Putin Removes Defense Minister

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Sunday the removal of Sergei Shoigu from his role as defense minister. His replacement will be Andrei Belousov, first deputy prime minister from 2020 until earlier this month.

Shoigu will now act as head of Russia’s security council. This will keep him in Putin’s inner circle but away from most decision-making responsibilities.

Why the shake-up? Shoigu has served as Russia’s defense minister since 2012, before Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014. But many analysts say Shoigu’s incompetency is the reason Russia has struggled in Ukraine for so long.

It was primarily against Shoigu’s leadership that Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin launched his coup attempt last year. Back then, Putin sided with Shoigu. But the Defense Ministry’s mismanagement has apparently been enough for even the president.

Who is his replacement? Belousov served as Putin’s economic adviser before becoming first deputy prime minister. Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov told the news media that Belousov’s appointment was in response to Russia’s ballooning war economy. Peskov also claimed Putin thought Shoigu wasn’t a good modernizer of the armed forces.

Today on the battlefield, the victor is the one who is more open to innovation, more open to the most rapid implementation. So it’s natural that at the current stage the president decided that the Defense Ministry be headed by a civilian.
—Dmitri Peskov

Where to next for Russia? Putin’s cabinet shake-up shows he is still pushing for victory in Ukraine. Will he get one? To learn what path the Trumpet expects Putin’s Russia to take, read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s 2022 article “Bible Prophecy Comes Alive in Ukraine.”