Alexander Baunov

Alexander Baunov



THRED 1/8 It turns out that the “difficult decisions” referred to by Russia’s General Surovikin earlier did not involve a tactical nuclear bomb, but giving up the Ukrainian city of #Kherson: the only regional capital Russia has managed to take in this war.

2/8 It was obvious that Surovikin’s appointment and the praise heaped upon him were at least partly due to the need to create a figure with a mandate for «shameful» actions that Putin didn’t want to take in his own name.

3/8 The praise was partly sincere, as Surovikin’s style appeared to more militant Russians, and partly artificial: there was a need to inflate his glory and authority, just in case.

4/8 Essentially, there was a need for a sort of «Russian de Gaulle», who would if necessary give up this Algeria, and have the right to do so, i.e. a battle-hardened general, rather than a corrupt official at the rear or a civilian bureaucrat: even one dressed in a service jacket

5/8 Gen. Surovikin was presented as someone who would bring victory, but what was really needed was someone who would if necessary head up a retreat while not causing a rift between the supporters of the regime and the supporters of war.

6/8 Today the general has used half of his mandate. Now he will be expected to use the other half. For some, this will be seen as a new offensive that will prove that all the retreats were actually a tactical maneuver.

7/8 For others, it will be seen as a way of forcing Ukraine to enter into peace talks using the following formula: the city of Kherson in exchange for peace, electricity, water, and heating in Ukrainian cities.

8/8 If neither of those interpretations manifests into reality, it will become increasingly difficult for the Kremlin to hide behind Surovikin. Or he will have to turn into de Gaulle and give up all of Algeria, only without that general’s glory and past recognition.

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