Ukraine War Day #260: The Death Of A Russian Hero

Dear Readers:

Yesterday was an absolutely horrid day for the pro-Russian crowd, as everybody knows. When I woke up this morning, I just wanted to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head. Instead, I forced myself to get up and do what always makes me feel better: Writing.

In tomorrow’s post I plan to do a more analytical piece on the Kherson situation. But today I just want to focus on the tragic death of Kirill Stremousov, one of the heroes of this Kherson story. Just by unfortunate coincidence, Stremousov was killed in a road accident on the very same day that General Surovikin announced the Russian intention to withdraw from Kherson. Conspiracy theorists jumped all over this, naturally, pointing out that Stremousov had been an outspoken opponent of abandoning Kherson. Had even come into conflict with his boss over this issue. These ill-wishers even insidiously imply that Kirill was conveniently “wiped out” to shut him up. Or something like that. All baseless. The fact is that Kirill had come around to acceptance of the basic plan. He had already evacuated from Kherson himself and moved his own office to the Left Bank, where he worked as the Deputy to Kherson Governor Vladimir Saldo.

Kirill Stremousov

First, as to the pronunciation of his name: I have seen Anglophones pronounce it the way they assume, according to the English spelling, in 3 syllables: Stre-MOO-sov. In reality, his name is pronounced in Russian with 4 syllables: Stre-mo-US-ov.

The etymology of this odd name is somewhat unclear. It is a compound. The second root Russian –us means moustache or whiskers. The first root stremo– is an archaic Slavic word meaning “pokey” or “sticky-out” and is usually associated with a word like stremo-ukhiy (“he who sticks his ears out, in other words, is keen of hearing”). Etymology of this root can only be traced back as far as Proto-Slavic *strьměti, with the meaning of “sticking out”, “fixing on” (like fixing one’s gaze onto something).

So, the name Stremo-usov could perhaps be a jokey corruption of Stremo-ukhiy. Or, it could literally mean, “He who sticks his whiskers out”. Well, Kirill was known for having a little goatee on his chin, which sometimes made him look like a seminary student.

In looks, Stremousov was a blonde, purely Slavic type, of Ukrainian ethnicity. Born in 1976. In Donetsk. Graduated from Western Ukrainian University. Became a businessman, owned his own company selling fish food. Worked as a Fish Inspector in Kiev (2007), but left to live in Kherson in 2009.

At a certain point became involved in Ukrainian politics, as a supporter of President Viktor Yanukovych. Came out as anti-Maidan in 2014. Was known as a scrappy activist: In 2017 he attacked Kherson’s then-Mayor, dragged him out onto the street, and demanded that he have the snow cleared away. Later went to a municipal Soviet meeting and publicly beat up a cop.

From 2018-2019 was Chairman of the Kherson wing of the Socialist Party of Ukraine, then headed by Ilya Kiva. During the Covid pandemic, Kirill made several videos in which he (prophetically) accused the Ukrainian government of maintaining American biowarfare laboratories and spreading, among things, Covid. [What sounded crazy at the time is now just common lore.]

In 2021 Kirill joined the pro-Russian political party called Derzhava. When the Russians invaded, Stremousov supported Russia and joined the new administration as Deputy Chairman of the Military-Civilian Occupation Government. On 28 September 2022 Kirill finally received his Russian passport and became a Russian citizen.

Yesterday he was killed, just 8 kilometers from the town of Novaya Kakhovka. According to the available information: Kirill was riding in an SUV, not sitting in the driver’s seat himself (as Deputy Gov he had his own personal driver). A truck suddenly appeared out of nowhere and made a dangerous maneuver. Kirill’s driver was forced to swerve to avoid a collision with the truck; but his car ended up flying off the road and rolling over. The impact was so intense that the SUV was just torn apart, and the cabin separated from the chassis. Nothing is said about the driver, but one assumes he was killed too, along with Stremousov. I have not read anything about the truck, presumably the truck driver would be arrested for unsafe driving.

