“Vladimir Putin removes Sergei Shoigu from Russian defence ministry”

BBC – Russian President Vladimir Putin is to remove his long-standing ally Sergei Shoigu as defence minister, the Kremlin has announced. The 68-year-old had been in the role since 2012 and will be replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, an economist with little military experience. Mr Shoigu is to be appointed secretary of Russia’s Security Council. The Kremlin said the defence ministry needed to stay “innovative”.

Reshuffles in Russia don’t happen very often so this is a big moment at the top of Russian politics. But Vladimir Putin remains the person who ultimately calls the shots. It was his decision to start the war in Ukraine and all the big decisions are taken by him.

The appointment of Mr Belousov as defence minister will come as a surprise to many, given his previous experience. But analysts suggest President Putin is seeking to align the Russian economy more closely with the war effort. The decision to put an economist in charge of the Ministry of Defence reflects the changing priorities of the Kremlin and the huge amounts of money the Russian authorities are now pouring into the war in Ukraine – and Russia’s need to boost efficiency in the armed forces.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the proposed appointment of a civilian showed the role of defence minister called for “innovation”. He said Russia was becoming more like the Soviet Union in the mid-1980s, when a high proportion of GDP went on military spending. As a result, it was necessary to make sure that military expenditure was better integrated into Russia’s overall economy, he added. “The one who is more open to innovations is the one who will be victorious on the battlefield,” he said.

In recent months, there had been rumours that Mr Shoigu’s position was growing weaker and that he could lose his job. In April, one of his deputies – Timur Ivanov – was arrested on corruption charges in a rare move against such a senior official. And Russia’s campaign in Ukraine was meant to last a few weeks at most.Instead, it is now in its third year and has been plagued by military setbacks and big losses in men and materiel. Although Mr Shoigu will remain in a powerful role as secretary of the Security Council, the move appears to be a demotion for him.

It’s not yet clear what will happen to the council’s current head, Nikolai Patrushev.


Comment: I think this is a realization by Putin that his war in Ukraine will not be over soon. He needs someone to manage and improve the efficiency of his war economy in the face of increasing casualties, loss of equipment and continuing sanctions. He needs an economist to figure out a better way forward. Belousov is more than just an economist. As the BBC article points out, he is a hardline defender of a russia that is encircled by enemies. He’s close to the Russian Orthodox Church and practiced karate and sambo in his youth. He was also the one Kremlin economist who supported Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Shoigu is replacing Patrushev as Secretary of the Security Council, so he’s far from being banished from the Kremlin. What interests me more is where Patrushev will land. He is a hard liner among hard liners fully behind the eradication of Ukraine and the establishment of a Kremlin led bloc to continue to oppose the Western bloc. He was seen by many analysts as a likely candidate to eventually succeed Putin. Maybe Putin hears such speculation and will move Patrushev to a place to forestall such speculation… or facilitate such a future transition. We’ll see.


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29 Responses to “Vladimir Putin removes Sergei Shoigu from Russian defence ministry”

  1. aleksandar says:

    Patrushev is 73 years old.
    Will be 79 for the next presidential election.
    Can’t be seen to eventually succeed Putin.

    All Ministry of Defense since 1999 were civilians, nothing new here.

    Shoigu has told journalists two month ago that he was “worn out”.
    War is energy consuming.
    Time to move to a quieter job

  2. babelthuap says:

    I recall reading when the war started, Russia could keep it going for at least a couple years. It’s beyond that checkpoint so this move would make sense.

  3. Jim. says:

    Shoigu….. Now In The Powerful Position as Secretary of The Security Council
    Puts him In a Position to Monitor All The Others ..Have Eyes and Ears,,,That Putin
    can Trust…And Better Prepare For War…I Suspect..Remember The Security Council Spies around Donald Trump…The Betrayal..??

    Economist Belosouv…Makes Sense…The Money used to Finance a Large War…Must Be RAISED..With Joint Global Partners…China..?? and Spent in the most Efficient Way Possible….I Suspect that China has Similar Plans..and is At Least 80 to 90 Percent Prepared At All Levels of their Planning to
    Invade Taiwan… They Have Prepared a Large Fleet of Large Commercial Ferrys..to Udse as Landing Craft I Have Read…All Other Logistics..Supplys Locked and Loaded I Believe…

    • babelthuap says:

      The Duran is saying it’s a promotion for Shoigu. He’s a trained engineer and will have more eyes on production and technology and decision making on tactics. I know the Duran is Russian propaganda but I’ll be honest, they get a lot of stuff right and not just on Russia either. They know a lot about Euro politics. It makes US news look like Romper room.

