- Jan 2015
- Ontario, Canada
Likely because he was an ethnic Russian and so could be used as a symbol of the struggle of the Russian people in defence of the Russian homeland.
Similar reasons for why Stalin promoted Zhukov instead of Rokossovsky. Rokossovsky of course being ethnically Polish and also having been purged early on, he might have resentment. But this just leads one to wonder why didn't Rokossovsky have resentment towards Stalin? If he did why didn't he defect like Vlasov had done? Also because Zhukov was more of a personality and therefore better propaganda than promoting the bookish Vasilevsky or the boorish peasant Konev.
My main issue with Kutuzov is that he showed up late to 1805 (well actually he was more or less on schedule, the French just didn't realize it) and then got defeated at Austerlitz. He wasn't in command or 1806 and 1807. He wasn't in the Finnish War, he didn't get sent to fight the Turks until the very end when the previous general died from illness, he wasn't there to fight the Persians either, he missed most of 1812, and then he died right before the first main engagement in 1813. Yet somehow Kutuzov has a massive reputation, which he doesn't really deserve because his objective of defending Moscow was a failure. The French would have withdrawn anyway... Except for a few attacks during the retreat phase, what did he even do?
I think Kutuzov was one of those myths much like how they built up Blucher or Wellington or Nelson. They needed a hero to be the center piece of the Great Patriotic War. Which explains why Kutuzov gets so much credit. Honestly it isn't like he was needed, Barclay would have done the same during the brief time that Kutuzov was actually in command, perhaps better.