Just by chance, RIA reporters and military correspondents Alexander Kharchenko and Sergei Shilov, almost witnessed the accident. They happened to be driving along that same highway, Melitopol-Kherson. They saw the crashed SUV at the side of the road, but they didn’t stop to check it out, they just kept on driving. (They were used to seeing crashed cars and equipment in the war zone. Besides, they could tell that responsible people were already on the scene, and they didn’t want to get in the way. They had no idea that such an important official was involved, or they probably would have stopped, to get the scoop on the story.)

Finishing whatever their errand was, on the road back, these reporters did actually stop at the scene of the accident to check it out. (By this time they knew, somehow, who was involved.) At that time Kherson had no phone connectivity and no internet, so they couldn’t call it in. And this factor also explains why the communication about the event was so sketchy at first, thus helping give rise to conspiracy theories. Doing their due diligence, the reporters studied the scene for any sign of explosives, and found none. “This was not a terrorist act,” they concluded. “Just a simple and tragic accident.”

And anybody who knows what crazy drivers Russians and Ukrainians are, would have to agree. The miracle is that there is not even more carnage on the roads than what we see.

A Posthumous Hero

Later in the day — well, by this time everybody on the internet was calling President Putin a weasel for not delivering the bad news himself about Kherson; and just delegating to Shoigu; but then Putin did at least one good thing: He signed a decree awarding Stremousov posthumously with the Order of Valor. Final word goes to Vladimir Rogov, who, in Zaporozhie, chairs the movement We Together With Russia: “Stremousov was always at the forefront of the Russian world in all senses: in the information war, in the military; he was always willing to go out there, farther than any normal functionary would ever dare to go.”

This entry was posted in Breaking News, Celebrity Gossip, Military and War and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Ukraine War Day #260: The Death Of A Russian Hero

  1. Montmorency says:

    “he attacked Kherson’s then-Mayor, dragged him out onto the street, and demanded that he have the snow cleared away”

    My kind of fellow, rest in peace Kirill.

    Like

  2. yalensis says:

    Some factual updates, I just saw this piece .

    Apparently, it was not an SVU, the way I had translated the Russian word внедорожник (“off-road vehicle”), this reporter says it was a Jeep Lexus (didn’t know they made those!) adapted with armored protection.

    Preliminary reports indicate that the driver of the truck did something wrong, like cut him off, or some other dangerous move. Kirill’s driver could not cope, tried to swerve to avoid the collision with the truck.
    The accident happened at the intersection of two highways, M-14 and P-47.

    Then something even sadder: Kirill leaves behind 5 children, with a 6th on the way!
    Presumably, his posthumous medal may add something to the pension his wife will receive? One hopes the family will be taken care of.

    Like

  3. BM says:

    O/T. Kherson. Larry Johnson cites a response of Kadyrov to the withdrawal, supporting the wisdom of the move. It seems that the physical location of Kherson makes for considerable difficulties of supply and defences. These things don’t seem to have been adequately addressed before Surovikin took over.

    My best guess: they will withdraw the troops but use standoff weapons, aviation, drones and artillery to make the whole region they have vacated a no-entry zone for any Ukrainians trying to get in. Thus they’ll try to hold off any attempts by the Ukrainians to come in until the ground is well and truly frozen, and then mount a huge blitzkrieg forcing their way across the river and up to Nikolaev and Odessa. They certainly don’t want civilians in the way on the right bank when the time comes.

    Like

    • yalensis says:

      The one bright spot for Shoigu/Surovikin is that they were able to enlist the support of both major warlords (Kadyrov and Progozhin) before announcing this retreat. So the Russian commanders are presenting a unified front here, which has not always been the case, especially during times of setbacks. This solidarity will serve them against the full force of the public blowback, and I give the credit to Surovikin.

