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Criminals, butchers, and minions: Bezuhla criticizes Syrskyi and his team. Do you have déjà vu too?

Criminals, butchers, and minions: Bezuhla criticizes Syrskyi and his team. Do you have déjà vu too?

Svitlana Hudkova

In 2023, MP from the Servant of the People faction Mariana Bezuhla actively criticized the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valeriy Zaluzhnyi on her social media pages. The negative posts appeared amid rumors of a confrontation between the Presidential Office and the general, so the politician’s attacks were directly linked to the head of the Presidential Office, Andriy Yermak.

In early February 2024, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi was dismissed and Oleksandr Syrskyi was appointed. But only three months later, the new chief and his entourage in the General Staff are now the heroes of Bezuhla’s posts. How should these attacks be perceived: as personal creativity or sociological research? Svitlana Hudkova, editor of Zaborona, analyzed this issue with experts.

Bezuhla’s claims against the chief of the Armed Forces

When Russian troops began active hostilities in the Kharkiv region in early May, MP from the pro-government faction Mariana Bezuhla announced a trip to the front. Upon her return from this “inspection”, she began a new stage of debriefing — this time with the current commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, and his entourage.

In her first post, the MP called the new frontline commander, Joint Forces Commander General Yuriy Sodol, a “criminal” who was allowed by Syrskyi to appoint “his” people to positions not based on skills but on their affiliation.

Among them are, in particular, the former commander of the Kharkiv operational and tactical group of troops, Yuriy Halushkin, who, according to her, “failed the defense of the Kharkiv region.” And Major General Andriy Sokolov, who was the commander of the South military command from October 2021 until the beginning of the great invasion, and who “has criminal proceedings for the demining of Chongar.”

“Not a single general has been punished either under Zaluzhnyi or under Syrskyi. They pop up again and again. Nothing has changed. General factions continue to destroy our future. And Syrskyi is part of the process. He cannot go beyond that. I see attempts, but…” Bezuhla wrote.

But apparently, the politician did not receive a response from the General Staff command, so she continued:

“Bargilevych is the Chief of the General Staff. The bureaucracy has doubled. Closing of IT units. Lobbying for old equipment. Destruction of the Territorial Defense. Pavliuk is the commander of the ground forces. He is just a minion with a tendency to have nervous breakdowns on his subordinates. There is virtually no training before people are sent to the commands. Efforts to create as many new brigades as possible to set up headquarters, more headquarters, rather than training infantry and sending them to replenishment. More headquarters! Imitation of activity is our everything,” Bezuhla writes.

The MP also added information about the commander of the Armed Forces of Ukraine: “Syrskyi, who hides the truth, breaks down units, uses manual control, Russian cruelty and dismissal of all competitors and creatives in the army. The change of brigadiers and combatants is so fast that they do not have time to get acquainted with the units, and they are already guilty. Destroying the paratroopers right now to turn them into ground troops and much more, as well as all the things that all his minions have, because the authoritarianism of the Chief Command’s decisions is off the charts, and everything in the Armed Forces now has Syrskyi’s face. Sodol has been the head of the front since February 2024. He is a behind-the-scenes butcher who will hide everything that any boss needs.”

So now the MP is fighting for the above-mentioned generals to leave and never make key decisions again. “2014 did not lead to the restructuring of the Armed Forces headquarters, 2022 did not lead to the restructuring of the Armed Forces headquarters, and if 2024 does not lead to it, we are finished,” she said.

Replacing Syrskyi

Just six months ago, Bezuhla made equally loud statements against Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, accusing him of the failed summer counteroffensive in 2023, the lack of a plan for 2024, and even the General Staff’s desire to mobilize 500,000 people.

Ihor Reiterovych. Photo: Ihor Reiterovych / Facebook

However, there is a high probability that these attacks were then approved by the President’s Office, which began to fear Zaluzhnyi’s high ratings. But are they really going to replace Syrskyi? Political analyst Ihor Reiterovych believes that this is not entirely true.

“It seems to me that there are two other scenarios in this story. The first one is that because of the attacks of Bezuhla, who is clearly affiliated with some representatives of the President’s Office, they want to put the responsibility for the failures of the authorities in the Kharkiv region onto the military as much as possible. This concerns the construction of fortifications, communication with local authorities, and the supply of troops, which is the responsibility of the civilian head of the Defense Ministry. And it is very significant that Bezuhla’s posts do not contain a single word about the government’s failures,” the political expert notes.

Speaking about the second scenario, Reiterovych does not rule out that after her success with Zaluzhnyi, the MP felt her own importance and now feels free to criticize anyone however she wants.

“Another possible option is that she is simply out of control. But the fact that the faction’s leadership is still silent about her behavior suggests that the first scenario is in effect. They say, let her attack now, and if something goes wrong with Syrskyi, they will be able to point to everything Bezuhla wrote on her page as a reason for dismissal,” the expert believes.

But even if the politician is backed by the President’s Office leadership, the current chief is unlikely to be in any danger now, Reiterovych said. He suggests that Bankova Street may already be dissatisfied with Syrskyi, but there is no way to replace him.

“They have put themselves in a situation where it will be quite difficult to do so. At least in the near future. After all, only recently there have been changes, a new commander-in-chief came in with a plan, as Mariana wanted. And it turned out that the situation has deteriorated significantly? So why the change? And there is no candidate for this position because they look not only at a person’s competence but also at their political loyalty. And there may be problems with this, because the irritation of the military is growing, and they may not forgive another change without arguments and explanations. I’m not talking about mutiny here, no, but it will have a big impact on motivation,” the political expert explained.

Yevhen Moysiuk: a candidate for the Commander-in-Chief?

Yevhen Magda. Photo: Yevhen Magda / Facebook

Director of the Institute of World Policy Yevhen Magda points out that Mariana Bezuhla “has entered the second round of recruitment.” This may mean that there is still a candidate for the post of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

“Only three months have passed since Syrskyi was appointed commander-in-chief, and history has repeated itself: Bezuhla is mercilessly harassing him and spreading treason. It is at the suggestion of the odious MP that another discussion about the alleged resignation of Syrskyi and the appointment of Lieutenant General Yevhen Moysiuk instead is emerging in the information field,” the political expert said.

Since 2021, Yevhen Moysiuk has been the deputy commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi. On February 13, 2024, he was appointed by Volodymyr Zelensky as a special commissioner for the implementation of international security guarantees and the development of the Defense Forces.

The expert is convinced that Bezuhla’s activity is aimed at dismissing Syrskyi from his post. Of course, it is unlikely that the MP is acting alone. In Magda’s opinion, she is being used as an “information battering ram”. “I cannot say for sure whether this is Bezuhla’s initiative or not. But against the backdrop of a general decline in the power of parliamentarism, the power of individual parliamentarians has grown hypertrophied. And since we live in an office-presidential republic, it’s easy to guess who is behind this,” the political expert adds.

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