UK minister likens Russian military leaders to ‘Laurel and Hardy’

FILE - Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, left, and Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov attend a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to the joint staff of troops involved in Russia's military operation in Ukraine, at an unknown location, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace on Wednesday compared two of Russia’s top military leaders to two famous comedy buffoons, Laurel and Hardy.

Speaking to reporters at the NATO summit in Vilnius, Wallace drew comparisons with the two comedians from the 1920s to the 1950s by talking about Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and General Valery Gherasimov, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.

Wallace noted that the two have remained at the helm of Russia’s shaky war in Ukraine, while Sergey Surovikin, one of Russia’s most prominent generals, has disappeared from public view since the Wagner mercenary group revolt last month.

“Anyone seen Surovikin recently? One of their best generals has disappeared for now,” Wallace said. “And they’ve kept Laurel and Hardy in charge of the campaign. You know, you’ve got Gerasimov and Shoigu there,” Wallace added wryly.

Critics in the West and even inside Russia, including Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner mercenaries, say the Russian invasion forces in Ukraine have been naive, poorly equipped, slow to react and hamstrung by confused command structures.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has kept Shoigu and Gherasimov in their posts, even though he has made many changes to the leadership of operations in Ukraine.

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