New defense minister Belousov balances religious zeal with political loyalty

New Russian Defense Minister Andrei Belousov
New Russian Defense Minister Andrei Belousov

Andrei Belousov, recently appointed by Vladimir Putin as Russia's defense minister, is described as a religious fanatic deeply loyal to the Russian leader, according to Ilya Rozhdestvensky, a correspondent for the Dossier Center, during an interview with Radio NV on May 23.

Belousov is considered less corrupt than his predecessor, Sergei Shoigu, although he owns real estate beyond what his official salary would allow, Rozhdestvensky explained. "His assets do not correspond in any way to the salary he had recently," the journalist noted.

“He is an average corrupt official compared to others, such as the recently arrested Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov, who owned an estate worth billions and lived a luxurious lifestyle openly flaunted by his former wife on Instagram. Andrei Belousov is not known for such extravagance and likely does not lead such a lifestyle. He is a bit more modest.”

Belousov's appointment signals potential unpredictability for Russia and its neighbors, Rozhdestvensky added, pointing out that previous officials in this role were more predictable despite their corruption.

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"From the documents we have read, he seems to be a fanatical, religious person, devoted to his principles, faithful to his goal, and very loyal to Vladimir Putin," Rozhdestvensky said.

“I swear it would be better if he stole money than to be so fanatical.”

Belousov rigorously follows religious practices, often making trivial vows to the Virgin Mary, "to maintain intimate hygiene and call his mother more often, for example," and "sends the loves of his life notes of his conversations with the archbishop."

"A man who is deeply immersed in the Holy Scriptures," Rozhdestvensky added.

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“He is a bit intimidating, to be honest. We knew this about him when he had just been appointed minister of Defense. Everyone immediately remembered that Andrei Belousov is a fairly well-known person in Russia, maybe not super famous, but he is on the radar, but yes, he is religious. And the depth of his religiosity is impressive.”

Moreover, for Belousov, Putin is "on the same level as the Lord God," Rozhdestvensky stated.

"That is, here he makes vows to the Virgin Mary, and I assume he makes vows to Vladimir Putin in the same way," the journalist said.

“And, apparently, he fulfills them in the same way. And this is perhaps the most important thing that we found in his personal documents.”

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