Putin Fires Longtime Ally Shoigu As Defense Minister, Names Little-Known Successor

Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose military has been criticized at home for a perceived lack of progress and heavy losses during its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, announced that he was replacing longtime ally Sergei Shoigu as defense minister.

“This doesn’t appear to be designed as a demotion for Shoigu, who not only received an important position as secretary of the Security Council but also will retain oversight of domestic and foreign defense issues, taking that from the new minister of defense,” he wrote.

The actions must be approved by the Federation Council, but both houses of Russia’s parliaments are considered rubber-stamp bodies for Putin’s wishes.The council said that “senators will hold consultations on the candidates proposed by the president at meetings of the committees on May 13 and at a meeting of the Federation Council on May 14.”

The moves come after the Russian government officially resigned following Putin’s inauguration on May 7 for the fifth time in a ceremony to kick off a new six-year term that was boycotted by most Western countries over his war in Ukraine and an election victory they rejected as being orchestrated to provide him a landslide result.

Russian lawmakers on May 10 approved Mikhail Mishustin as prime minister on May 10, hours after Putin nominated him for reappointment.

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