Compared to what we have lately been accustomed to in America, certainly now under Biden, Russian generals are built of different stuff. When military counter-intelligence officers came for General Polyakov as he had spied for years on behalf of the United States, he turned on them and told them how much he hated the Soviet régime, as he also did when arraigned for treason before they shot him. They treated him with great respect. When Bob Conquest, author of The Great Terror, was invited to Russia with a bunch of important Americans after the old régime collapsed, he had occasion to be entertained at the Voroshilov Academy where the senior American officer in his party was asked to speak about what they trained senior officers in. He stepped up on the platform and lyricised about the importance of social studies. Finally he drew to a close and asked the Russian officer commanding what they taught at the Voroshilov Academy. “War!” was the reply.
General Leonid Ivashov fits the old Russian frame to a tee as chairman of the All-Russian Officer’s Assembly. As veteran Aleksandr Gol’ts of Insider.ru relates, Ivashov “is a refined military bureaucrat who spent his entire career in the building on Arbat in the Ministry of Defence…extremely intelligent, extremely educated for a Russian general, an absolutely sane person.” In retirement every so often Ivashov would step into the limelight and call everyone to order with blunt truths, as when the Ministry of Defence blamed the Israelis for the loss of an aircraft in Syria and he called them on it, and when Serdyukov faced total opposition to reform from the generals. And most recently, when Ivashov condemned the opening of a war with Ukraine, arguing that he had 70% of his assembly in agreement.
Ivashov was right, Gol’ts says. The armed forces were completely and utterly unprepared for the overthrow of the government of such a country. And the writer defiantly uses the forbidden word “war” in the title of his article. The worm is turning.
Что-то пошло не так. Александр Гольц об итогах четырех дней войны в Украине
28 февраля 2022