NewsPutin's new Defense Minister signals shift to prolonged wartime economy

Putin's new Defense Minister signals shift to prolonged wartime economy

Putin has shifted Russia to war mode - according to an expert, he is preparing the country for a long-term war.
Putin has shifted Russia to war mode - according to an expert, he is preparing the country for a long-term war.
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6:33 AM EDT, May 21, 2024

Russia expert Mark Galeotti writes in "The Times" that the recent changes in the Russian government indicate that Putin plans to radically transform his country. "He is turning it into a permanently mobilized state, waging continuous wars with deep consequences for the rest of the world," he warns.

Mark Galeotti warns that Putin is anticipating a long war of attrition, which he believes will depend on organizing three key assets of Russia: the military-industrial complex, the population, and the will to win.

Let's recall that longtime Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was recently replaced by economist Andrei Belousov. This move is interpreted as the appointment of a planner for a long-term war.

The "Times" expert notes that in his speech, Belousov emphasized the priority of integrating the defense economy with the civilian one, which means adapting the country's economy to wartime needs and opening the department to innovations.

The new defense minister has already fired three deputies from Shoigu's team. New arrests have taken place, including that of former Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Yuri Kuznetsov, who was detained on corruption charges, notes the expert.

Galeotti points out that creating a state in a constant state of war has many benefits for Putin and his entourage – it means that the state will more closely control the economy, giving people close to Putin ample opportunities for corruption.

Moreover, in a militarized state, it is easier to justify suppressing critical voices and there is an alibi for any unfulfilled promises regarding the economy, infrastructure, and social security.

This will not end in Ukraine. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that this conflict will be resolved within the next few years. In any case, Putin has made it clear that he fundamentally sees this as a proxy war with the West. There is no credible evidence that he seeks to initiate a direct conflict with NATO, but he sees himself as already being at war – economically, politically, culturally, and socially – with the West, summarized Galeotti.
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