiscipline: deaths from alcohol and accidents

Russia’s winter attack on Ukraine has not produced the desired results. And now General Valery Gerasimov, commander of the Moscow military machine, is risking his job. “Russian, Ukrainian and Western sources note that the Russian winter offensive has failed to achieve the Kremlin’s goals of occupying all Donetsk and Luhansk regions by March 31,” the Institute for the Study of War tweeted. , according to whom the failure of the Russian winter offensive is likely paving the way for another reshuffle at the top of the military commands.

The ISW recalls that Vladimir Putin regularly restructured his military leadership during the war, either because he was dissatisfied with progress on the ground or to consolidate the Kremlin’s political control over the fighting forces. General Gerasimov took personal command of the invasion in a reshuffle in January, with a mandate to occupy the whole of Donbass, but Russia made only marginal gains while losing tens of thousands of lives.

In the context of the Russian invasion, other elements must be highlighted which show a lack of organization and efficiency. Among the 200,000 Russian victims following the invasion of Ukraine, “a significant minority of these were due to causes not related to combat” and in particular for reasons related to alcohol abuse. This was reported – in the daily intelligence update – by the British Ministry of Defense which recalls how last March 27 “a Russian Telegram news channel reported an ‘extremely high’ number of accidents, crimes and deaths related to alcohol consumption among Russian forces deployed” in Ukraine. “Other leading causes of non-combat casualties – it is recalled – probably include drills with substandard weapons, traffic accidents and climatic injuries such as hypothermia”.

UK intelligence observes how the same “Russian commanders identify the widespread abuse of alcohol as particularly harmful to combat effectiveness. However, given that excessive alcohol consumption is widespread in a large part of Russian society”, this abuse “is been long seen as a tacitly accepted component of military life, even in combat operations”.