Ukraine’s Counteroffensive strategy of ‘Starve, Stretch and Strike’ is having an obvious effect on some of Russia’s best Commanders.
- Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin is gone after his failed 6/23/2023 rebellion.
- Major General Ivan Popov was dismissed around July 11/12, 2023.
- Major General Vladimir Seliverstov was dismissed on July 15, 2023.
Those last two are serious losses for Russia’s Defensive strategy against Ukraine’s Counteroffensive, and reflect that Ukraine’s strategy is working. Those two “strong-willed commanders” were not going to allow Putin and his Military cronies to use their troops as Cannon fodder.
Popov & Seliverstov are known for speaking up on behalf of their troops, and like Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin before them—they had been speaking up about high Russian death rates, poor conditions, lack of supplies, etc.
Add the 7/11/2023 death of Lieutenant General Oleg Tsokov from a missile strike, and the ‘Starve’ (AKA Interdiction) in the ‘Starve, Stretch and Strike’ strategy shows the *HIGH* stress levels of front line Russian Commanders when their supply lines (GLOC) are being disrupted.
.. snip .. Relatives of mobilized personnel serving in the 137th VDV Regiment notably appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Tula Oblast Governor Alexei Dyumin, and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in April about poor conditions and lack of supplies in the unit. Vocal discontent about conditions in areas where Russian forces are defending against Ukrainian counteroffensive operations may have prompted Seliverstov to appeal to the Russian military command, which may have contributed to his dismissal.
.. snip .. Seliverstov’s dismissal may be a part of an ongoing purge of insubordinate commanders by the Russian military command and may suggest that the corrosion of the Russian chain of command in Ukraine is accelerating.
.. snip .. Popov’s complaints reportedly centered on a lack of rotations for his troops, and in a leaked audio message Popov also complained about heavy losses and a lack of effective counterbattery capabilities. These issues are likely impacting Russian forces throughout the theater in Ukraine, and reports of Seliverstov’s dismissal only four days after reports of Popov’s dismissal suggest that the Russian command may have fired Seliverstov for similar reasons. ISW assessed that Popov’s insubordination is indicative of a pattern of behavior that has developed within the Russian command in Ukraine, in which commanders have challenged the authority of senior commanders and sought to use their responsibility for key sectors of the front to cajole the Kremlin to support them.
Endemic problems within the Russian war effort in Ukraine, exacerbated by poor decisions made by senior political and military leaders, are likely prompting strong-willed commanders to challenge their senior commanders in efforts to preserve their forces and lead combat effective units. The 58th Combined Arms Army‘s (CAA) and the 106th VDV Division’s relatively effective defense against Ukrainian counteroffensive operations in their respective areas of the front thus far suggests that they are some of the most combat effective formations committed to the frontline, and Popov and Seliverstov likely contributed to their relative effectiveness by being willing to challenge superiors and the system.
Dismissing or firing good commanders for speaking up on behalf of their troops’ high death rates, lack of supplies, lack of rotations, etc. is a bad strategy for Putin and his Military cronies, IMHO. Great for Ukraine tho.
When good Commanders like these are dismissed and killed, their troops’ morale collapses, and that low morale spreads quickly to other units.