      Like

    • Ben says:

      How the flying fuck do you have ‘considerable difficulties of supply and defences’ against an enemy with no navy, no air force, that is outnumbered 10:1 in artillery, and that is supposedly stuck in the mud with little fuel and few heavy vehicles? And on top of that Russia is constantly claiming it has amazing interception and defense systems of its own. Apparently not, if they’re just giving up because they claim they can’t keep bridges and barges safe.

      Russia can’t claim that this is a lightly defended secondary region held mostly by militia and national guard like it could with other areas. Kherson is the place Russia put in a bunch of effort fortifying and deploying reinforcements to.

      This is just fucking pathetic. And it’s making me go back and reassess a lot of the ‘propaganda’ claims about the Russian war effort so far. This is a fucking embarrassment. Maybe the Russian military is just as corrupt and inept as so much else about neoliberal Russia.

      I’ll also have to add that if this is precautionary because they’re worried about a major Ukrainian offensive, uh, we’ve been lead to believe Ukraine can’t conduct any more major operations. But they keep happening. And each time we’re assured that this is the last Battle of the Bulge gasp and after it gets stuck Ukraine will have nothing left. Yet here we are.

      Like

      • yalensis says:

        My personal view from just analysis and logic: I think there were a lot of f*ck-ups and mistakes made. The biggest one, maybe, being to allow those HIMARS and other Western equipment to get to the front.

        I believe that General Surovikin inherited an ungodly mess. His first order of business being to fix the Kherson situation in the only way that he felt made any sense; and then after that we shall see.

        Like

  4. peter moritz says:

    https://www.moonofalabama.org/
    This move is operationally sound.
    Strategically the move is bad.

    The problem seems to me, that Russia thought – correctly in the beginning – that terms could be negotiated. What it likely did not foresee was that NATO was absolutely unwilling to negotiate, as the messenger pigeon BOJO made clear in March.

    Hindsight is almost always 20/20, and at that point, the Russian mobilization should have begun. I should have been clear, that NATO’s unwillingness to negotiate was the signal that the war was going to be fought, with everything that NATO could spare, short of its own troops sending mercenaries into the fight after most of the original Ukrainian army was destroyed during summer.

    I have a feeling that this was not clearly seen, maybe could not have been foreseen. Talking about NATO fighting to the last Ukrainian was already talked about in the beginning, but not really believed, and thus the destruction of dual-use infrastructure to hinder NATOs plans not even contemp[lated till lately.

    What is the reason for this? Naivety in Russia not to take the US and NATO seriously in its attempt to defeat Russia in Ukraine? If that was the case, then the analyst the RF relied upon should be keelhauled and chopped into pieces afterward.

    Many of us observing were worried from the beginning that there were not enough troops in the field, but were sort of convinced by others that Russia would know better. Maybe Russia didn’t. On top of this was the lack of real economic warfare against Europe and the US, to cut them off from necessary supplies right from the start.

    Something that many tried to excuse claiming Russia needed foreign exchange, a completely idiotic argument, as foreign currencies in the enemies’ currencies were no longer available and blocked. And a Nation with sovereign currency does not need foreign exchange when it has sufficient labour and raw materials to produce almost everything needed itself. That is what autarky means in the end.

    Any government can create as much currency as it needs to accommodate an economy of balanced production and consumption, without creating debt. Check out MMT – what it really says, but do not check out what critics say about it who obviously do not understand money and its creation: https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2020/12/02/mmt-a-primer/

    Like

    • yalensis says:

      The Russian government listened to “intelligence analysts” who got everything wrong.

      Like

      • Beluga says:

        Exellent comments. All well argued.

        I went looking for more pictures of the crashed vehicle because what was posted here didn’t make any sense. Jeep doesn’t make a Lexus or vice versa because they’re completely different companies, so as a car nut I knew reporters on the ground were amateurs in identifying automotive makes and models. “Yes, officer, I’m sure it was one of them Ford Chevrolet things.”

