Purges in Russian Defense Ministry — what to expect

Andrey Belousov
Andrey Belousov

Newly appointed Russian Defense Minister Andrey Belousov is cleaning up corrupt staff who served under Shoigu, former Russian MP Ilya Ponomarev said in an interview with NV Radio on May 21, commenting on the dismissal of Shoigu's deputy Yuri Sadovenko.

"Of course, there is a certain purge of all his corrupt staff who were involved in the property and construction that took place in the Defense Ministry; those who had access to the money," Ponomarev said.

"I believe that this is what Belousov will do. Unfortunately, he is not a very corrupt person, but quite ideological."

Ponomarev said he does not understand how the Russian Defense Ministry will work after that, because "everything worked based on people's interest in money there."

Read also: Kremlin views Shoigu's shift to Security Council Secretary as lateral move, not a demotion, says Peskov

Corruption in the Russian government is "a certain motivation" for the people who work there and an additional lever of influence that guarantees their loyalty, "because everyone has a red folder that can be opened at the right moment if a person ceases to be loyal to [Russian dictator Vladimir] Putin," Ponomarov said.

"It will be necessary to build a new vertical, it will take some time," he said.

Ponomarov also called Belousov an "ideological enemy" who "wants to build a real military complex that would work for the war and work effectively."

Changes in the Russian government

Putin decided on May 12 not to reappoint Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who had led the ministry for almost 12 years. Instead, Andrei Belousov, the first deputy prime minister and a former aide to Putin, will become the new defense minister. Belousov has no military experience.

The Federation Council will consider his candidacy for the post of defense minister on May 13-14.

Shoigu was appointed secretary of the Russian Security Council, replacing Nikolai Patrushev. Shoigu had been the head of the Russian Defense Ministry since Nov. 6, 2012.

The U.S.-based think tank Institute for the Study of War noted in its report that the replacement of the minister indicates that Putin is taking significant steps to mobilize the Russian economy and military-industrial complex to support the ongoing war in Ukraine and possibly prepare for a future confrontation with NATO.

A current Russian federal official, anonymously commenting on Shoigu's resignation to the iStories outlet, said it was a "shock for everyone" and meant that the war was "for a long time."

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine