Belousov to replace Shoigu as Russia’s defense minister

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, listens to First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, November 7, 2023. /CFP

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, listens to First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, November 7, 2023. /CFP

Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed appointing Andrey Belousov, who previously served as the first deputy prime minister, as Russia’s new defense minister, Russia’s TASS news agency reported on Sunday.

Belousov, born in 1959, has served as minister of economic development and Russian presidential aide for economic issues as well as first deputy prime minister.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by TASS as saying that the decision to appoint Belousov as the defense minister is linked to “making the economy of the security bloc part of the country’s economy.”

Now the budget of the Defense Ministry is nearing the level of the 1980s, “which is not critical but extremely important,” Peskov added.

Russia’s current defense chief, Sergey Shoigu, will reportedly replace Nikolay Patrushev as the Security Council secretary, overseeing the work of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, which recently became directly subordinated to the president, TASS reported. 

Chief of Russia’s General Staff Valery Gerasimov will retain his post, Peskov added.

Other heads of security ministries and services, as well as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, will retain their posts in the government, according to TASS.

Putin has also proposed appointing Boris Kovalchuk as the chairman of the Accounts Chamber, a post which has been vacant for one year and a half, TASS reported. 

(With input from agencies)