      • F&L says:

        Biden & co just slapped additional huge tariffs on China’s solar and electric car industries. Trump immediately promised to double Biden’s new Tariffs. Here’s a post from Elena Panina which indicates that Putin is playing this very intelligently.
        Financial Times: Putin’s visit to China will accelerate the creation of financial structures independent from the US
        The publication reveals specific details of the Russian President’s upcoming visit to China – the first after the inauguration. According to FT, Vladimir Putin will be accompanied by an experienced team of representatives of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Finance, and one of the key issues at the meeting of leaders will be the de-dollarization of the world economy .
        ▪️ China, the FT notes, operates its own cross-border interbank payment system (Cips), which currently includes about 30 Russian banks. Daily transactions grew 50% in 2022, followed by another 25% in the first three quarters of 2023. Cips processes payments not only between China and Russia. For example, in April 2023, Bangladesh transferred money to Rosatom through Cips.
        The next step for Moscow and Beijing, FT predicts, will be the creation of a more complex payment infrastructure that is completely hidden from American monitoring .
        “By using the Russian economy as a giant sandbox, Chinese authorities can fine-tune a financial infrastructure that can be used by other countries seeking an antidote to Washington’s weaponization of the dollar,” the publication warns.
        ▪️ FT information about one of the directions of Putin’s visit may turn out to be true, because it fully corresponds to the requirements of the moment. The financial and economic front at the global level of confrontation between Russia and China with the United States and those who have joined them will certainly be key. This is evidenced by the appointment of Andrei Belousov to the post of head of the Moscow Region, designed to dramatically increase the efficiency of every ruble invested in the defense industry and technology.
        Even taking into account the military escalation in Ukraine, the main instrument of US influence remains financial sanctions, designed to completely isolate first Russia and then China. This is also why entering a new stage of development of the BRICS (and, in principle, any instruments of the new world) is impossible without the creation of financial systems independent of Washington.

        • wiz says:


          The US hegemony reached the pinnacle of power some years ago.
          The decline is well in progress but it will take the ADHD stricken West some time to realize this.
          They are kind of sensing something is not right so they still havent confiscated the frozen assets of the Russian central bank, though they are moving towards stealing the profits on those assets.

          • TTG says:


            US hegemony peaked after WWII. It’s been in decline since then into a multipolar world. The US just remained the biggest pole in that multipolar world.

          • Mark Logan says:


            IMO it peaked after Gulf War 1. The utter ass-kicking handed to Saddam was widely applauded. I had a lot of people in Egypt telling me “Bush good!” and heard the same things from Indonesians when there. Most of the world seemed ready to accept a benevolent US unipolar dominance at that time. That was the peak. We had no peers.

            Gulf War 2 shattered the image of military omnipotence, wisdom, and perhaps even sanity for the US…and it has been further damaged by evidence of incoherence and instability.

        • babelthuap says:

          Those tariffs are on steel and AL which the majority comes from Canada not China. Also solar and EV which are both declining industries. Nobody wants that stuff enough to matter.

          The tariffs are more of a comedy skit once you dive into the details. It would be like China putting a tariff on US chop sticks and fortune cookies. Nonsense.

  4. mcohen says:

    Probably the beginning of the end of the war.Now the hard money talk will begin.The aim of removing the Ukrainian Jewish billionaires who were supporting israel looks to be completed.imho
    That together with the cost of the Gaza war will force Israel to negotiate a settlement.
    But on the other hand if israel anticipated all this then it looks like the bluff was called by a Ruby Black Swan event.

    I see Ruby
    Black swans flying high
    Across the blue azure sky
    And when she smiles
    I know the reason why.

  5. Lars says:

    According to reports I have seen, the new guy is supposed to reduce losses and that will not be easy since Russia is fond of doing the same thing over and over and try to get a different result. I think we need to see this as an acknowledgement that things are not going well. He is also supposed to do something about the pervasive corruption and that will also be tough to do. But time will tell.

    • d74 says:

      Time will tell…
      Russian Ministry of Defense.
      A second general, HR of the Ministry, has been arrested. Alleged minor corruption compared to massive embezzlement by the first.

