Military leaders are generally much more popular than political leaders in Slavic countries. This is a long-running tradition, which is why political leaders tend to frame themselves as also being military leaders.
The way the Russian media has dealt with Zaluzhny demonstrates to me that there they are at least hoping that he might do a coup and then end the war. Of course, there are several figures that the Russian media has indicated would be acceptable successors to Zelensky.
Ukrainian commander-in-chief Valery Zaluzhny has rejected President Vladimir Zelensky’s “offer” to resign and become the national security head instead, the Financial Times and The Economist reported on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with discussions between the potential political rivals.
Zelensky allegedly told Zaluzhny that he would be removed from his current position regardless of whether he accepted a new role or not, according to two anonymous sources cited by the FT. The Economist reported it was able to “confirm” that during a meeting on Monday, Zaluzhny was offered the top position in the National Security and Defense Council but turned down the proposal.
On Monday, numerous Ukrainian media outlets and Telegram channels, citing political and military sources, reported that Zaluzhny was about to lose his job. In response, the Defense Ministry issued a message on Telegram: “Dear journalists, we reply to all of you at once: No, it’s not true.” Zelensky’s spokesman, Sergey Nikiforov, also said that the president “didn’t fire the commander-in-chief.” Ukrainian state-run censorship body CSCIS called the rumors of Zaluzhny’s resignation “destabilizing” and “demoralizing.”
As reports of the top general’s imminent firing spread like wildfire, two other sources told the FT that while his fate has apparently been decided, Zelensky may allow Zaluzhny to keep his job “for some time” to avoid a wider scandal.
The commander-in-chief is seen as a potential political rival of Zelensky, given his popularity among Ukrainian voters. An opinion poll by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) released in December found that while public trust in Zelensky had dropped to 62% from 84% a year ago, Zaluzhny was trusted by 88% of respondents.
Yes, that’s a pretty serious problem for Zelensky. You have to suspect his approval rating is actually much lower, and people are afraid to answer polls.
Zaluzhny is very much a threat to Zelensky. He’s been openly and publicly calling out the Jewish overlord for months, having said, among other things, that it’s impossible to win the war.
A military leader seizing control of a country during an unpopular war is a very obvious occurrence.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Zaluzhny ends up dead. The Zelensky regime is spiraling, and you’d expect something shocking like that to happen about now.