18 June 2024
President Putin replaces Defense Minister 3

President Putin replaces Defense Minister 3

President Putin nominated economist Andrey Belousov as defense minister, replacing Mr. Shoigu, marking a major change in military leadership.

According to President Vladimir Putin’s ministerial nomination list announced by the Russian Senate on May 12, Mr. Belousov, 65 years old, former deputy prime minister and economist, was nominated as defense minister.

Mr. Belousov, also a former economics minister, has been one of the most influential economic advisers in Russia over the past decade.

He also worked with President Putin’s top technocrats, who wanted greater innovation and were open to new ideas.

Mr. Andrey Belousov attended a government meeting in Moscow in 2020. Photo: Reuters

Belousov plays a key role in overseeing Russia’s drone program.

President Putin also announced a decree appointing current Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, 68 years old, as secretary of the Russian Security Council, replacing Mr. Nikolai Patrushev.

`Mr. Shoigu will continue to take on a role in the defense sector that he understands,` Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

The Kremlin also said that Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov would continue to supervise military activities in Ukraine.

President Putin replaces Defense Minister

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu during the Victory Day parade at Red Square on May 9.

According to the announced nomination list, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, head of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov and head of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergey Naryshkin will continue in their current positions.

According to the Russian constitution, President Putin is required to appoint new ministers or reappoint incumbents, after taking the oath of office.

Mr. Shoigu’s departure from his position was surprising because the media had previously reported that he would continue to be defense minister.

Peskov said that means it’s important to ensure spending is in line with the country’s overall economy, which is why President Putin wants an economist to lead the Defense Ministry.

`The one who is more open to innovations is the one who will win on the battlefield,` Peskov said.

Mr. Shoigu, appointed Russian Defense Minister in 2012, is a longtime friend and ally of President Putin.

Former Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, one of Mr. Shoigu’s harshest critics, led a rebellion in June 2023 to overthrow Mr. Shoigu and failed.

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