Sergei Shoigu: Putin's war is not going as he planned. He has already found his scapegoat

Since the Ukraine launched its counter-offensive, the Russian invasion has been going in reverse: the occupiers are losing areas, cities and towns almost every day.

Sergei Shoigu: Putin's war is not going as he planned. He has already found his scapegoat

Since the Ukraine launched its counter-offensive, the Russian invasion has been going in reverse: the occupiers are losing areas, cities and towns almost every day. Kharkiv, Izyum, Kupyansk, now Lyman and the region around Cherson - the Ukrainians are on course for reconquest. Actually, the Donbass should have belonged to the Russian Federation for a week. But because of the resolute advance of the Ukrainians, the borders keep shifting. Even the result of the sham referendum failed to stop them. Even Russia finds it difficult to keep track of things, and in the end not even the Kremlin knows which areas it now de facto controls and which it doesn't.

Putin cannot solve the problem with partial mobilization. That's why people are literally running away from him, in Russia the mood is boiling over recruitment and even politically he's slowly losing support. Both domestic and foreign policy. The invasion, which was actually intended as a lightning war, is increasingly turning out to be a Russian disaster. But of course Putin himself doesn't want to be to blame. The Kremlin ruler has probably already chosen his scapegoat.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu is most likely to be blamed for the transgressions that Moscow has committed over the past seven months. Ironically, the man who has commanded one of the largest armies in the world for ten years, organized the military annexation of Crimea and described it as "peacekeeping". For this he received a medal of merit and was also named "Person of the Year" several times. He was also involved as a military commander in operations in Syria, Georgia, Libya and Armenia. In view of this experience, there is apparently a reason for him to label ex-Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer as a "primary school student".

Schoigu has also come a long way privately in Russia. He regularly spends his summer vacations personally with the head of state in Tuva, South Siberia - Shoigu's home region, where anger at the partial mobilization that was ordered was recently expressed in violent protests.

But summer friendship or not: now Putin apparently wants to get down on the defense minister. A high-ranking diplomat in Moscow has already predicted: "Putin will soon have to come up with a scapegoat so that he doesn't end up in the crosshairs of internal criticism himself." Even the Institute for the Study of War points out in its most recent report that Putin holds Shoigu responsible for the misconduct in the Ukraine war. According to the report, Putin is already rhetorically distancing himself from his defense minister. A few days ago, Putin postponed the mobilization of students "because the Ministry of Defense failed to change the legal framework in a timely manner."

In Moscow, meanwhile, the first rumors are circulating that Shoigu could be replaced, while representatives of the Russian parliament are flirting with a subpoena from the defense minister. And resistance is also forming online in the form of military bloggers from the ultra-nationalist corner. They are already demanding that the military leadership be replaced.

Putin has now complied with this wish by promoting three of the harshest military critics. Among them: Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, also known as Putin's "bloodhound". He is now Colonel General and has always called for tougher action in Ukraine, including the use of "low-power" nuclear weapons. Kadyrov's "heroic contribution" to the offensive in Ukraine has already been praised in the Kremlin. The Chechen President has been intensively involved since the beginning. Chechen units are fighting alongside Russian forces in the country. Among them is Kadyrov's notorious personal militia, known as "Kadyrovtsy." Kadyrov also wants to send three sons to fight in Ukraine.

It is questionable how long Sergei Shoigu will be able to command the world's largest army. According to the ISW analysts, Putin will wait as long as he can blame the defense minister for his military misconduct before releasing him. In addition, Putin still needs to strengthen support from other factions, such as the ultra-nationalist camp.

Meanwhile, the secretary of defense is still trying to sell the partial mobilization as a success. His ministry recently said that 200,000 of 300,000 people had been drafted. The training should take place on 80 training places and in 6 training centers. The Minister of Defense also commented on the lack of equipment at the front. The responsible authorities had been instructed to provide the recruits with the necessary clothing and equipment and to instruct them.

Experts from the British Ministry of Defense had previously reported significant problems. Russia is no longer able to provide sufficient equipment and military training for the large number of recruits, the daily short report said.

The reports are likely to have cost the defense minister some sympathy points among the Russian population. The motivation to follow Shoigu's call to the front in Ukraine is still low, as media reports about fleeing Russians show. But whether someone else can solve the problem is not said either. The latest revelations about the situation of the Russian military and at the front have ensured this.

Sources: Institute for the Study of War, nTV/RTL, with material from DPA