NewsPutin shakes up Russian military, appoints new Chief of Defense

Putin shakes up Russian military, appoints new Chief of Defense

Vladimir Putin introduces changes in the military after many years.
Vladimir Putin introduces changes in the military after many years.
Images source: © Getty Images | 2022 Getty Images

7:14 AM EDT, May 14, 2024

Vladimir Putin recently extended his rule until at least 2030 and is now implementing changes within the military. Sergei Shoigu, who has served as the Minister of Defense since 2012, has been appointed to lead Russia's Security Council. This reshuffling signals significant transformations ahead for the Russian military.
Bloomberg, referencing sources, reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed Andrey Belousov as the new Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, sidelining Sergei Shoigu to a less visible role.

According to three agency sources, Putin reassigned him as the secretary of the Security Council due to impatience with ongoing corruption within the Ministry of Defense, which has hindered the military's effectiveness. Putin is demanding substantial reforms in this regard.

The leadership change at the Ministry of Defense might also be linked to the 2023 revolt led by Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin. The rebels criticized Shoigu for inadequate supplies, rampant corruption, and shortages, which they claimed led to significant military setbacks.

Andrey Belousov, 65, was reportedly taken aback when Putin asked him to become defense minister. Nevertheless, he accepted the role without hesitation, viewing Putin as not just a president but a global figure reshaping world history—a proposition he felt unable to decline.

This marks the most substantial shift in the Russian military apparatus in over a decade. The Associated Press highlighted the uncertainty surrounding Shoigu's future as Minister of Defense, partly because of corruption scandals implicating ministry officials. Notably, Deputy Minister of Defense Timur Ivanov was arrested in April, suspected of accepting a significant bribe, facing up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

The investigation into Timur Ivanov is believed to extend to his superior, first Deputy Minister of Defense Ruslan Tsalikov. Shoigu has faced criticism for his management of the war in Ukraine. With Vladimir Putin expecting more remarkable military achievements, Shoigu's successor is poised to encounter similar challenges.

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