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Putin’s Bold Move: Economic Expert to Lead Russia’s Defense Ministry

Daniel Kim Views  

Reuters-Yonhap News

Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu will be replaced by former first deputy prime minister and economic expert Andrei Belousov after 12 years in office.

According to TASS, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed this personnel change to the upper house on the 12th, local time.

Shoigu was appointed as the secretary of the National Security Council on that day, and the new duties of former secretary Nikolai Patrushev are expected to be announced. The Kremlin announced that former Minister Shoigu will also be responsible for military-industrial complexes.

The heads of Russian security and diplomatic departments such as defense, interior, foreign affairs, and emergencies are decided after the president nominates candidates and they are reviewed by the upper house. The replacement of the defense minister is presumed to be approved within this week.

AP-Yonhap News

President Putin, who won his fifth term in the presidential election last March, officially took office on the 7th and is forming a new government.

Former Minister Shoigu, who has led the Ministry of Defense for 12 years since 2012, commanded the Special Military Operation, a war of aggression against Ukraine that began in February 2022.

Reuters evaluated Putin’s nomination of Belousov, a civilian known for economic decision-making rather than knowledge of the battlefield, as the most surprising event.

Concerning this, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesperson, explained to reporters that Russia is approaching a situation similar to the mid-1980s Soviet Union when the military and law enforcement accounted for 7.4% of national expenditure, and it was important for such expenditures to align with the overall interests of the country, hence Putin wanted a civilian with an economic background as the defense minister.

He also emphasized that the person who is more open to innovation seizes victory In today’s battlefield.

Pyongyang Korean Central News Agency-Yonhap News

However, there have been assessments that his position has become unstable recently as his close aide, former Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov, was detained on charges of taking bribes.

Reuters analyzed that this replacement may be seen as Putin’s attempt to scrutinize defense spending more closely to ensure money is used more effectively, and by assigning Shoigu, who legally holds a higher position than the defense minister, to ensure continuity of work and save his face.

Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, who is effectively commanding the war in Ukraine, has remained in office. President Putin also proposed a reappointment for Sergei Lavrov, who has been leading the Russian Foreign Ministry since 2000.

Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Minister of Internal Affairs, Alexander Kurenkov, Minister of Emergency Situations, Viktor Zolotov, Commander of the National Guard (Internal Troops), Dmitry Kochnev, Director of the Federal Protective Service (FSO), Alexander Bortnikov, Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), and Sergei Naryshkin, Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) will also remain in office.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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