There was no point in mentioning in the two-minute video that Russia released on Saturday of Sergei Shoigu discussing procurement – if it had not been for the Russian defense minister’s first happy observation in two weeks.
The minister who has served the longest in the Russian government, Shivo has had an almost constant presence on television for the past three decades. His absence during wartime initially sparked rumors of poor health, which were denied by the Kremlin.
Moscow says the defense minister is just busy. “There are a lot of things, there’s a special military operation and it’s not really the time for media activity,” Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, told reporters on Thursday.
The mystery surrounding the defense minister, one of Russia’s most popular politicians and a longtime close ally of Putin, came when the army, which was renovated during his tenure, ran into difficulties in Ukraine when the invasion of the country came to a halt.
Analysts were surprised by the extent to which Russia’s actions deviated from its usual battlefield strategy. It does not appear to have established a unified command structure under a single officer, making it difficult to coordinate everything from air support to logistics.
“This war is not appropriate for the way the Russian military is training, preparing and equipped to fight,” said Mark Gallouti, an honorary professor at the University of London, who investigates the country’s armed forces.
“Obviously the initial operation was built on Putin’s strange perceptions about Ukraine being not a real country, not a real people and therefore the whole structure will just collapse.”
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