According to the publication’s sources, after retreating in the direction of Kyiv, V. Putin even personally tried to lead the transfer of forces, but very quickly abandoned this idea and is now consulting directly with the military commanders responsible for combat operations.
The relationship between V. Putin and S. Shoigu has changed so dramatically that the defense minister does not dare to insist on decisions that the officers consider necessary.
For example, as “Važnije istorii” writes, S. Shoigu does not demand the start of mobilization, because before the war he promised V. Putin to achieve all goals with the help of the peacetime army – mercenary forces.
According to “Vazhniy istorii” sources, S. Shoigu’s people hired public relations experts and paid for analytical articles in the largest Russian media agencies to present convincing arguments about the necessity of mobilization.
It was hoped that using such tactics would bring the necessary “analytics” to Putin’s desk, and he would agree to start one form or another of mobilization. But so far that has not happened.
At the beginning of July, V. Putin publicly put S. Shoigu in an awkward position by emphasizing that he did not trust his reports very much.
When the Minister of Defense, who met with the President, gave a report in front of television cameras about the operation to “liberate” the territories of the self-proclaimed “Luhansk People’s Republic” (LLR), V. Putin instead of praising said: “As you know, Colonel-General Alexander Pavlovich Lapin (invasion of Ukraine currently heads the central group of forces) and army general Sergej Vladimirovich Surovikin (commands the southern group of forces) informed me today about the progress of the objectives set for them and made proposals for the preparation of offensive operations.
The Russian president made it clear that he is in direct communication with S. Shoigu’s subordinates, and it is not clear what role the defense minister plays in this situation.
According to the sources, V. Putin decided to rely on experienced officers who are able to adapt to the conditions, which surprised the political leadership due to the lack of real information.
Sources close to the General Staff also say that decisions on several important appointments in the Ministry of Defense are made without asking S. Shoigu’s opinion. As an example, they cite the decision in June to entrust the Airborne Forces to Colonel General Mikhail Teplinski.
Sources noted that S. Shoigu has long been hostile towards M. Teplinskis: the general dared to disagree with the Minister of Defense on some issue.
The fact that S. Shoigu has not yet been sent to the reserve, “Važnije istorii” sources explain that the president does not want to change the defense minister in difficult times. On the other hand, they think that as soon as the difficult period ends, V. Putin can remind S. Shoigu of everything.
Christo Grozev, the head of the independent research group Bellingcat, was recently asked who Mr. Putin trusts the most at the moment.
“According to our informants, he only trusts Igor Sechin. It is this person who can tell V. Putin what he really thinks. He can listen to everyone else, for example, get some advice on military issues from Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, but I highly doubt whether he is trusted,” said Ch. Grozev.
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