      • fredw says:

        My (dilettante) understanding of the Russian patronage system makes me think that the actual corruption is unimportant in these cases. There is corruption to be found wherever they look. The goal of an arrest is not elimination of corruption. What is happening is the breaking up of factions within the ministries. Reassigning Shoigu does not just mean that he gets different responsibilities. It means that a whole network of people allied with him need to scramble to negotiate new arrangements or preserve old ones. Or break old ones. Shifting people at that level is a much bigger deal in a system like Russia than our own experience would indicate.

        Am I wrong about this? Can you throw some light on the actual meaning of such moves?

        • d74 says:

          I can’t throw some light.
          I don’t have any recent information on this.

          Remembering Samuel Peppys (1633-1703), who knew a thing or two about personal enrichment, we can say that a little corruption puts oil in the wheels of a complicated bureaucracy. It is the price of efficiency.

          This notorious figure was instrumental in the revival of the Royal Navy. The RN became the most formidable naval instrument of its time and long after.

          The problem is to keep corruption at such a level that its “benefits” are not destroyed by excessive embezzlement.

  6. Jim. says:

    Lately…Things have gone Bad for Ukraine…The Russian Kill Chain Has Greatly
    Improved…Along With All of Its Sensor to Shooter Links…Russia Has Become Much More Effective At Targeting Ukraines FARPs….Forward Arming & Refueling points.
    Recently Blowing up Three Helos the Minute they Landed..

  7. walrus says:

    Russia haters should not take any comfort from this change. My opinion is that both appointments strengthen defence capabilities. Shotgun brings first hand military experience to the security council. The other brings economic expertise to defence.

    Result ? An economy and society more resilient and capable of sustaining war with the west indefinitely.

    To put that another way, you are watching the birth of the Russian military industrial comp lex.

    • TTG says:


      Shoigu was an engineer and a politician. He was never a military man. He did do well as head of Emergency Services. Belousov is both a hard core ideologue and an economist. I think his appointment as MOD is an admission that this is war is going to be a long one.

      Russia had a well developed MIC at least since the Soviet days. It is nothing new.

  8. English Outsider says:

    Well, I’ve been attempting to say since Istanbul in 2022 that this war is lost. And that insisting to its continuance can only result in more casualties and more loss of territory. It would have been impossible to guess how bad the casualties and how great the loss back then. But the casualties are now ramping up to something like 2000 per day, both sides, and the greater part of them Ukrainian. And the Ukraine of the future will be nothing like the Ukraine of 2014 or even 2022. Nor will it exist as it is even now.

    The last stage of a war often results in the casualties ramping up like that. The main factor in the West insisting this war continues, not the only one of course but the most important, is the hope that defeat can be postponed until the next US Presidential election.

    The re-election of an American President, or the hope of that, cannot justify what is happening today in Ukraine. Here, Baud puts forward the same argument but of course with far more authority. Is it not much the same argument that senator Vance and others are attempting to get through? One can only hope that even a beleaguered US administration will see that it is, as so often said before, a crime to insist on the continuation of this lost war.


  9. leith says:

    Financial Times article claims Belousev, the new Defense Minister, has deep ties with Chinese leadership. Will Putin take him along on his trip to see Xi Jinping? Article is by Alexandra Prokapenko, who worked at the Central Bank of Russia up until Putin’s 2022 invasion. She is now a researcher for the Carnegie Center and focuses on Russian government policymaking on economic and financial issues.


    Shoigu’s predecessor, Anatoly Serdyukov, was also an economist. He tried to reform the the military and especially the blatant corruption in weapons acquisition. But he was pushed out by angry generals whose turf he was interfering with.

  10. voislav says:

    I think this move has to do more with what will the world look like after Ukraine than with Ukraine itself. There is a realization in Russia that, whatever the outcome in Ukraine is, there is a strong possibility of future wars between Russia and NATO/NATO-aligned forces. This will require expansion and modernization of Russian armed forces, which will require massive overhaul of Russian military-industrial complex.

    War with Ukraine served as a wake-up call, I think as much as the First Chechen War did. The used the past two years to overhaul their military, increase production of critical military supplies and rush development of new military technologies like drones and hypersonic missiles. We are living through a genuine military revolution and Russians are at least trying to get ahead of these developments.

  11. leith says:

    Andrei Belousov gave a speech at the Federation Council yesterday. Some excerpts from telegram channel.

