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ISW: Russian official says Moscow's culture of lies prevents victory in Ukraine

by Abbey Fenbert September 16, 2023 6:55 AM 2 min read
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (C) attends a round table meeting of foreign ambassadors to Russia, for the purpose of discussing an end to Russia's war in Ukraine. September 15, 2023. (Photo by Yuri Kochetkov / Pool / AFP)
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Russian lawmaker and former military commander Andrey Gurulev complained that a culture of lying is holding Russia back from achieving victory in Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) wrote in its Sept. 15 report.

In a Telegram post, Gurulev said that lying and false reports within the military led to "wrong decisions at many different levels."

Gurulev also discussed a number of problems facing the Russian military. He said that improvements to Ukrainian air defense had rendered Russian helicopters less effective, and complained about Ukraine's ability to strike rear areas of Russia with drones.

The ISW said that Gurulev's senior military experience "lend[s] weight to his complaints."

Gurulev's complaints came the same day that Ukraine's Armed Forces announced the liberation of Andriivka in Donetsk Oblast.

In recent days, Ukraine also reported several successful strikes on Russian air defense systems and naval vessels in occupied Crimea.

Gurulev is also known for leaking audio of General Ivan Popov, former commander of Russia's 58th Combined Arms Army (CAA), airing grievances over heavy losses and insufficient support for Russian troops on Ukraine's southern front line.  

Popov was dismissed from his command in July.

The ISW report also discussed another disgraced Russian commander: General Sergey Surovikin, dismissed due to his ties to the Wagner Group after Yevgeny Prigozhin's failed June rebellion.

Russian media outlets published pictures of Surovikin in Algeria on Sept. 15, leading to speculation that the general was appointed to take over Wagner activities in African countries.

"Surovikin may be involved in Russian efforts to subsume Wagner operations due to his affiliation with Wagner and his command experience, although it is unclear if the Russian Defense Ministry intends for Surovikin to assume direct command of these efforts," the ISW wrote.

Russia’s southern mistake — Surovikin lines, Gerasimov tactics
The Zaporizhzhia front has been abuzz with news of Ukrainians breaking through Russia’s first defensive line and chiseling away at a breach in the second. “They’re widening that breach at this stage to enable the flow of armored vehicles and logistics so they can exploit it,” Michael Kofman,

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