        The vehicle seems to have been an aftermarket armoured Lexus version of the Toyota Land Cruiser or Toyota 4 Runner, but had four doors, so likely the former. Fat on-road tires, not off. The crash was horrific. The body was indeed torn off the separate frame, which still has the four wheels attached, sitting some distance away. That kind of destruction implies very high speed when it hit whatever it hit. Nasty.

        The search took me to some Polish site, a world where Stremousov is described as a traitor and collaborator. And where the retreating Russians near Kherson are being decimated by HIMARS and rare Russian equipment captured, a Typhoon-K troop carrier.

        As for the whole military situation, it seems clear as mud to me. That’s why I enjoyed the speculation in the comments today. One idea is as good as another as to the future. If only the Russians were better at locating Ukro artillery emplacements or where they scamper off to after firing, then the shelling of Donetsk City and other places could have been stopped. And the likely shelling to come of Crimea from Kherson prevented. Whatever the electricity grid disruptions, supplies of supposedly almost non-existent shells, food and equipment to the Ukro front lines seem to have been little impacted. The Russian aerospace forces seem little utilized. And if just over 100,000 of Kherson City residents have so far been evacuated, what and who are the remaining 200,000? Ethnic Ukrainian speakers?

        As I said, situation clear as mud to me.

        Like

        • yalensis says:

          I am going to monitor the news and see if they ever identify, or arrest, the truck driver who drove Stremousov off the road.
          I still believe that it was a random accident, but I want to know who was driving that truck.

          Like

          • gepay says:

            With hindsight and without the fog of war it is easy to see the successes and failures of the Russian SMO. The initial invasion was mostly successful. Kherson was captured without a fight but it now appears to have been a mistake not to have made a larger effort to capture Nikopol. Mariupol was isolated and then captured. I imagine the Russians thought we will spare the infrastructure as there is no way we will not eventually win. The capture of Popasyna was a major win allowing the subsequent capture of Sverodonetsk and Lidyshank. Ukainian efforts to recapture the nuclear plant were stopped . Advances from Izium to the end of capturing Slavyansk were stopped by the Ukrainians. The whole Russian effort seemed to bog down. The first couple of Ukrainian offensives on Kherson were debacles with only a small beach head across the river accomplished despite heavy losses of men and material. There were Russian advances towards Nikopol. Then NATO took over after Russia had basically defeated Ukraine, With hindsight the Russian mobilisation should have begun then .The destruction of Ukrain’s electric grid begun. The Kharkov region including Izium had been denuded of troops. It was there that Ukraine had its first success. Belyansk and Kupiansk were taken. The Russians tried to stop them at the Iskil river but failed. LIman was lost before the Russian line held. All the while from the beginning of the war the Russians had been hammering at the Bakmunst – Donetsk front and making small gains but never able to stop the shelling of Donetsk. A snails pace of advance would not come close describing the slowness. Even though the Russians destroyed a dam (some dams?) to cause logistical problems for the Ukrainian beachhead across the river in Kherson they did not eliminate it. All through September and October the Russians were not able to stop the continuing Ukrainian advances in Kherson. The Ukrainian advance in Kharkiv did bog down . With hindsight, these Ukrainian successes would have been able to be stopped it the Russians had added 20 or 30 thousand troops at the end of June and started the destruction of the Ukrainian electric grid. Now they have announced the abandoning of Kherson city giving up any hope of capturing Odessa in the near term It is hard to call the Russian operation a big success at this time. It is hard to call the Ukrainians capturing a large amount of strategically unimportant territory while losing several hundred thousand men with huge amounts of material losses while inflicting insignificant losses on the Russians any kind of success. Their country is been destroyed. The number of losses of the Ukrainian military men is a tragedy; Without Boris Johnson’s visit to Kiev the war would have ended in a negotiated settlement without serious losses for either side.

