Putin’s futuristic cabinet

The cabinet reshuffle is marked by the promotion of a new generation of loyalists who have been given charge of the world’s largest natural resources producer as the President Putin prepares for a long war.
Keywords: Putin, Russia, Cabinet, Politics, Promotion, Resources, Reshuffle, Economy
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President Vladimir Putin’s decision to replace Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu with top economist and former First Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Andrei Belousov suggests a strategic shift in the nation’s defence policy. Shoigu, who brought Crimea back into the Russian Federation, remains influential as secretary of the powerful Security Council and as deputy director in the Military-Industrial Commission that will oversee its modernisation. 

At Russia’s Security Council, Shoigu replaces Nikolai Patrushev, a former head of the Federal Security Service and author of the Kremlin’s national security strategy. Patrushev will now oversee the shipbuilding industry.

Headed by the President, Russia’s Security Council is responsible for strategic decisions on key issues. It was here that the decision to accept appeals from the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics was made in February 2022.

Shoigu’s exit follows significant advances by Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. He was often considered remote and unaware of ground realities. The late Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin accused the Defense Ministry of starving his fighters of resources and of bureaucratic incompetence, but his attempted mutiny in June 2023 quickly fizzled out and he died in a plane crash in August 2023.

Belousov’s appointment suggests that Russia will concentrate on outgunning Ukraine while focusing on “innovation” to control the ministry’s rising budget. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov clarified that no changes are envisaged in the current military system. “The military component has always been the prerogative of the Chief of the General Staff [Valery Gerasimov], and he will continue his activities.” Belousov was formidable as an economic theorist and accurately predicted the financial crisis of 2008, an economic recession (2011-2012), and another crisis in 2015-2017. 

Former US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told CNN (May 12) that the reshuffle indicates that “Russia is moving toward a war economy.” US analyst Scott Ritter observed that stringent US-European economic sanctions have made Russia’s civilian economic sector fragile, and Belousov has been given the task of managing the intersection of defence and civil economies to ensure that civilian industry remains viable even as “the need for robust defence industry output remains high.”

Key to Belousov’s appointment is his role as an industrial innovator as Russia moves towards a new Revolution in Military Affairs defined by Technological Development based on the Ukraine experiences (drone warfare, electronic warfare, increased lethality of munitions); doctrinal Innovation has to be based on lessons learned on the battlefield and incorporated into formal military education systems to formulate an up-to-date doctrine. Organizational Adaptation involves major structural and intellectual changes that reflect the reality of new technologies and doctrine.

Under Sergei Shoigu, the Russian military made strides in Technological Development and Doctrinal Innovation; under Belousov the proposed Revolution in Military Affairs “will be every bit as transformative to the modern battlefield as the German Blitzkrieg was to the conduct of the Second World War.” Ritter said this could be disastrous for the collective West as it faces the prospect of undertaking a costly expansion and reform of NATO.

Interestingly, soon after his appointment, Belousov, a practicing Orthodox Christian, said, “By preserving traditional values of the West, which are originally the values of Western Christian European civilization, Russia can become a guardian of these values. This may seem like a paradoxical idea, but it is nonetheless true. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that the West is our enemy.” 

Belousov’s appointment has triggered panic in Kviv. Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said that Moscow is preparing to overhaul its economy to serve its war needs. Shoigu overseeing the military-industrial complex suggests that “Russia is moving almost its entire economy onto military lines. It will be a militaristic country and its economy will be built exclusively to produce for the military,” Podolyak said.

Oleksiy Kusch, a Ukrainian economist and financial analyst, observed that Belousov has “played a critical role in creating a growth model for the Russian economy, deep structural transformations, and a dynamic adaptation to sanctions.”

The reshuffle follows high-level investigations into corruption in the course of the war with Ukraine. On April 23, 2024, Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov was arrested on charges of accepting a bribe of 1 million rubles (around $10,800), according to TASS. On May 14, Yuri Kuznetsov, head of personnel, was arrested after $1m in roubles and foreign currency, as well as gold coins, watches, and luxury items were found at his properties. Investigators said that between 2021-2023, Kuznetsov received bribes from representatives of commercial firms for “performing certain actions in their favour.”

At least five other persons have been arrested, including Alexander Fomin, co-founder of a construction company that allegedly paid the bribes, and Anton Filatov, a former head of several companies subordinate to the Defence Ministry suspected of large-scale embezzlement.

The “dark horses” in Shoigu’s stable remain Deputy Minister of Defense Tatyana Shevtsova, responsible for finance, and Viktor Goremykin, Deputy Minister of Defence. 

Other notable cabinet positions include

  1. Nikolai Patrushev, head of FSB for a decade, as presidential aide 
  2. Vladimir Kolokoltsev, retained as interior minister
  3. Alexander Kurenkov, retained as minister for emergency situations
  4. Sergey Lavrov, retained as foreign minister
  5. Konstantin Chuichenko as justice minister
  6. Denis Manturov, previously deputy prime minister and head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, as first deputy prime minister.
  7. Alexander Novak was retained as deputy prime minister overseeing energy, with additional duties for running the economy.
  8. Dmitry Peskov, reappointed as press secretary for the President 
  9. Anton Vaino, reappointed as head of the presidential administration
  10. Maxim Oreshkin, former aide to the Russian head of state, appointed deputy head of the presidential administration 
  11. Sergey Kiriyenko, Alexey Gromov and Dmitry Kozak, retained as deputy heads of the presidential administration
  12. Dmitry Patrushev (a son of Nikolai), promoted to deputy prime minister in charge of agriculture.

The cabinet reshuffle is marked by the promotion of a new generation of loyalists who have been given charge of the world’s largest natural resources producer as the President prepares for a long war.

The most significant appointment is that of the Governor of Tula, Aleksey Dyumin, as a presidential aide. The Kremlin said he would oversee the defence industry, the State Council advisory body, and sports. As head of Russia’s Special Operations Forces, he was largely responsible for the Crimea operation (2014) and is widely respected among the troops. In 1995, he entered Russia’s Federal Guards Service which is responsible for the security of the Kremlin elite and guarded Putin during his first and second terms. He was also deputy head of the GRU (Russian military intelligence).

In December 2020, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, said that Dyumin could emerge as Vladimir Putin’s successor as President of the Russian Federation.


Putin replaces Russia’s defense minister with a civilian as Ukraine war rages and defense spending spirals, CNN, May 13, 2024. https://edition.cnn.com/2024/05/12/europe/sergei-shoigu-putin-replaces-defense-minister-intl-latam/index.html 

Putin removes Shoigu as Russian defense minister, RT, 12 May 2024.


Putin demotes Cold War warrior Patrushev and raises two younger allies, Reuters, May 14, 2024. https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/putin-appoints-patrushev-dyumin-kremlin-aides-2024-05-14/

Russian corruption probe widens as senior defence official arrested, AFP, 14 May 2024.


Ukraine says Russia’s new defence minister will focus economy on war, Reuters, 13 May 2024. https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-says-russias-new-defence-minister-will-focus-economy-war-2024-05-13/

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Sandhya Jain

Sandhya Jain is a political analyst, independent researcher, and author of multiple books. She is also editor of the platform Vijayvaani

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