Friday 14th of June 2024

changing the flower arrangement....

Vladimir Putin removed the longtime Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu from his post on Sunday as part of a cabinet reshuffle at the start of his fifth presidential term. Shoigu’s replacement is Andrei Belousov, a civilian economist who has served in various bureaucratic positions since 2006, including as Putin’s presidential advisor in economic affairs. 


Putin’s New Defense Minister Could Be His Successor
The pick indicates Putin is happier with the Russian economy than with the way the war has been going under Shoigu.



Shoigu’s departure was not much of a surprise. His sacking was foreshadowed by last month’s arrest of Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov, a Shoigu crony, who is charged with accepting bribes. (Rumors than Ivanov will also be charged with treason have been dismissed by the Kremlin as “speculation.”) With his ally sitting in prison awaiting trial, Shoigu doubtless perceived that he might be next. 

Technically, Shoigu has been kicked upstairs, not fired. He will hold the position of secretary of the Security Council of Russia, the job held until now by Nikolai Patrushev, a KGB veteran and one of Putin’s inner circle. This is a classic Putin move. Allies who fail in their jobs are not punished, because Putin prides himself on never abandoning old friends, but they are sidelined so they can’t do any more damage. 

Shoigu has endured humiliating job shuffles before. In 2012, when Putin returned to the presidency after the Medvedev interlude, he demoted Shoigu from emergencies minister, a post he had held since 1999 under Boris Yeltsin, and appointed him governor of the Moscow region. Shoigu took the demotion uncomplainingly. Putin was impressed with this stoic reaction and rewarded Shoigu by bringing him back to the cabinet after only six months, this time as defense minister.

As defense minister, Shoigu implemented some much-needed reforms to professionalize Russia’s army and cultivated a personal friendship with Putin, organizing hunting and fishing trips for the president in his native province of Tuva. His decade-plus tenure allowed Shoigu to fill the defense ministry with associates personally loyal to him. In 2014, when Putin floated the idea of annexing Crimea, Shoigu advised against it, but after the decision was made, he executed the operation loyally.

His performance in the current Ukraine conflict has been widely criticized. The late Yevgeny Prigozhin, in particular, was a bitter enemy who accused Shoigu of depriving frontline fighters of munitions and arms. The removal of Shoigu was one of the “demands” of the short-lived Wagner coup of June 2023. Putin stood by Shoigu at the time but apparently his patience has run out.

So who is Belousov? His father, Rem Belousov, was a reforming economist in the Brezhnev era. The younger Belousov began his career in public service as a protégé of German Gref, one of the architects of Russia’s “second transition,” that is, the transition from Yeltsin-era shock therapy to Putin-era state capitalism after the first transition from socialism to free markets. Gref, as Putin’s first minister of economic development, helped rein in the free-for-all of the 1990s and establish a stable economic environment for business while giving the state a bigger role.

Belousov, like Gref, enjoys a reputation for incorruptibility. This will be one of his first tasks as defense minister. Graft flourished under Shoigu, and the Ivanov trial may reveal the full extent of the corruption as the investigation proceeds. Belousov is also said to be a devout Orthodox Christian; photos exist online of him wearing the vestments of an altar server.

In his current role as deputy prime minister, Belousov has shown a particular interest in Russia’s drone industry. He oversaw the “National Unmanned Aircraft” project launched in 2023, which, among other things, provided schools and colleges with drones in order to train operators and launch student drone clubs. He boasted in January that domestic production of drones would triple by 2030, with government investment of over $7 billion. This would decrease Russia’s dependence on foreign-made drones like the Iranian Shahed drone currently used by its forces in Ukraine.

POLITICO named Belousov as a possible successor to Putin back in 2020. His stature has only increased since then, especially in light of Russia’s surprisingly strong economic performance in the face of Western sanctions. In fact, the war actually seems to have helped the Russian economy by giving a fillip to domestic industry. The ideology that Belousov has espoused his whole career—using the state to promote economic development within the framework of a capitalist free market—has, from the Kremlin’s perspective, been vindicated. 

If Belousov can bring discipline and honesty to Russia’s defense procurement while making sure that war spending continues to boost the broader economy instead of suffocating it, then he will be well-positioned to take over Putin’s role when his term expires in 2030, assuming the then 78-year-old Putin chooses to retire. 

In the meantime, his appointment indicates that the Ukraine conflict could grind on for a long time yet. Russia is currently producing three times as many artillery munitions as the U.S. and Europe are for Ukraine, according to CNN. Belousov’s promotion suggests that Putin sees production as the key to winning a war of attrition, which is bad news for the smaller, less populous country in the conflict.



The Security Council of the Russian Federation (SCRF or SovbezRussian: Совет безопасности Российской Федерации (СБРФ), romanizedSovet bezopasnosti Rossiyskoy Federatsii (SBRF)) is a constitutional consultative body of the Russian president that supports the president's decision-making on national security affairs and matters of strategic interest. Composed of Russia's top state officials and heads of defence and security agencies and chaired by the president of Russia, the SCRF acts as a forum for coordinating and integrating national security policy.