            Like

  5. mtnforge says:

    Hopefully he is in Heaven with all his family and friends.
    The Russian’s have done the smart thing abandoning the right bank. Everyone who is Russia’s friend and ally will understand and support it. That leaves the rest to do whatever hate stuff they need. Go pound sand.
    Any Command that puts its Soldiers first is right, its a part if the great Warrior virtues to do so, no shame in that. It is the smart strategic and tactical move.
    Nobody can predict which way war goes all the time nor control the fortunes if war. It is how you handle the unknowns and unforeseen that matters. And it is only territory. It is not strategic in the sense it is lost, it is there and can be re-acquired. That may become increasingly much easier in time. Who knows, maybe the Russian Alliance chooses to do a sea invasion and work up from Odessa, then jump onto the tight bank and do a classic pincer movement. Plus by reducing resources trying to hold the right bank presently those resources can now be used otherwise, every way I look at it its got many a win-win aspects over holding onto Kherson. And their ain’t a lot of strategic value in it.
    This situation puts the pressure and onus on the ukronazi’s now. Its a lot easier to bomb it from a distance, takes far more resources and men to defend it and administer to its needs and people, and it could put a lot of pressure on their resources which hamper them further now that they are directly responsible for taking care of it.
    Most likely all who chose to leave and make a home in other places in Russia left behind those who choose ukronazis over being Russians. Let them, its their choice, thats freedom. Besides why administer resources to those who do not appreciate such? Never going to win many of those hearts and minds after everything thats gone down. And if rumors are true what happened up around Kharkov some will not live long to appreciate the Russian Alliance. Something just ain’t right in heads who choose nazism and satanic globo=peedo rule over freedom and liberty and economic security.
    All in all I say leaving for the left bank is the smart move.

    Like

  6. peter moritz says:

    “All in all I say leaving for the left bank is the smart move”

    It is not smart, just a move necessitated by not appreciating or recognizing NATO goals and politics and re-acting instead of pre-acting, as Russia did by preempting Ukraine’s invasion of Donbas.
    Russia clearly failed to anticipate or react in a timely fashion to NATO’s intention to never negotiate until it is in an advantageous position.

    Even if this is likely not possible considering the available equipment and manpower of the Russian army, by this delayed reaction and not taking NATO’s intention seriously, including it sending tens of thousands of mercenaries and drawing down much of its stock, Russia will sacrifice more manpower and equipment than had it reacted with full force immediately at the begin of April, not by occupying land but following he US example of shock and awe.
    The firs bombs on Kiev, destruction of infrastructure but no civilian areas, Kiev would have been warned to either evacuate or suffer the consequences. It does not pay to be nice to your opponent when he is trying to bleed you dry.

    After BOJO’s interference in March, it should have been clear to Russia what NATO was planning.

    Like

    • yalensis says:

      Totally agree. I think, from the very beginning, Russia should have gone in whole-hog, destroying the railway system, the bridges, and the electricity. Shock and awe against NATO. NATO are bullies, and they only understand force. This is why they never attack North Korea, because North Korea very aggressive and belligerent. NATO does not respect anything less than sheer belligerence, that’s the sad reality.

      Like

      • KMD says:

        Shock and Awe would not have been against NATO at the beginning but against
        Ukrainian civilians. There was also the issue of bringing the Russian public on board with the SMO. This started as a Ukrainian civil war and has now escalated to a war between NATO and Russia. All due to the actions of the west to fight to the last Ukrainian. Russia continues to try to minimize casualties even if it doesn’t play well on social media.

        Like

        • james says:

          i agree with you kmd… thanks for saying all that..

          Like

        • yalensis says:

          That’s a good point. It’s very easy to be a Monday-morning quarterback. But looking back, I think the turning point was when the West introduced the HIMARS. Maybe the “shock and awe” should have started then. At least to try to intercept the HIMARS and prevent them from getting to the front.

          If not for the HIMARS, the Ukrainians would not have been able to damage the Antonov Bridge and dam to the point where the Russian contingent risked becoming stranded.

