During these two years of full-scale war, Zaluzhny has gained a lot of public trust – in one of the polls, 88% of respondents expressed their trust in Zaluzhny, while only 62% voted for President Zelensky himself.
During Zaluzhny’s leadership, Ukrainians gained confidence that they could face an invader like Russia. At the beginning of the full-scale invasion, even Ukraine’s allies did not believe in the country’s ability to fight against the occupation forces, but the Ukrainians not only held their own at the beginning, but also later liberated very large areas of Ukraine where Russian troops had entered.
All this happened under the leadership of Zaluzhny. These days, there is a lot of gratitude on social media for the dismissed commander of the armed forces, and there is also a sense of dissatisfaction with the decision.
Indra Sprance, Latvian Radio’s correspondent in Ukraine, surveyed the people she met on the streets of Kyiv to find out what they thought about the president’s decision to fire Zaluzhnia.
In general, dissatisfaction with the president’s decision prevails among the surveyed Ukrainians.
Anastasia: Unfortunately, one person cannot solve everything. Everything depends on European (Union) support, weapons and everything else. In any case, nothing can change from one person there.
Indra Sprance: And how do you feel now?
Anastasia: In fact, everyone liked Zaluzhny. To all Ukrainians. There was no negative information about him and now, of course, his dismissal is most likely a loss. More harm than good.
Eugene: Wrong decision.
Indra Sprance: Why?
Eugene: You don’t change horses for a change… As long as the war is going on, it’s a stupid decision. After the war – let him do what he wants.
Olena: Bad decision. General Zaluzhny was present for our country during the most difficult moments for two years, and we think that he coped well with his task. But now – we don’t know what to expect, to be honest. Of course, every Ukrainian hopes for victory and that everything will be fine, but such a decision should not have been made at this time.
Ruslan: May I say it in my own way? Zelensky is a pi*****s. Sorry – in one word. We will follow Zaluzhny. Because Sirskis, first of all, made two “boilers” – in Ilovaisk and Debaltseva. We don’t need him, it will be a disaster. I am against this decision. We will follow Zaluzhny – a must! And it will be – you will see, mention my words!
Indra Sprance: Will there be any protests?
Ruslan: Of course it will. Obligatory, because, firstly, everything is heated and secondly, he does everything he wants and does not ask people. And do to yourself, not to people.
Indra Sprance: Zelensky?
Ruslan: Yes, yes, yes.
These are only a few people, and it certainly does not reflect any average temperature in the country. So far, there is also no information to confirm what the last speaker said that there could be any protests against this decision.
The Latvian Radio correspondent also met some people who said that there is a lack of information about what is happening – they do not feel competent to evaluate it, but rely on the president’s decision, that he knows how it would be better.
Most people interviewed said they didn’t know much about Sirski. But others noted his roots in Russia, where he was born and studied at the Higher Combined Arms Command School in Moscow.
The interviewees also mentioned that Sirski may still have relatives in Russia who could have some influence on decision-making.
On the other hand, the local media described him as a person for whom it is more important to achieve a certain result on the battlefield than people’s lives.
Sirskis himself wrote on his “Telegram” channel on Friday that the lives and health of soldiers were and are the main value of the Ukrainian army, but noted that there are new tasks on the agenda.
First of all, clear and detailed joint action planning of all military administration institutions, taking into account the needs at the front, and faster delivery of the necessary items is also required.