< p>The appointment of the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Federation Valery Gerasimov as commander of the war against Ukraine instead of Sergei Surovikin may be a blow to the oligarch and owner of the terrorist PMC «Wagner» Yevgeny Prigogine in order to weaken his influence. This is reported by the American Institute for the Study of War.
Analysts note that the appointment of Gerasimov shows the Kremlin's attempts to improve command and control of troops for decisive hostilities in 2023, as well as adherence to the traditional structures of the Russian Ministry of Defense.
< p> The corresponding personnel decision will strengthen the position of the Russian defense department, whose methods of warfare have been repeatedly criticized by Prigogine. At the same time, ISW draws attention to the fact that Surovikin was a favorite of Prigozhin and the group of Russian security forces, and therefore the appointment of Gerasimov may encourage them to further divide the Russian information space and increase criticism of the Kremlin's conduct of the war.
Against the background of these personnel changes, it is assumed that Prigozhin may increase the PR of PMC «Wagner» to oppose it to the regular army of the Russian Federation, and Gerasimov's efforts to centralize command are likely to also face resistance. In addition, Gerasimov is unlikely to be able to quickly reform Russia's behavior in the war in Ukraine to achieve the maximalist goals of dictator Vladimir Putin.