Russias war machine is being ridiculed by two Putin allies

Russia’s war machine is being ridiculed by two Putin allies

  • Chechen leader Kadyrov scolds top generals
  • Prigozhin: Top Brass should fight in front
  • Russian state television behave

LONDON, Oct 3 (Portal) – The withdrawal of Russian forces from a strategic city in eastern Ukraine has prompted two powerful allies of President Vladimir Putin to do something rare in modern Russia: publicly ridicule the top brass of the war machine .

Russia’s loss of the Lyman bastion, which threatens western parts of the Luhansk region, has struck a chord with Ramzan Kadyrov, leader of southern Russia’s Chechen Republic.

Kadyrov, who has been close to Putin since his father and former Chechen President Akhmad was killed in a 2004 bombing in Grozny that also killed a Portal photographer, suggested Russia use a small tactical nuclear weapon in response in Ukraine to consider a loss.


The nuclear warning made headlines, but his public disdain for Russia’s top generals may have been just as important in a Russia where public criticism of the war effort from the upper echelons of the elite was taboo.

“Nepotism in the army will not lead to anything good,” Kadyrov said, adding that the commander of Russian forces in the region should have his medals stripped and be sent to the front with a gun to wash away his shame with blood.

Such public contempt for the generals waging Russia’s war is significant because it indicates the extent of frustration within Putin’s elite over the warfare, while also permeating the Kremlin’s carefully controlled narrative.

Kadyrov, who has supported the war and has sent many of his own Chechen units into the fray, said his criticism was the bitter truth about a Russian force that has allowed untalented mediocrity to desert the country.

The Department of Defense did not respond to a request for comment. Russian officials say the history of Russian warfare shows that battles often start off badly until the military can be properly organized. Writing off Russia, they say, is a bad bet.

When asked about Kadyrov’s statements on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “It’s a very emotional moment.”

“The heads of the regions have the right to express their point of view,” Peskov told reporters. “Emotions should be excluded from any evaluation, even in difficult moments.”


More than seven months after a war that killed tens of thousands and sparked the greatest confrontation with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, even Russia’s most basic wartime goals are far from being achieved.

The massive army of a former superpower was humiliated on the battlefield by a much smaller Ukrainian force, backed with arms, intelligence and advice from Western powers led by the United States.

In a fresh setback for Moscow on Monday, a Russian-installed official confirmed Ukrainian advances along the west bank of the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine’s Kherson region, one of four regions Putin claimed last week to have annexed.

Defeats in Ukraine could weaken Putin, said Tatiana Stanovaya, nonresident researcher at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“By September, the Russian elites had made the pragmatic decision to support Putin as a guarantor against defeat,” Stanovaya said

“But things have progressed to the point where they may now have to choose between different loss scenarios. That makes Putin much more vulnerable because he might just find himself and the elites agreeing on different scenarios.”

Putin accuses the West of trying to use Ukraine to destroy Russia itself, but says Moscow will prevail there with its “military special operation.”

In an emotional interview with a pro-Kremlin radio host on Saturday, Andrey Gurulyov, a retired general and State Duma member of Putin’s United Russia party, said he could not explain Lyman’s fall. He then said the troops defending the city had been doomed by “a system … of constant lying” that saw problems within the Russian military covered up by superiors.

On Russian state television, humility seemed to creep into the usual chauvinist rhetoric.

“I would really like that we attack Kyiv and take it tomorrow, but I know that partial mobilization will take some time,” said the presenter Vladimir Solovyov on state TV Rossiya 1.

“It won’t be easy for us for a while. We shouldn’t count on good news right now.”


Chechnya’s Kadyrov said he raised the possibility of a defeat at Lyman two weeks ago with Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the Russian General Staff, but Gerasimov dismissed the idea.

Gerasimov, 67, is the third most powerful man in the Russian military after Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Shoigu gave Gerasimov the highest military post just days after his appointment as defense minister in 2012.

“I don’t know what the Defense Ministry is reporting to the Supreme Commander (Putin), but in my personal opinion more drastic measures should be taken,” said Kadyrov, who shed tears for the fallen at a ceremony in the Kremlin last week, speaking to Russia officially annexed the four Ukrainian regions.

When asked about Kadyrov’s statements, the powerful founder of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, congratulated the Chechen leader.

“Ramzan – you rockers!” Prigozhin, known as Putin’s chef due to his company’s Kremlin catering deals, said in a statement. “All these bastards should be sent to the front barefoot with automatic weapons.”

When asked whether his words should be taken as criticism of the Defense Ministry, Prigozhin doused his response with irony: “God forbid.”

“These comments are not criticism, just a manifestation of love and support,” said Prigozhin, who, according to the United States, leads a mercenary army that has dabbled in conflicts in Africa and Syria.

“I, and even more so Ramzan Akhmatovitch, are the most cultured people,” Prigozhin said, using Kadyrov’s patronymic as a mark of respect.


Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge Edited by Gareth Jones

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