Putin nominates Belousov to succeed Shoigu as defence minister

Putin’s unexpected proposal of Dmitry Belousov as Russia’s new defence minister raises questions about the motivations behind the leadership shuffle.

In a significant political move, Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed Dmitry Belousov as the new defence minister, replacing Sergei Shoigu, who has held the position for nearly two decades.

Sergei Shoigu’s tenure as defence minister has been marked by stability and continuity, making his departure from the role particularly noteworthy. As one of Putin’s closest allies and a key figure in Russian military affairs, Shoigu’s departure signifies a significant shift in the country’s defence leadership.

The appointment of Dmitry Belousov has sparked speculation about Putin’s motives behind the change. Belousov’s background includes serving as Russia’s minister of industry and trade since 2018, where he focused on economic policies and industrial development. His nomination as defence minister suggests a potential emphasis on modernising and restructuring Russia’s defence industry. Putin’s decision to replace Shoigu with Belousov comes at a time of heightened geopolitical tensions and military challenges for Russia.

The country faces ongoing conflicts in Ukraine, tensions with NATO and Western countries, and increasing competition in regions such as the Arctic. As such, the appointment of a new defence minister signals Putin’s intention to address these challenges with fresh perspectives and strategies. The move may also reflect internal dynamics within the Russian political elite. Putin has been known to periodically reshuffle his cabinet and key positions to maintain control, manage competing factions, and prevent the consolidation of power by any single individual or group.

Shoigu was widely respected for his competence and effectiveness as defence minister, leading some analysts to speculate about possible disagreements or dissatisfaction behind the scenes.

The implications of Belousov’s appointment extend beyond Russia’s domestic politics to its international relations. As defence minister, Belousov would play a crucial role in shaping Russia’s military strategy, defence posture, and interactions with other countries.