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Why Putin didn't appoint a commander for invasion of Ukraine, - ISW

May 1, 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reluctance to appoint an overall theater commander for his invasion of Ukraine has had cascading effects on the Russian military including fueling intense factionalization, disorganizing command structures, and feeding unattainable expectations.

This is reported with reference to the ISW report.


In early 2022, Putin probably sought to portray himself as the commander-in-chief and mastermind of a successful invasion of Ukraine. Captured Russian military plans revealed that the Kremlin expected Russian forces to capture Kyiv in mere days, and Putin had likely wanted to declare this speedy invasion a personal geopolitical victory.

Therefore, he probably did not want to appoint a commander for this invasion to avoid attributing the military victory in Ukraine to someone else. Joseph Stalin had similar concerns about Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov during World War II.

Stalin had limited and outdated wartime experience and was reportedly jealous of Zhukov’s military exploits and fame. Putin has no military experience, which may have further contributed to his decision not to appoint a commander for his invasion who could have upstaged him by claiming credit for the expected dramatic victory, ISW analysts note.

Author – Anastasiya Glotova, 01/05/2023

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