          I recall that Scott Ritter called that one back then [re. the HIMARS being a “game-changer”] and that he was crucified in the Russophile blogosphere for saying such a thing. I recall feeling very worried at the time, and I think it was right to worry; and I think Scott proved to be right about that.

          Like

          • BM says:

            No, the best time for shock and awe would have been in December … i.e. not yet.

            Remember, this war is not about Ukraine, it is about Nato, and Nato plans to destroy and dismember Russia. Ukraine is just the temporary clothing of the battle.

            The slow-it-goes approach – while not without some mistakes like neglecting to adequately secure the defences of Kherson – has served exquisitely well! Not only is the Ukraine army – the biggest, most powerful and best trained proxy force the US ever had – almost totally destroyed, but:

            * Nato stocks of equipment and ammunition are seriously run down;

            * The West has committed economic hari-kiri on a gigantic scale, leaving the West impoverished, extremely weak, and in no condition to wage prolonged warfare;

            * The West has committed reputational hari-kiri on a devastating scale – 85% of the world is more in support of Russia than the US and sees through the dishonesty and bad intentions of the West like never before;

            * Industrial production in the West is shattered and crippled;

            * Society in the West is in revolt against their masters and overlords;

            * Russia herself is stronger than ever and gets stronger with every shot the West fires at her;

            * Key countries like Saudi Arabia are queing up to join BRICS+ – especially for the planned new monetary order;

            * Russia is consolidating control over global resources and trade in them, including gas, oil, rare earths, fertilisers, titanium and many other critical resources;

            * Society in the West – through the self-immolating idiocy of the elites – is losing its cohesiveness;

            * Society in the West and even the elites and puppet-politicians have been gradually, more and more prepared for the changes that Russia demanded in December 2021 which they flat out rejected and ridiculed at that time – but which eventually they will have to accede to;

            * and lots lots more …

            None of this could have been achieved without the brilliant go-slow approach that Russia has adopted up to now. Instead, Russia would have finished up the war in Ukraine quickly, leaving everything else – all the REAL problems – untouched, and would then have lost the moral opportunity to solve the core problems once and for all. Then in 5 years the problems from Nato come back again!

            Now, on with the next phase, and a huge change in gear! What is to come has been enabled by what went before.

            Like

        • peter moritz says:

          “Shock and Awe would not have been against NATO at the beginning but against Ukrainian civilians.”

          I did not talk about the SMO in the beginning, but it should have been clear to any observer of the action, that from the point of BOJO’s interference in the negotiations in Ankara NATO was fully committed to countering Russia and also prolonging the war to hurt Russia economically and deplete her army.

          That was the point that changed the picture completely, as it demonstrated who really was in charge, and that was NATO from this point forward. So your argument is wrong.

          Like

  7. Apologies for looking sceptically (as it’s spelt Downundahere) at the noble dead, but as I was reading this, I wondered how StremoUSov would appear to people on the opposite pole from him. (Thanks for the pronunciation guide — I had been mentally pronouncing it the former way when I saw his name before.) One side’s righteous mayor-dragger is the other side’s rioting rabble-man.

    Strem manhandled mayors and beat up cops? Possibly well-deserved, but how is that different from Azov goons who got their start as football hooligans? Physical force as a means of political power. The guys he thrashed might have deserved it for being jerks. But to supporters of the jerkocracy (and there are always some, or the jerx would be isolated and powerless) the cop-thumper looks like a dangerous dickhead.

    Was Strem a military guy, or all political? I have not researched his career. Other things to do. I suppose in Kherson, a big man would inevitably have to pick up a gun and front up to the firing line sometime. Did he have a radio handle like Motorola or Givi? How would you compare him to those sainted two, Yalensis? Or with Strelkov, who seems to have had a similar trajectory? Only he’s still alive. Was it you that had some negative things to say about his recent presentation, or some other pro-Rus blogger? I’ve read that Strelkov has stopped being an agitated “hit ‘em harder” hardhead on the Internet and has rejoined the ranks of the fighting men, so good on him for putting his arse where his mouth was.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s