Putin’s paranoia of potential opponent leaves generals out of the spotlight in Ukraine

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According to a report, Russian state media has been warned against highlighting the successes of particular Russian generals over fears it would lead to a leadership battle. It is preferable that the Russian media only focuses on the identities of those in the military who achieve success as soldiers and officers.

To put the accomplishments of senior military figures in the spotlight is to risk a rise of support for a rival to Putin, especially if one military figure becomes prominent for a number of successes.

Hard-line Russians are becoming frustrated with Putin’s refusal to mobilise the nation or launch strikes on vital government buildings in Kyiv.

A source close to the Kremlin told opposition website Meduza: “If there were a general that people were hearing from constantly, someone who often appeared in the news, he would inevitably become popular.

“He would get credit for victory. Who knows what that popularity could turn into among supporters of the war.”

Another source also suggested that the President of Russia is fearful of a return of “another General Lebed”.

General Lebed was a brusque military commander who became popular in Russia for ending the first Chechen War and for foiling a KGB plot to overthrow Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991.

Prior to Putin’s rise to power, Lebed was suggested as a suitable successor to President Yeltsin.

Putin criticised Lebed’s policies saying that the peace deal he drew up was a betrayal to the interests of Russia as Putin reignited the conflict in Chechnya.

General Lebed died in a helicopter crash in Siberia in 2002 which many put down to sabotage by his enemies instead of a tragic accident.

The source said that the Russian President “clearly remembers the 1990s” and doesn’t want “another General Lebed”.

The report of such curtails on Russian media coverage comes as discontent rises in the military ranks with many soldiers backing out of the war.

Approximately 150 Russian troops from a poor region of eastern Siberia tore up their military contracts and returned home.

According to Alaxandra Garmazhapova, an activist who is part of the Free Buryatia opposition group, the troops arrived in Buryatia over the weekend.

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Buryatia is one of the poorest regions in Russia and is where a majority of Russian military casualties have come from.

Many women from the region posted a video in which they plead for their husbands to return home after leaving to fight in Russia’s “unjust” war.

The activist wrote to the returning soldiers: “You made the right choice: you saved your lives and the lives of others!

“Don’t fight for Putin’s ambitions. While you die, he eats well, sleeps well and builds himself another golden palace.”

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