Some Western media and military experts pointed out that one important person was missing at Monday’s military parade in Moscow, the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Army and the First Deputy Minister of Defense Valery Gerasimov.
An army general who is to conduct a Russian military operation in Ukraine was injured near Kharkov at the end of April, according to unsubstantiated reports. However, Russian officials did not confirm this information and the circumstances of the attack remained unclear.
Gerasimov is considered one of the three main architects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, alongside President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Putin and Shoigu took part in Monday’s parade on Red Square.
At the end of April, the Ukrainian media reported that Gerasimov had personally arrived in Izjum, Ukraine, to take command of Russian troops in Donbas. The command post where Gerasimov stayed was then allegedly hit by Ukrainian fire. According to military journalist Olexander Šulman, the general was hit in the leg by the shrapnel.
The Russian media, which are under the control of the Kremlin, did not speculate about Gerasimov’s absence at Monday’s celebrations of the end of the Great Patriotic War, nor did he mention the general’s name at all.
Gerasimov, 66, comes from Kazan, Tatarstan, where he also graduated from a military tanker school. In the first half of the 1990s, he commanded a motorized rifle division in the Baltics, then went through various command positions, at the turn of the millennium he participated in the Second War in Chechnya. From 2009 to 2012, he commanded the parades on Victory Day on Red Square.
Gerasimov has been Chief of Staff since November 2012. He was appointed shortly after Sergei Shoigu became Minister of Defense.