The Security Council of the RSFSR was legally set up by Congress of People's Deputies of Russia[1][2][3][4] in April 1991 along with the post of the President of the RSFSR (the RSFSR at that time operated as one of the constituent republics of the USSR). The 1993 Constitution of Russia refers to the SCRF in Article 83, which stipulates (as one of the president's prerogatives) that the SCRF is formed and headed by the president of Russia, also saying that the status of the SCRF is to be defined by a federal law.

The 2010 Law on Security defines the legal status of the SCRF as a "constitutional consultative body" concerned with elaboration of decisions by the president in the fields of Russia's defence and national security.[5] The SCRF comprises its chairman (the president of Russia), the Secretary of the SCRF, its full members, and members, as appointed by the president.[6] Under the law, the Secretary of the SCRF is appointed by the president and reports directly to him.[7]

Decisions of the SCRF are adopted by its full members and approved by the president, who may issue decrees or orders for the purpose of implementing them.[8]

The Presidential Decree of 6 May 2011 enacted the Statute of the SCRF[9] as well as a host of other statutes pertaining to the structure and composition of the SCRF.[10]

It has been argued[by whom?] that the coordinating role defined for the Security Council in the National Security Strategy to 2020,[11] published in May 2009, represents a strengthening of the council's influence and importance within Russian governance under its new Secretary Nikolai Patrushev.[12]

On 16 January 2020, president Vladimir Putin signed a decree that amended the relevant laws and established a new state office of Deputy Chairman of the Security Council.[13] On the same day, president Putin appointed Dmitry Medvedev as Deputy Chairman of the Security Council.[14]





















decision smart....


by Irina Alksnis


The traditional May “holidays”, instead of the usual news lull, turned out to be extremely eventful, the main of which were the formation of a new government and the activation of the Russian army in the direction of Kharkiv. However, the main information bomb was unleashed by Vladimir Putin a few hours before the country returned to its usual work schedule: Sergei Shoigu was appointed secretary of the Security Council of Russia, and Andrei Belousov, who previously held the post of first deputy prime minister, was proposed by the president for the post of defense minister.

A few days ago, when it became known that Denis Manturov had been proposed by Mikhail Mishustin for the post of first deputy prime minister of the new government, this caused a somewhat confused and even a little suspicious reaction from the people who follow Russia's economic policy. The contribution of Manturov and the Ministry of Industry and Trade he heads to how the national economy has coped with all the challenges of recent years (from the pandemic to “sanctions from hell”) is huge, and his new appointment is absolutely deserved.

But the question naturally arose: what about Belousov?

The fact is that it was the first deputy prime minister who for many years, while still an assistant to the president, constantly promoted the ideas of strengthening state regulation, reindustrialization of Russia and relying on the real sector as the main driver of the country's development – ​​in general, all the changes we have observed in recent years.

Some even saw him as an implacable enemy of the government's financial bloc, which traditionally relies on a monetarist approach. The falsity of this point of view has been convincingly demonstrated in recent years, when it was the well-coordinated work of the government, including financiers and industrialists, that allowed the Russian economy not only to cope with the storm organized for it by the West, but also to make a real breakthrough. Belousov's importance in this work as first deputy prime minister can hardly be overestimated. And then he suddenly found himself without a position – of course, this led to whispers and various conspiracy theories.

But the main surprise was to come: the news of his move to the Ministry of Defense came like a bolt from the blue, and what a shock in the West! In the days to come, there will be many reasons why Putin chose a purely civilian man and an economist – or even a macro-economist-strategist – for the post of defense minister.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin, as in many other cases, gave a frank explanation for this choice of the president.

First, in recent years, due to well-known circumstances, the military and energy budget of Russia as a whole has increased sharply: it has already reached 6,7% of GDP and is approaching the late Soviet figure of 7,4%. . And at the head of state we have people who remember very well that the colossal burden of the military budget was one of the reasons that buried the Soviet economy. This does not mean that it should be reduced immediately. The West has launched a war against Russia, which is losing the prefix “proxy” before our eyes – there can be no question of reduction. It may need to be increased further. In such conditions, it is necessary that military money be spent with maximum efficiency and benefit – both for the army and for the country as a whole. And that's a job for an economist.

Faced with the Pentagon and its $90 billion bag of nuts, the Russian Defense Ministry appears to be a model of transparency, efficiency and innovation, but we have enough problems – the case of Timur Ivanov reminds us of this .

This explains why Vladimir Putin chose Andrei Belousov, a strategically and nationally-minded economist with extensive experience in transforming the Russian economy and close ties to industry working for the military, as his minister of defense.

For war, Russia has the General Staff, and to transform the army and the military-industrial complex into a modern system that quickly adapts to new challenges with the rapid introduction of innovations and efficiency economic high, the president sends Andrei Belousov to the Ministry of Defense.


sent by Mendelssohn Moses