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Putin signs decree officially appointing Belousov as new Russian defense minister

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 14, 2024 11:44 PM 2 min read
Andrei Belousov speaks during a meeting of the Federation Council's Committee on Defence and Security in Moscow, Russia, on May 13, 2024. (Federation Council Press Service/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin officially appointed Andrei Belousov as the new defense minister, according to a signed decree posted on the Kremlin's website on May 14.

Putin proposed on May 12 that Belousov, a former aide and Russia's economy minister from 2012-2013, should replace Sergei Shoigu as defense minister in a surprise reshuffle of Russia's security and defense apparatus.

Shoigu had faced criticism for the Russian military's poor performance in Ukraine. Instead of being fully removed from the upper ranks of Russia's government, Shoigu received a somewhat lateral position change and was named the new secretary of Russia's security council.

The former secretary, Nikolai Patrushev, has been reappointed as an aide to Putin.

According to Russian media, Belousov is a staunch Putin loyalist and a member of his inner circle. As with Shoigu, Belousov had no previous military experience before being appointed defense minister.

Belousov said that his predecessor modernized Russia's Armed Forces, and Putin has now "set the task of ensuring the integration of the economy of the Armed Forces into the country's economy," according to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

This "implies increasing the efficiency of military spending," according to RIA Novosti.

In terms of his priorities as minister, "all the most pressing current issues are related" to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Belousov said.

Putin proposes firing Shoigu, appointing new defense minister
Belousov was Russia’s economy minister in 2012-2013, an aide to Putin in 2013-2020, and first deputy prime minister in 2020-2024.
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