Oleksandr Syrsky, the new Ukrainian chief of staff, perfectly embodies the words of André Malraux: “ Civil war is less detestable than foreign war. At least we know what we are fighting for. » His profile alone indicates that this war is first and foremost a war between Slavic brothers. Born in Novinki near Moscow, his parents and brother still live in Russia. He owes his change of nationality to the fact that his unit was stationed in Ukraine at the time of independence and that he chose to stay in this new country. The one he replaces, General Valery Zalouzhny, is more in the vein of the nationalists of western Ukraine. Worshiping Stepan Bandera, father of Ukraine and controversial figure who collaborated with the Nazis, Zalouzhny owes his popularity to his qualities as a strategist. He is credited with having successfully defended kyiv at the start of the Russian invasion, but also with having mounted the operation which allowed the Ukrainians to repel the Russians east of Kharkiv. For this and many other feats of arms, we readily forgive him his ring engraved with a black sun and his claimed connections with the neo-Nazis of Azov. If he is so popular, it is mainly because of his concern for the lives of his men, a resource of which his successor is unfortunately hardly economical…
Syrsky imitates his enemy
at his worst
Because Syrsky is the man of “ meat grinder “. And it’s the Ukrainians who say it. “ Concerned about the smallest detail on the battlefield, he wastes human lives for a tactical progression which rarely goes beyond the conquest of a line of trees or that of a small village without any operational goal. “, writes the Ukrainian officer who runs the “Tatarigami UA” account. His appointment is highly political because Syrsky carries out President Zelensky’s orders without flinching. It is then bad news because it symbolizes a return of Soviet military education at its worst. Syrsky are the human waves launched against the enemy on the minefields of Zaporizhia, Zalouzhny having then done everything to stop the massacre. ” Lhe command of General Syrsky is a failure, writes Tatarigami UA again. His presence and his orders are a morale blow for the troop. He embodies the lack of confidence in leadership in general. »
Both generals began their careers during the Soviet era. “ I was raised on Russian military doctrineadmits Zaluzhny in an interview with Time Magazine, and I still think that the science of war is entirely located in Russia […] I learned from Gerasimov (the chief of staff of the Russian army). I read everything he wrote… He is the most intelligent of men, and my expectations of him were enormous. » If Zalouzhny learned from his enemy, Syrsky continues to imitate him at his worst. Not to mention that he is also considered the general of defeats. He is attributed that of Debaltseve in 2015 against the pro-Russian separatists of Donbass, but also those of Soledar then Bakhmout against Wagner. Supported by Zelensky, this determination not to cede an inch of ground to Bakhmut had the effect of wearing down the Ukrainian army. If it failed in its summer counter-offensive, it was because some of the good troops had been used to defend and then try to reconquer this city which neither the Americans nor Zalouzhny considered essential.
Ultimately, Syrsky is almost a gift to the Russians
Ultimately, Syrsky is almost a gift to the Russians. Moreover, immediately after his appointment, he ordered new units to urgently reach the town of Avdiivka to the west of Donetsk, which was about to be encircled. This is exactly what the Russians are looking for to continue their attrition and try to bring Ukraine to its knees. As in Bakhmout, men will die in Avdiivka, and on both sides. However, if today the front is frozen despite pressure from the Russian side, the latter have the necessary reserves if they were to push their advantage further west. The Ukrainians have none. Overshadowed by the buzz of Tucker Carlson’s interview with Vladimir Putin, this appointment does not bode well for Ukraine. As for Zalouzhny, his popularity could allow him to run for president and win. There still need to be elections. In the Ukraine of 2024, this perspective too has disappeared.