Another Putin’s puppet to lead Russian Defense Ministry, says UK’s Grant Shapps

Andrey Belousov
Andrey Belousov

Russia’s new Defense Minister, Andrey Belousov, “another of Putin’s puppets,” British Defense Minister Grant Shapps said on X on May 12, commenting on the government reshuffle in Moscow.

On May 12, in a surprising move, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree replacing Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu with Andrey Belousov, previously the first deputy prime minister. Shoigu, who has led the Defense Ministry since Nov. 6, 2012, will take over as Security Council Secretary from Nikolai Patrushev. Patrushev, who has been head of the Security Council since May 2008, was "dismissed in connection with the transition to another job," according to the decree, though no further details on his new position were announced.

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The outgoing Shoigu "has overseen over 355,000 casualties among his own soldiers and mass civilian suffering with an illegal campaign in Ukraine," wrote a critic. "Russia needs a Defense Minister who would undo that disastrous legacy and end the invasion," he added.

The Federation Council will consider Andrey Belousov's candidacy for Defense Minister on May 13-14, according to a report by the Russian opposition publication Meduza.

The replacement of Sergei Shoigu with Belousov indicates that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is likely taking significant steps to mobilize the Russian economy and defense-industrial complex, particularly to support the protracted war in Ukraine and potentially prepare for a future confrontation with NATO, the Institute for the Study of War stated on May 13.

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