Putin Tired of Failing to Progress in Ukraine, Announced New Defense Minister

murathakanart / shutterstock.com
murathakanart / shutterstock.com

With Russian President Vladimir Putin beginning his fifth term, he decided it was time to change the way Russia fights against Ukraine. While Russian law dictated the entire Russian Cabinet resign promptly following his inauguration, many expected to walk right back into the same position. Sergei Shoigu was one of the few speculated to leave and went from defense minister to secretary of Russia’s Security Council.

Announced just after Putin named Andrei Belousov as the Russian defense minister, it came as quite a shock to many. Shoigu’s new position was announced as the news broke of 13 dead and 20 more wounded in the Russian border town of Belgorod. Reportedly shelled by Ukraine, the partially collapsed building is just one of many Russian assets that have been targeted in recent weeks.

Belousov’s candidacy still needs final approval by the upper house of Russia’s parliament, the Federation Council. While other candidacies have been announced, this one is the only major shift for the administration. As the defense minister position is often thought of as a military-based role, Putin wanted to ensure he chose a civilian this time. Looking for new tactics and ways of attack, he is trying to formulate a new push into Ukraine and to take back ground their military has recently lost.

Many experts believe that Shoigu still has his hooks in on Putin. Looking at Russia’s Security Council as a place to park people he cannot get rid of, this could be a way to ensure he doesn’t sell out the Kremlin or betray Russian interests. Given his level of involvement in the failed conquest of Ukraine, this new position can also offer Putin, Shoigu himself, and the rest of Putin’s former cabinet a chance to save face. If they can turn around their invasion and make progress in Ukraine, that is.