The Russian invasion of Ukraine is at a standstill. Russian troop losses are approaching 200,000. Dozens of Western tanks are on their way to the Ukrainians. So, naturally, the Russian general in charge of the Ukraine war wants to make sure his troops shave.
General Valery Gerasimov is Russia’s top general. He was recently appointed by President Vladimir Putin to personally oversee the war in Ukraine. The U.K. Ministry of Defense released an intelligence report this week showing Gerasimov is clamping down on non-regulation uniforms, troops using civilian vehicles and mobile phones, non-standard haircuts, and shaving.
Gerasimov has a lot to prove. He’s reportedly one of the leaders who came up with Russia’s plan to invade Ukraine. That plan really hasn’t worked out well for the Russians. His lack of success on the battlefield is being openly criticized by Russian military bloggers, and rival factions within Russia.
The Institute for the Study of War said the Russian focus on grooming habits might be about overall discipline. If soldiers can follow a simple order like shaving, then they will be more likely to follow more meaningful orders down the road.
Some critics of Gerasimov said the order to shave is anti-Muslim. Chechen soldiers have been fighting alongside the Russians in Ukraine. Chechnya is a predominantly Muslim country, and most Chechen fighters have beards as part of their religious beliefs.
Ramzan Kadyrov is the head of the Russian Republic of Chechnya. The Moscow Times reported Kadyrov called the order to shave a “provocation meant to dampen the fighting spirit of soldiers who are fighting a holy war for the Almighty.”
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Russian private military company the Wagner Group, is also critical of the order to shave. Prigozhin said, “War is not the time of the clean-shaven, but of the active and brave.”
THE RUSSIAN INVASION OF UKRAINE IS AT A STANDSTILL. RUSSIAN TROOP LOSSES ARE APPROACHING 200,000. DOZENS OF WESTERN TANKS ARE ON THEIR WAY TO THE UKRAINIANS, SO NATURALLY THE RUSSIAN GENERAL IN CHARGE OF THE UKRAINE WAR WANTS TO MAKE SURE HIS TROOPS SHAVE.
GENERAL VALERY GERASIMOV IS RUSSIA’S TOP GENERAL. HE WAS RECENTLY APPOINTED BY PRESIDENT PUTIN TO PERSONALLY OVERSEE THE WAR IN UKRAINE.
THE U.K. MINISTRY OF DEFENSE RELEASED AN INTELLIGENCE REPORT THIS WEEK SHOWING GERASIMOV IS CLAMPING DOWN ON NON-REGULATION UNIFORMS, TROOPS USING CIVILIAN VEHICLES AND MOBILE PHONES, NON-STANDARD HAIRCUTS AND SHAVING.
GERASIMOV HAS A LOT TO PROVE. HE’S REPORTEDLY ONE OF THE LEADERS WHO CAME UP WITH RUSSIA’S PLAN TO INVADE UKRAINE, A PLAN WHICH REALLY HASN’T WORKED OUT WELL FOR THE RUSSIANS. HIS LACK OF SUCCESS ON THE BATTLEFIELD IS BEING OPENLY CRITICIZED BY RUSSIAN MILITARY BLOGGERS, AND RIVAL FACTIONS WITHIN RUSSIA.
THE INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF WAR SAYS THE RUSSIAN FOCUS ON GROOMING HABITS MIGHT BE ABOUT OVERALL DISCIPLINE. IF SOLDIERS CAN FOLLOW A SIMPLE ORDER LIKE SHAVING, THEN THEY WILL BE MORE LIKELY TO FOLLOW MORE MEANINGFUL ORDERS DOWN THE ROAD.
SOME CRITICS OF GERASIMOV SAY THE ORDER TO SHAVE IS ANTI-MUSLIM. CHECHEN SOLDIERS HAVE BEEN FIGHTING ALONGSIDE THE RUSSIANS IN UKRAINE. CHECHNYA IS A PREDOMINANTLY MUSLIM COUNTRY, AND MOST CHECHEN FIGHTERS HAVE BEARDS AS PART OF THEIR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS.
THE LEADER OF CHECHNYA SAID THE ORDER TO SHAVE IS A PROVOCATION MEANT TO DAMPEN THE FIGHTING SPIRIT OF SOLDIERS WHO ARE FIGHTING A HOLY WAR FOR THE ALMIGHTY.
YEVGENY PRIGOZHIN, THE HEAD OF THE RUSSIAN PRIVATE MILITARY COMPANY THE WAGER GROUP, IS ALSO CRITICAL OF THE ORDER TO SHAVE. PRIGOZHIN SAID WAR IS NOT THE TIME OF THE CLEAN-SHAVEN, BUT OF THE ACTIVE AND BRAVE.
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