    ▪️The President has set two key tasks – to ensure full integration of the Armed Forces economy into the overall economy of the country and make it as open to innovation as possible;

    ▪️The growth of defense spending has already exceeded 6.7% of GDP, it is necessary to optimize military spending, but this does not mean their indiscriminate reduction;

    ▪️The most pressing issue is equipping the military for special operations: supplies of the most modern equipment, ammunition, missiles, personal protection and communications equipment, UAVs, electronic warfare;

    ▪️Among the top priorities are the state defense order 2025, as well as the recruitment of the Armed Forces, while we are not talking about mobilization or emergency measures.

  12. Barbara Ann says:


    I read that the Russians have recently destroyed the Staryi Saltov bridge over the Pechenihy reservoir (part of the Donets river). The Russians lines are now approaching the north of the reservoir (S of Vovchansk). This development therefore looks to potentially greatly complicate supply to areas on the left bank of the reservoir, as it would add around 60km to the journey. The next road is across the dam at the bottom of the reservoir at Pechenihy.

    Do you think that the Ukies will try and supply & hold the NE corner of Kharkiv oblast – i.e. the areas E of the reservoir – or will they be forced to withdraw? Is the whole Kharkiv push a flanking attack on Kupyansk? That 30km long north-south water barrier is an awkward feature anyhow.

    • TTG says:

      Barbara Ann,

      This looks like one the bridges destroyed by the Ukrainians early in the war. Later in 2022 the Ukrainians threw up a pontoon bridge and attacked the Russians on the other side. That video looks like a pontoon bridge that was hit. Maybe it’s the same one. The concerning part to me is that this looks like an accurate pinpoint strike.

      • leith says:

        The War Zone is saying it was taken out by a KH-38ML laser guided missile. Another source (FDD) says the same. And also claims the Russians so far took out a total of five bridges on the Vovchansk front. The one Barbara mentioned at Staryi Saltiv and another one across the Siverskyi Donets. The other three destroyed are on the Vovcha river that runs westerly and meets the Siverskyi Donets just west of Vovchansk.



        Perhaps the laser designators are UAV mounted? Seems a conundrum to me what the goal is? It could be the first move in an eventual probe towards Kupiansk? Or maybe it’s a diversion like the Ukrainian are doing at Krynky; thereby trying to draw away troops from Chasiv Yar and Pokrovsk? Or an attempt to build up a buffer area to stop cross-border raids that have been perpetrated by the Russian Volunteer Corps and/or Freedom of Russia Legion? Or all of the above?

  13. Jim. says:

    Lieth…Good Information as Usual…Looks Look Bigger Planning Going on For
    Offense and Defense…The Next Contest…and I read several Good Articles on Ukraine..Operations going on Now…It Included an Article on The Strained Status
    of …Your Old Boots Folks in PSY Ops..Keeping Up With So Much Overload..
    Guys Like You Should Help the Ft Lewis guys…Put Smart Teams Together..

    I Bet Old Operators Like You Could Give Them Good Advice..You Want the Sourse of all That Data..?

    • leith says:

      Jim –

      Those Soldiers at Ft Lewis do fine. And I’d be the wrong guy to give them any advice. I can’t even convince the grandkids. They just nod and say “of course Grampa”, and then go on and pull the same knuckleheaded foolishness that I did when I was their age.

      • Jim. says:

        The U.S. Army…Psy Ops Was Appealing for Outside Help
        Directly in That Article..Including Wanting To Recruit “Geeks”
        to Come Aboard and Make Psy Ops Dynamic,,,and Highly
        Capable… No Opportunitys For any Infiltration..Spying There
        Why Dont They Use AI Like they Doint All Over Europe and Asia…
        The Demonstration I Saw Using AI was Impressive..It Even
        found Hidden Targets All Over….

        But Who Needs Psy Ops…We Lost That Contest in the Late 1800s..And Early 1900s..As Colonel Lang Pointed out Many Times…Communist Infiltration All over America…Gus Hall and Big Communist Rallys With Effect..In Washington..Oregon…And
        California…and other States…
        People can talk about all the Terrible things many American
        Presidents Have Done…They Were Infiltrated…Dupped..Lied
        To…Manipulated .. in to a Policy of Surrender To The Communist and Marxist..and ISIS…and Hamas..For The Past 150 Years…All Over Asia…Middle East and Europe..

        Whose TECH is China using Now…Tick Tock..Tick Tock..

        The Fuses are Very very Short on all Those Satchels…In My Opinion…Yes Talk Bad About America..I Have My Values..

        Remember Beruit..

  14. drifter says:

    BBC says Ukrainian forces are pulling back in front of Kharkov. Bodies everywhere.

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