Over the last week, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has maintained a high public profile, likely with the aim of presenting himself as in control of strategic issues while Ukraine accelerates offensive operations.
Shoigu has provided at least two comments on Russia’s defensive operations, including making almost certainly seriously exaggerated claims about Ukrainian losses. This contrasts with other key periods in the war when he had disappeared from public appearances.
Shoigu has also urged Russia’s defence industry to redouble its efforts, and castigated Western Military District officers for not dispatching reserve armoured vehicles to the front quickly enough.
Shoigu is likely acutely aware of the need to maintain a positive image in the face of increasingly unmasked criticism from some fellow Russians.