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When Gen. Rustam Minnekayev made a sweeping commentary on Friday that Russia’s subsequent army goal could be to clutch Ukraine’s complete southern coast, many analysts had been skeptical, primarily based now not most effective at the declare, however on its supply.

Why would a moderately difficult to understand army determine announce this type of primary shift in coverage, somewhat than President Vladimir V. Putin, who generally makes such pronouncements, or Protection Minister Sergei Ok. Shoigu, or Gen. Aleksandr V. Dvornikov, the manager Russian commander for the warfare in Ukraine?

Common Minnekayev’s reliable activity is the group of political propaganda paintings within the military’s central district, which incorporates an unlimited territory from the Volga basin to japanese Siberia. His tasks usually would now not contain formulating army technique.

But he advised a meeting of hands business representatives in Yekaterinburg — greater than 1,000 miles clear of the preventing — that Russia used to be in quest of to seize a swath of Ukrainian territory from the Donbas area to Moldova. That might bring to a halt Ukraine’s get right of entry to to the Black Sea, Common Minnekayev mentioned, in keeping with Russian information businesses, permitting Russia to “affect crucial parts of the Ukrainian economic system” and achieve “but any other level of get right of entry to” to the pro-Russian enclave of Moldova referred to as Transnistria.

In step with the protection ministry’s web site, Common Minnekayev, who’s stationed in Yekaterinburg, has been most commonly eager about initiatives unrelated to the invasion, similar to discussing the development of an Orthodox cathedral with the clergy or indoctrinating the rustic’s formative years.

“One in every of our primary targets is the paintings with the veterans and patriotic upbringing of the brand new era,” Common Minnekayev advised Pink Big name, the protection ministry’s reliable newspaper, ultimate April. “We wish to inform the formative years the reality in regards to the warfare that our ancestors have now not been preventing in useless.”

Yuri Fyodorov, a Russian army analyst, mentioned that, on paper, Common Minnekayev’s primary line of labor is “brainwashing” Russian servicemen. However in fact, he mentioned, the overall’s primary activity is to “acquire details about the officials: their perspectives and moods.”

Common Minnekayev manages “a gadget of political keep watch over of officials which exists in parallel to army counterintelligence,” Mr. Fyodorov mentioned in an interview.

In Mr. Fyodorov’s view, the commander used to be most certainly sanctioned by way of his superiors to make this type of commentary, which used to be then reported by way of TASS, a state-run information company.

“Seems like preventing is ongoing amongst more than a few teams within the upper echelons of energy,” he mentioned.

Tatyana Stanovaya, a founding father of the political consultancy R. Politik, mentioned that Common Minnekayev “isn’t the one that is meant to make such statements,” and that it’s conceivable he made it “for propaganda causes.”

Moscow may just now not deny the commentary, she mentioned in a social media publish, as a result of it might make the Russian conservative faction “enraged.” In a standard briefing, Dmitri S. Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman, declined to touch upon whether or not Common Minnekayev’s feedback mirrored Mr. Putin’s pondering.



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