Putin fires two of his close aides: Beware of danger

Putin fires two of his close aides: Beware of danger

As Russian forces regain the initiative on the ground and penetrate defenses in northeastern Ukraine, Putin decides to reshuffle his command team. These changes come just days after he was inaugurated for a fifth presidential term following the rigged elections last March.

The reappointment of members of the Russian ruling elite is the most significant change by Putin since the start of his “special military operation” in February 2022 — as the Kremlin master liked to call it — which has now become his war in Ukraine.

The appointment of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as head of the National Security Council is an ostentatious demotion that allows him to save face. In fact, Shoigu is excluded from making crucial decisions regarding the Russian armed forces.

Putin assumed command of the armed forces after Sergei Shoigu and Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov were implicated in bribery cases. Shoigu, 68, was very close to Putin: photos of the two men topless while on holiday in Siberia made headlines in Russian newspapers.

In addition to firing his defense minister, Putin also got rid of Nikolai Patrushev, a powerful, shadowy figure in Putin's entourage since 2008. He left the heart of the Kremlin's political intrigue to oversee shipbuilding, a trivial administrative function.

  • Listen to Lester-Durocher's meeting with Journal de Montréal blogger Normand Lester via QUB :
Shoigu, another Prigozhin

Oddly enough, it is Deputy Prime Minister responsible for the economy, Andrei Belousov, who will replace Shoigu in the Ministry of Defense. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tried to explain the appointment of Belousov, who has no military experience, by saying that his economic background would make him more open to innovation, a necessary quality “to emerge victorious on the battlefield.” So Shoigu did not have it.

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During the invasion in February 2022, Shoigu was unable to capture Kiev as quickly as the Russian attack plan called for. Putin hoped to seize Ukraine as easily as he seized Crimea in 2014.

Shoigu has also been named responsible for the failed rebellion attempt by Yevgeny Prigozhin and his mercenary group Wagner in June 2023. He is accused of not first detecting the rebellion and then crushing it, which is considered Putin's worst humiliation since coming to power. .

Prigozhin managed, very quickly and without difficulty, to seize the headquarters of the Southern Command of the Russian Army in Rostov. He then accused Shoigu of fleeing “like a coward,” being responsible for the deaths of “tens of thousands of Russians” and “ceding territory to the enemy.” Prigozhin then died suspiciously in a plane explosion.

  • Listen to Lester-Durocher's meeting with Journal de Montréal blogger Normand Lester via QUB :
Shoigu and Patrushev against Putin

Analysts believe that Shoigu, angry at the disgrace he faced, may in turn be inclined to oust Putin by allying himself with Patrushev, another close friend of Putin who was also sacked.

Moreover, some have already seen Patrushev as a potential successor to Putin at the head of the Russian Federation. The man has a conspiratorial worldview and extensive experience in espionage. Like Vladimir Putin, he worked for and led the Federal Security Service (FSB), responsible for internal security, having served in the Soviet KGB. Indeed, Patrushev may have been the reason behind the “air” assassination of Yevgeny Prigozhin.

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About the Author: Hermínio Guimarães

"Introvertido premiado. Viciado em mídia social sutilmente charmoso. Praticante de zumbis. Aficionado por música irritantemente humilde."

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