Ukraine claims its forces killed Russian Major General Vitaly Gerasimov, who has the same surname as that of the Russian army chief.

Not only do the two share the same surname, they also come from a Turkic-majority city of Kazan, where they went to the same school.
Not only do the two share the same surname, they also come from a Turkic-majority city of Kazan, where they went to the same school. (AP)

The killing of Russian Major General Vitaly Gerasimov in Ukraine, as claimed by Kiev, has led many people on the social media to question if he was a relative of Russian army chief Valery Gerasimov.

What sparked people’s curiosity on Tuesday are interesting facts about the two military men. 

Not only do the two share the same surname, they also come from a Turkic-majority city of Kazan, where they went to the same school.

45-year old Major General Vitaly Gerasimov, first deputy commander of Russia's 41st army, was killed on Monday, the Chief Directorate of Intelligence of Ukraine's defence ministry said in a statement.

Russian defence ministry did not comment on the Ukrainian claim.

Russian state newspaper Pravda also reported on the death of Gerasimov. Christo Grozev, executive director of investigative journalism outfit Bellingcat, also said in a tweet that it had confirmed Gerasimov's death.

Young Gerasimov was born on July 9, 1977 in Kazan. He graduated from the Kazan Higher Tank Command School in 1999.

Russia's military chief was also born in Kazan in 1955, and also graduated from the same tank command school in 1977.

Young general, whose full name is Vitaly Petrovich Gerasimov, does not appear to be the son of the elder one as his patronymic name, Petrovitch, means that he is the son of Petro. Nevertheless, there could be a connection between the two. 

Some users on social media have claimed that the Russian general killed in Kharkiv was nephew of the chief of staff. But, we are not able to verify this claim. 

'Military man from head to toe'

The older Gerasimov has attained mythic status. He was born in 1955 in Kazan, a Turkic-majority city in the Republic of Tatarstan within Russia. But it’s not clear whether he carries any Turkic ancestry. 

He served in the armoured divisions of the Red Army throughout the former Soviet Union. Gerasimov was also one of the commanders of the North Caucasus army during the second Chechen war (1999-2009). 

Gerasimov, described by Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu as a “military man from head to toe”, led operations in Ukraine in 2014, in Syria and now, again, in Ukraine.

His international fame, however, is based on a misunderstanding. He is said to be the inventor of Russian “hybrid warfare”, which combines the use of conventional weapons with non-military methods – such as disinformation or cyberattacks – to prepare the ground for soldiers.

There is even a “Gerasimov doctrine” named for this military approach. But the creator of the term, Mark Galeotti, a Western analyst, later tried to downplay his own creation, believing its interpretations went further than his own initial intentions.

READ MORE: All Putin’s men

Source: TRT World