Bizarre Twist: An Ethnic Ukrainian General and Collaborator of the Fascist Right Sector is Replaced as Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief by a Renegade General who was Born and Raised in Russia.

The cover of an October 2022 issue of TIME magazine shows a photo of the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, General Valeriy Zaluzhny. The magazine’s final quote from the “successful” general reads as follows: “Knowing what I know firsthand about the Russians, our victory will not be final. Our victory will be an opportunity to take a breath and prepare for the next war!”

Both Valeriy Zaluzhny and his successor Oleksandr Syrsky failed as military commanders. And what else? A detached civilian leadership and a lack of sober assessment of the situation and strategy will almost inevitably lead to military defeat.

This is what we have been hearing from the Western media for the last two years: Putin is dying, the Russian economy is in ruins, Russian soldiers, unmotivated, poorly trained and ill-equipped, are fleeing the front in Ukraine in droves. Russia is so desperate and evil that it is kidnapping children, that it is making missiles with components from microwave ovens, that it has run out of ammunition, that the shops are empty, that there is a revolution, that the imperialist empire is fighting with shovels, that it is going to invade the Baltic states and Poland, that it is going to attack us with nuclear weapons.

The nightmarish confrontation of a Russophobic NATO leader with a situation that does not correspond to his wishful thinking (Image French President Macron)

A celebrated “successful army chief” named Valery Salushni? – Welcome to the real world!

The loss-making Kherson offensive, the disastrous Bakhmut offensive (where “Ukraine was losing its army, and Russia was losing its prison population”), and the failed summer offensive, “which ran into well-prepared Russians defenses” (Politico), all because of the “successful army chief” – a propaganda myth created by his Western cheerleaders and debunked by the gruesome reality on the battlefield that cost hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian men their lives. 

On December 15, 2022, the war cheerleading “Economist” ran a headline, claiming that “Ukraine’s top soldier runs a different kind of army from Russia’s”, namely a victorious one, which subsequently did not come true, and a year later, shortly before the abrupt end of his military career, Zaluzhny had his views published in the same newspaper under the impressive title, “The commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces on how to win the war.” 

However, Zaluzhny’s realization there that the war should be won less with tanks and artillery and more with drones came a little too late, because the Russian armed forces had already achieved almost complete air supremacy with drones over the front lines, as Russia had multiplied its drone production in an astonishingly short time and was now even producing stealth drones, apart from drones with night vision and thermal imaging technology for observing troops and objects at night.

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Russian information about its drone manufacturing was naturally dismissed as “propaganda” in the West. It took quite a while for Western media such as Reuters to admit that Russia had significantly expanded its drone production. 

A Ukrainian news portal cites the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW), which confirms Russia’s air superiority thanks to its drones.

And then, as President Zelensky became increasingly unpopular and Zaluzhny increasingly popular and was perceived by the former as a real rival on the political stage, the general had to go.

Along with him, Zelensky dismissed numerous other military officials whose “crime” was that they were close associates of Zaluzhny. Important reshufflings and reorganizations of this kind in the middle of an operational crisis are disruptive, the people who know and understand the situation at the front are no longer there, their successors need time to familiarize themselves with their subordinates and the situation, while the Russian troops are in the process of defeating the Ukrainian troops at strategically important Avdiivka and conquering further territories elsewhere.  

Zaluzhny, 50, was only so popular in western Ukraine because he is a likable personality, constantly cracking jokes and playing the buffoon, a comedian almost like Zelensky. Zaluzhny is an ethnic Ukrainian, one of the few Western Ukrainians to have held the highest command and, as a junior officer who only entered the officers’ academy in 2005, had no connections to the Soviet military or Russia. He was characterized by his closeness to the fascist Right Sector, with a large portrait of the Nazi war criminal and national hero Bandera in his office, friends with the leaders of neo-Nazi battalions such as Azov, Svoboda and others. Badges of SS units such as Das Reich, Totenkopf, Galicia and others, which also have blood on their hands, were very popular with the armed forces under his command. Ukrainian armored vehicles bear the insignia of the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany. And, of course, the majority of Western media have remained silent about this.*CCjMSe9pnFaqifdC.jpeg
Valeriy Zaluzhny, former commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, takes a selfie with his idol Stepan Bandera.

