Russia announces shake-up to Putin’s national security team


The Kremlin announced a shake-up to Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s national security team on Sunday, marking the first major change to that group since the beginning of the country’s war against Ukraine.

Sergei Shoigu, who had been the country’s defense minister since 2012, was appointed as secretary of the country’s Security Council, the president’s office announced. He had been leading Russia’s military through its invasion and war in Ukraine, which began in February 2022.

Shoigu’s job as defense minister came under scrutiny with early failings in the Ukraine war, along with an attempted rebellion last year by the leader of the private military contractor Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin — who wanted Shoigu ousted from the position.

FILE – Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu is driven along Red Square in an Aurus car during the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Russia, on May 9, 2024, marking the 79th anniversary of the end of World War II. The Kremlin says Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree appointing Sergei Shoigu as secretary of Russia’s national security council, replacing Nikolai Patrushev. The appointment Sunday comes after Putin proposed to appoint Andrei Belousov as the country’s defense minister instead of Shoigu, who has served in the post for years. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

The Kremlin also announced on Sunday that Nikolai Patrushev, who had been serving as the secretary of the Security Council, would be relieved from his duties to take a different unspecified job.

Andrei Belousov has been nominated to replace Shoigu as defense minister. Belousov previously served as first deputy prime minister and as the economic development minister.

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The shake-up comes shortly after Putin began his fifth term as president of Russia. He was sworn into his current term last week after winning the presidential election in March. Several countries, including the United States, have expressed concerns over the legitimacy of Putin’s election with no viable opposition permitted to run against the longtime Russian leader.

Putin has been Russia’s president for all but four years since 2000. From 2008 until 2012, he served as prime minister, as the constitution prevented him from seeking more than two conservative terms at the time.

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