Who is Valéri Guerassimov, the new commander of the war in Ukraine?

Who is Valéri Guerassimov, the new commander of the war in Ukraine?

Chief of Staff for ten years, the appointment of Valeri Guerassimov as head of the Russian offensive shows that Russia is not giving up in Ukraine

This is the second general appointed in three months. General Guerassimov replaces Sergei Surovikin, who was heavily supported by the head of the Wagner militia. The Department of Defense explained this change with the need to raise the command level: “Increasing the command level of special operations (in Ukraine) is associated with an expansion in the scope of missions to be carried out, with the need to conduct closer interaction between the components of the armed forces.”. Former commander of the Russian offensive, Sergei Surovikin, as well as Oleg Salioukov and Alexei Kim are now assisting Valéri Guerassimov as assistants.

Russia’s senior officer

Tatarstan native Valéri Guerassimov has climbed the ranks of the hierarchy since graduating from a battle tank school in 1977. He is a pure product of Soviet meritocracy. In November 2012, he was appointed chief of staff by Putin himself, the highest post in the army after defense minister. In addition, Defense Minister Sergei Choïgou had Valéri Guerassimov as “Military to the hairline“. At the age of 67, General Guerassimov attended the largest military schools in Russia, including the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces in 1997. Between 1993 and 1995 he commanded a motorized division. Then he quickly found himself at the front, especially during the 1999 of After Vladimir Putin initiated the second Chechen war, he then led the 58th army.He was also at the front, in Syria, but also in Crimea and Donbass in 2014.

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Portrait of Valery Gerasimov. RMC.

A more political commander?

The General has more “hybrid” than its predecessor, which bore the nickname “General Armageddon” because of its very fast methods. We even talk about it « Doctrine Guerassimov » which would combine movements at the front and media battle. In a word, this general, who knows the terrain and how the media works, is a smarter leader, in short, more political. General Pierre de Villiers, who held the same position as chief of staff between 2014 and 2017, had mentioned his meeting with his counterpart at the time. He described him as someone who, like Putin, is systematically in the balance of power: “What struck me was that he only recognized one thing, the balance of power. Not the element of language, not the outburst of voices, the balance of power, the truth”he remembers.

Die-hard Putin supporter

BFMTV’s political adviser Michel Goya confided in Valéri Guerassimov “one of the few generals Putin listened to”that he and the Autocrat had long maintained one “Special Link”. If he is appointed today, it will be because of his loyalty and his impressive career, but also because of his knowledge of the conflict he has been preparing for years with the Kremlin boss. Indeed: “The Ministry of Defense simply wants to optimize the management of the special operations, since Mr. Guerassimov, the Chief of Defense Staff, is a well-informed, very experienced soldier who was at the beginning of the military planning and who is now also responsible for the implementation of this military planning Plans will be responsible,” said Russian Embassy spokesman Alexander Makogonov.

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