Putin Loyalist Andrei Belousov Will Now Lead Russia’s Military

(PatriotWise.com) — Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Sunday that he was replacing Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and proposing Andrei Belousov as his replacement.

Following Putin’s inauguration last Tuesday, his entire cabinet resigned as required by Russian law. While most cabinet members were expected to retain their positions, Shoigu’s fate was less certain.

In a decree signed on Sunday, President Putin appointed Shoigu as the Secretary of the Security Council and nominated Belousov to replace him as Defense Minister.

Putin’s proposed replacement will still need to be approved by the Federation Council, the upper chamber of the Russian parliament.

Shoigu’s Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov was arrested in April on bribery and corruption charges and ordered detained until an investigation. Ivanov’s arrest was widely suspected of being an attack on Sergei Shoigu and a possible sign that the defense minister was on his way out.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Sunday that President Putin chose to name a civilian as defense minister to ensure that the ministry was “open to innovation and cutting-edge ideas.”

He said Belousov, who previously served as first deputy prime minister, was the right choice to replace Shoigu to ensure that the increased defense budget “fit into the country’s wider economy.”

The 65-year-old Belousov oversaw the finances of the prime minister’s office and the economic department of the Ministry of Economic Development. He was appointed as an advisor to President Putin in 2013 before becoming the first deputy prime minister in 2020.

Peskov said Belousov’s appointment would not affect “the military aspect” of the Defense Ministry, which will continue to be under the command of the Chief of the General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov, who would continue in that position.

Shoigu’s ouster as Defense Minister came as Moscow confirmed that 13 were killed and another 20 injured in the border city of Belgorod after Ukrainian shelling partially collapsed a 10-story apartment building.

President Putin proposed other cabinet positions as well on Sunday, however, Shoigu was the only minister to be replaced.

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