The last act of President Putin?

J. Soedradjad Djiwandono
J. Soedradjad Djiwandono, Emeritus Economics Professor, FEB-UI, Jakarta and Professor of International Economics, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.

Jakarta, IO – It was recently in the news that President Putin just made the decision to change the commander of Russian Army in Ukraine, appointing General Alexander Dvornikov. Many of us immediately remember this general as the Russian commander in the 2016 Syrian war, reputed to be involved in the death of some 440 civilians, including 90 children. 

According to a recently-issued report, Russia admitted that they have suffered many losses of soldiers, dead in the invasion of Ukraine, and maybe because of this President Putin has now issued a new order for the Russian army to consolidate in eastern Ukraine, which means that those in the north and west of the country should move eastward to the Donbas area. 

Read: President Putin in a Dilemma

This move may come as a change of strategy, or it could simply be more realistic to achieve what is possible. After all, the Donbas area had been ruled by rebels agreeing to join Russia, just like the situation in Crimea. 

In the meantime, Ukraine must be prepared for the worst. This may be the last act of President Putin, in the attempt to be able to claim victory and end the humiliation of having suffered the loss of so many soldiers. The new commander seemed to be trusted by President Putin to ensure his success from this invasion, a turn of events which President Putin needs so badly. General Alexander Dvornikov has been known as an expert in operating killing machines against enemies, irrespective of whether they are considered as military or civilian – just as what happened in Aleppo, Syria demonstrated.