February 21, 2024

Institute for the Study of War: Russian blogger who exposed enormous Russian losses commits suicide

Institute for the Study of War

Prominent independent Russian milblogger Andrei Morozov reportedly committed suicide on February 21 after refusing the Russian military command’s orders to delete his reports about high Russian casualty rates around Avdiivka. Morozov (also known under the alias Boytsovskiy Kot Murz) was a sergeant in the Russian 4th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (2nd Luhansk People’s Republic’s [LNR] Army Corps) and an avid critic of the Russian military command and the Ministry of Defense (MoD). Morozov published a lengthy suicide note in which he stated that an unnamed Russian colonel ordered him on February 20 to remove his February 19 report that claimed that 16,000 Russian personnel died in combat during Russian offensive operations in Avdiivka. The colonel reportedly threatened to cut off ammunition and military equipment supplies to Morozov’s unit if he did not delete his reports about the Russian military’s heavy losses in seizing Avdiivka and told Morozov that he would not be able to change the current situation on the battlefield and that only presidential elections could trigger some changes. Morozov claimed that the colonel was likely following orders from the Russian military command, political leadership, and Russian propagandists such as Vladimir Solovyov, who had sought to eliminate Morozov even prior to full-scale invasion. Morozov proclaimed that he tried to expose the truth about Russian battlefield realities and could no longer serve under this abusive colonel who assumed command over a “decapitated” brigade operating on a critical frontline and whose poor leadership made the situation worse for Russian forces. Morozov also implied that Russian authorities may have conspired to murder or arrest him and noted that he no longer saw the point in continuing his under-resourced fight against the incompetent Russian military bureaucracy.

Key Takeaways:



  • Prominent independent Russian milblogger Andrei Morozov reportedly committed suicide on February 21 after refusing the Russian military command’s orders to delete his reports about high Russian casualty rates around Avdiivka.
  • A Ukrainian official denied a recent New York Times (NYT) report that Russian forces may have captured “hundreds” of Ukrainian soldiers during Ukraine’s withdrawal from Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast.
  • Russian Chief of the General Staff Army General Valery Gerasimov claimed that Russian forces seized Avdiivka within a “fairly short time.”
  • A Ukrainian HIMARS strike against an undefended Russian training ground near occupied Volnovakha, Donetsk Oblast likely inflicted significant casualties, triggering a point of neuralgia for the Russian ultranationalist milblogger community.
  • Zaporizhia Oblast occupation governor Yevgeny Balitsky openly admitted that Russian authorities are forcibly deporting Ukrainian citizens who oppose Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or “insult” Russia and possibly alluded to Russian occupation forces’ summarily executing Ukrainian citizens.
  • Iranian sources told Reuters on February 21 that Iran provided hundreds of short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) to Russia in early January.
  • Russian authorities detained a dual US-Russian citizen in Yekaterinburg on suspicion of raising money for the Ukrainian war effort.
  • Russian forces made confirmed advances near Avdiivka, Donetsk City, Robotyne, and Krynky.
  • Belarusian and Kazakh companies are reportedly helping Russia circumvent international sanctions intended to deprive the Russian defense industrial base (DIB) of Western components and machines.
  • Russian occupation administrations continue to foster patronage networks with Russian federal subjects.

For full report:  https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-february-21-2024 

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