Putin could have quietly eliminated the generals responsible for the failures near Ugledar and Kremennaya – ISW
The commanders of the Russian army who are responsible for the offensive in the area of Vogledar and Kremennaya could be fired. All because of failed actions and insane losses.
Rumors about the departure on March 27 from the post of commander of the Eastern Group of Russian troops, Colonel-General Rustam Muradov, caused a resonance in the Russian information space. This is stated in the daily report of the Institute for the Study of War.
“Vacation” for commanders of the Russian army
Millbloggers have claimed that the Russian military leadership fired Muradov from his post as commander of the Eastern Group of Forces, but ISW has not yet been able to confirm these claims. Muradov took command of Russia's Eastern Military District on October 6, 2022, and over the past five months has led a series of disastrous offensives in the western Donetsk region.
One milblogger said that Muradov is on “vacation”, which is tantamount to resignation. Others argued that Muradov's elimination was a positive step, but said that his replacement was more important than elimination.
Due to failures on the battlefield and significant losses
Some milbloggers have pointed out that Muradov is responsible for significant Russian military setbacks in western Donetsk Oblast, including heavy casualties during the assault on Pavlovka in October–November 2022 and a lengthy and unsuccessful attempt to take Vuhledar.
The independent Russian investigative publication Important Stories, citing sources close to the Russian General Staff, accused Muradov of mediocrity due to failures on the battlefield and significant losses in the west of the Donetsk region, including an almost destroyed volunteer battalion from Tatarstan.
One well-known milblogger claimed that the military leadership is also considering firing Colonel General Yevgeny Nikiforov, whose forces operate along the Kupyansk-Svatovo-Kremennaya line in eastern Ukraine.
Disappointment in command
ISW cannot confirm the rumors about the dismissal of either Muradov or Nikiforov. ISW notes that Russian milbloggers are discussing the possible dismissals of commanders associated with zones of operations in which Russian troops, for the most part, have not been able to achieve significant success or have suffered heavy losses.
Russian milbloggers do not seem to put forward hypotheses about the elimination of Lieutenant General Andrei Mordvichev or the commander of the Southern Military District, Colonel General Sergei Kuzovlev.
The ISW notes that the media's muted response to reports of shelling is further evidence of broader disillusionment with the Russian military command, which millbloggers have been arguing for months in need of systemic reforms.
Many milbloggers constantly praised the former commander of the Russian armed forces in Ukraine, General of the Army Sergei Surovikin.
On March 27, a milblogger claimed that Surovikin could be responsible for defending against a future Ukrainian counteroffensive. He is convinced that Surovikin's military strategy is better than that of Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the Russian General Staff and current commander of the Russian armed forces in Ukraine.
Russian authorities and some milbloggers have focused on identifying and punishing individual commanders for the failures of their troops, rather than interrogating and resolving endemic problems in Russian command and control, force structure and deployment patterns, the report says.