From a Ukrainian nationalist commander to a “Russki” commander

Zaluzhny’s successor, General Syrsky, is the exact opposite: he was born in 1965 in the Russian region of Vladimir, where he also grew up. He studied at the Higher Military Command College in Moscow and served as an artillery officer in the Soviet army in Afghanistan in the war against the US-backed Islamists and Mujahideen. In the 1980s, he was officially stationed in the Ukrainian Soviet Republic. 

Syrsky’s parents and brother live in Russia and have criticized him for fighting against Russia. Even his son reproached him for it. The fact that his family is against him will further increase the psychological pressure on him in an environment where Russophobic nationalists are omnipresent and unlikely to accept him. And some may even seek his life.

His personality is also very different from that of his predecessor: Syrsky is a stern, unconditionally grumpy type. He is not known for his sense of humor. He is also considered to be extremely brutal, with no regard for the soldiers he sends to their deaths. For this reason, his troops nicknamed him “General 200” (200 is the military code for killed-in-action) and “the Butcher”.

The Ukrainian forces faced severe setbacks under Syrsky’s command, including the infamous Debaltsev Pocket incident in 2015 and the loss of strategically significant areas like Soledar and Artemovsk in 2022, which resulted in a large number of casualties. When the situation proved hopeless for the Ukrainian army during the Battle of Bakhmut in 2023, Zaluzhny advocated retreat, while Zelensky and Syrsky urged holding the ground and doubling down, resulting in huge human and material losses for the Ukrainian forces, who suffered a devastating defeat.

Wagner PMC mercenaries are trying to advance to the centre of Bakhmut ...
The new commander-in-chief: formerly Aleksandr, now Oleksandr Syrsky, with a Ukrainianized first name, just like Zelensky, born as Vladimir, who is now Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Even “Politico”, a neoconservative mouthpiece and unconditional supporter of NATO’s proxy war against Russia on Ukrainian soil, ran an article entitled “Zelenskyy’s new top commander has a reputation as a ‘butcher’” where it wrote: “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wanted to give his military a shakeup by appointing General Oleksandr Syrskyi as commander-in-chief: many of his troops reacted with despair. ‘Syrskyi will kill us all,’ said one soldier, who like others in this story spoke on condition of being granted anonymity.”

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Ukrainian officer “Tatarigami” wrote on “X”: “General Syrski’s leadership is bankrupt, his presence or orders coming from his name are demoralizing, and he undermines trust in the command in general.  His relentless pursuit of tactical gains constantly depletes our valuable human resources, resulting in tactical advances such as capturing tree lines or small villages, with no operational goals in mind. This approach creates a never-ending cycle of fruitless assaults that drain personnel. His failure to withdraw troops from Bakhmut in a timely manner earlier this year, coupled with his obsession to retake it, by utilizing Wagner Group’s tactics, further depletes our resources and has more far-reaching consequences than people might realize.”

The appointment of a supreme commander with the profile described above will not exactly be a morale booster for troops facing a much larger and better armed army. 

Petty instead of strategic priorities

While Zelensky wanted to win the information war against Russia in the Western media by claiming, among other things, that lost battles had been victorious, which did not show foresight, and Zaluzhny was also gladly courted by Western media, strategic military leadership was neglected. 

The Ukrainian forces were overstretched along the long front line and did not concentrate overwhelming force on a few strategic breakthrough points in the Russian defensive line. And while Russia regularly retreated tactically to avoid heavy losses in men and materiel, the Ukrainian commanders sent human wave after wave after wave against the heavily fortified Russian defenses, turning them into a meat grinder for the Ukrainians. And they never seemed to learn from their mistakes.

Crucially, this wisdom, attributed to Mao Zedong, was heeded by the Russians as much as it was disregarded by their Ukrainian opponents:

 “Keep men, lose land; land can be taken again. Keep land, lose men; land and men are both lost”

What will be left after NATO’s Ukrainian personnel have been senselessly killed in its proxy war?