Vladimir Putin Appoints Civilian Economist as Defense Minister in Surprise Move

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday unexpectedly replaced his longtime ally and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu with Andrei Belousov, a former deputy prime minister and economist with no military experience. 

This move, which still needs to be approved by Russia’s parliament, has surprised analysts and signaled that Putin has no intention of ending the war in Ukraine anytime soon.

According to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, the appointment of Belousov reflects the need for a defense minister who is open to innovation and can fit Russia’s growing defense budget into the country’s wider economy. 

“Today on the battlefield, the winner is the one who is more open to innovation,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said according to TASS. “Therefore, it is natural that at the current stage, the president decided that the Russian Ministry of Defense should be headed by a civilian.”

Peskov also said that the personnel changes will not affect the military aspect of the war, which remains under the purview of General Valery Gerasimov, Russia’s top general and chief of general staff.

Analysts suggest that Putin’s decision to appoint a civilian economist as defense minister indicates that he expects the military-industrial complex to become a key pillar of Russia’s wartime economy amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. 

The Institute for the Study of War, a think tank, believes that Belousov’s appointment is a significant development in Putin’s efforts to set full economic conditions for a protracted war and may even suggest preparations for a potential confrontation with NATO in the future.

As defense minister, Belousov is expected to act primarily as a financial administrator, ensuring that the defense sector’s needs are met and subordinating much of the economy to support the war effort. 

Meanwhile, Shoigu, the former defense minister, has been appointed as the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, which some experts view as a “reservoir” for Putin’s former key figures who no longer have a place in his inner circle.

Information for this story was found via CNN, TASS, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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