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What are some synonyms to 'tenure' when the post is informal? Can I say 'during his deployment' or 'during his assignment'? Lexico doesn't support this view, the words don't have a sense "a period of time". What can I use instead then? I don't like 'during his service' because it doesn't fit the context: the man in question is more of a supervisor than a servant.

As the investigation found, no later than in June 2014, a GRU officer was deployed to Luhansk where he served as a military advisor. During his [deployment], he coordinated military activities of pro-Russian insurgents and mercenaries of the so-called Wagner Group.

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You don't need to worry about a specific "period of time" sense in the dictionary for "deployment" or "assignment", because that meaning is already implied by the word "during".

The word "service" is not limited to working as a menial servant. It is commonly used to mean functioning in a job or position, and it might be the best word in another context.

In your example, however, "service" may not be the best word, since this was a secret operation, not entirely legitimate. You've already used "deployed", and either "deployment" or "assignment" would fit there.

In response to a comment about the possible uses of "deployment", I am adding this reference: Merriam-Webster "deployment"
noun, 1a: also : an instance of such placement (as in a battle zone) for a period of time

If you want to use a structure other than "during his NOUN", you could say "while he was detailed there".
American Heritage Dictionary "detail"
tr. verb 3. To assign to a particular duty

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  • But it doesn't mean that everything that follows the word 'during' automatically assumes that semantic role. The entry for 'deployment' clearly doesn't allow for that. Do you think it's incomplete? – Sergey Zolotarev Jun 15 at 16:25
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    @SergeyZolotarev "Deployment" definitely allows for that. I've added a dictionary reference to my answer to show that meaning. The word "during his deployment" could possibly mean during the days when he was actually moving into place, but the entire sentence excludes that meaning, and forces the meaning of the period of time during which he was in place. – Jack O'Flaherty Jun 15 at 16:55
  • MW is a sub-par dictionary compared to Oxford: it includes obsolete and uncommon meanings (among its other flaws) – Sergey Zolotarev Jun 15 at 20:13
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    @SergeyZolotarev Try searching for the phrase "during the deployment". There are some 20 million hits for the phrase, and the ten or so I looked at on the first page of results had the sense of the entire time of the service in situ after the movement there. Then look at Google Books, for published examples. My sprachgefühl for English tells me it's a perfectly good word for this purpose.If you are still convinced that it's not a fitting word, then maybe someone else will debate it with you. Over and out. – Jack O'Flaherty Jun 15 at 20:35
  • I don't doubt it. I've seen it myself. The problem is that Lexico (Oxford) unequivocally says, "No, you can't do that". Oxford is an authoritative source which should be reckoned with – Sergey Zolotarev Jun 16 at 2:52

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