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Russia: Putin appoints new defense minister as rearmament minister

Russia: Putin appoints new defense minister as rearmament minister

Andrei Beloussov has been at Vladimir Putin’s side for many years and will now become Russia’s defense minister. The non-soldier hardly needs any military knowledge – his main task is to organize large quantities of weapons and ammunition.

“The president has decided that a non-military person should run the Department of Defense.” With these words, Russia’s new top soldier was introduced by Kremlin spokesman Dimtri Peskov: Andrei Beloussov. He replaces Sergei Shoigu, who, also as a non-military man, was defense minister for twelve years. Nevertheless, his dismissal came as only a partial surprise.

Shoigu’s deputy dismissed

Shoigu was one of Vladimir Putin’s companions and closest confidants, but power struggles within his sphere of influence in the military and security apparatus appear to have been raging for some time. Just a few weeks ago, one of Shoigu’s deputies was arrested on corruption charges. An unmistakable sign of intense wrangling behind the scenes.

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Andrei Beloussov will also have to face this, but he will not need military skills so much as he will have to worry about the use of defense spending. Beloussov is now in control of Russia’s gigantic defense budget, which is likely to arouse desire. The Kremlin recently increased its defense spending by almost 70 percent to the equivalent of 100 billion euros.

Putin’s spokesman Peskov said the defense department plays a key role in security spending. “This requires particularly important decisions,” said Peskov, and Beloussov is the man to control the area.

Beloussov is an economics man through and through

His career to date suggests that the 65-year-old certainly knows how to handle large budgets. Because Beloussov is an economic man through and through. As a qualified economist, he was once Minister for Economic Development, and in 2020 he moved to Putin’s side as his top economic advisor. He later became deputy head of government.

From now on he will probably be Minister of War Economy rather than Minister of Defense. Its main task is to pragmatically expand the defense industry. “Today the winner on the battlefield is the one who is more open to innovations and their implementation,” Peskov explained. The Russian-born: “A proven expert and ideologically neutral technocrat.”

Russia relies on a war economy

The appointment of Beloussov suggests that Putin wants to win the war primarily through arms production. “In his way of thinking, this is logical because the economic bloc proved to be more effective in the war than the security and military apparatus,” , who is a senior researcher at the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center in Berlin. Putin’s strategy is therefore to put pressure on Ukraine not through the mobilization of new soldiers, but through the capacities of the armaments complex.

Since Russia began de facto converting to a war economy, the country has been producing significant amounts of ammunition and weapons – and is once again achieving success in Ukraine. Russia launched a new offensive in the region in the east of the country on May 10, capturing nine towns. The Ukrainian troops, on the other hand, had to retreat from several sectors of the front, partly due to a lack of ammunition. The course of the war is likely to be influenced in the near future by even more material expenditure, in one direction or the other – one also thinks of the aid promised by the USA. Andrei Beloussov is the person Putin trusts to orchestrate the logistics.

Sources: DPA, on X, AFP, Reuters, , Alexander Baunow on X

Source: Stern

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