Up front: Neither Putin or heir apparent Sergei Shoigu served in the Soviet or Russian military services. And much is in question about Russian military leadership.
With the possibility that General Valery Gerasimov and General Sergey Surovikin are dead or otherwise detained, who is advising Sergei Shoigu and Putin on the war in Ukraine? What advisor with combat experience cannot sympathize with Yevgeny Prigozhin’s angry grievances? Or sweat that critics die, disappear, or go to prison?
The “Surovikin Line” of fortified entrenchments, minefields, and fields of fire was a rearguard action on General Surovikin’s advice to go on the defensive and hold what Russia had left in Ukraine before the Ukrainians took it all back. By this Surovikin saved Putin from ouster yet is nowhere to be seen or heard from now.
Even if Surovikin pops up again, his absence most certainly suggests that he has been worked over by security services, and for that reason can no longer be trusted to be loyal to Putin and Shoigu without coerced loyalty Russians will clearly see through.
If Prigozhin’s mutiny went so deep as Generals Surovikin and Gerasimov, Ukraine and its defense contract group supporters have an opportunity to double or triple down on information efforts to reach the Russian rank and file, people, and up the chain of command with the truth about Putin and his Siloviki. The Russian hive should start vibrating with skepticism that cooks the ‘queen bee’ and his attendants.
The lies and incompetence of Putin and his Silovarchs are causing the depopulation of Russia. Their unfitness to lead and irresponsibility in invading Ukraine unnecessarily should become a daily topic of conversation among the Russian rank and file, and among the Russian people, right up the chain of command.
And it should be daily discussed how Prigozhin, so close to Putin, was used to scapegoat the military, purge it over what leadership it had, and turn it into an antiquated cannon fodder machine for all Russian men. Except Putin, Shoigu, and the Siloviki. They all counted on Prigozin to be their substitute and scapegoat.