Sep 6, 2021
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Instead of Shoigu: Putin thinks who will “steer” the army if his ally goes to the State Duma

Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (left to right)

Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (left to right) (Photo: Alexey Druzhinin / TASS)

“Releasing” from the posts of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergei Shoigu and Sergey Lavrovin order to strengthen United Russia in the upcoming elections, the President Vladimir Putin dropped a “stingy man’s tear”. They say, it’s a pity to let them go to the State Duma, in their posts they were quite happy with the president. And according to the VTsIOM poll, they are the ones who enjoy the greatest support from the Russians out of all the leaders of the party lists.

The question is, who will replace them?

It is clear that we do not have irreplaceable people. But if in the Foreign Ministry it is not such a big problem to find a new minister (there, according to analysts, the head of the presidential administration is predicting Andrey Vaino or the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN Vasily Nebenzu), then in the Ministry of Defense, with a seemingly large “bench”, there is not so much of a visible figure for the post of head of the military department. It is assumed that this will most likely be a person from the outside – Putin likes to make non-standard personnel decisions.

Of the current deputy defense ministers, it is unlikely that anyone will be promoted. The ideal figure in the rank of minister could be the chief of the General Staff, General of the Army Valery Gerasimov… A professional military man with extensive experience, repeatedly personally presented new weapons to Putin, showed the training of troops in exercises, but he is not included in the president’s inner circle, and in fact is in his place.

The post of minister is too tough and Ruslan Tsalikov, Nikolai Pankov, Andrey Kartapolov, Yuri Sadovenko, Dmitry Bulgakov, Yunus-Bek Evkurov, Timur Ivanov, Andrey Krivoruchko, Pavel Popov, Alexander Fomin and even the only woman on the list of deputy ministers Tatiana Shevtsova

Another potential candidate for the post of minister is the Commander-in-Chief of the Military Space Forces, Colonel-General Sergey Surovikin… Despite his current position in the Aerospace Forces, he went all the way as an army officer – from the commander of a motorized rifle platoon to the commander of the Eastern Military District and successfully commanded the Group of Forces of the Russian Armed Forces in Syria. In addition, Surovikin is said to have direct access to the president, who praised his military services. All of these candidates are well-known personalities, but not so bright as to become the head of the Ministry of Defense.

In general, it is not so easy for Putin to find a “second Shoigu”, and he will not dare to “put on the army” someone from the outside. We need a well-known to the masses, and, first of all, a personally devoted person. Such as Shoigu, who corresponded to the position, and went fishing in the taiga with the president. Most likely, Putin has already made his choice and there is such a person from his talent pool, otherwise he would not have sent Shoigu to the polls. (It should be noted here that Sergei Kuzhugetovich is unlikely to sit up in deputies – his old dream of “raising” Siberia will come true.)

The governor of the Tula region is now named among the main contenders for the post of head of the Ministry of Defense Alexey Dyumin

He holds the military rank of lieutenant general, which he was awarded in 2015, when he served as chief of the General Staff of the Ground Forces. In the Ministry of Defense, Dyumin, by the way, did not stay for long, managed to stay for another month in the post of Deputy Minister of Defense, but did not receive an extra star for shoulder straps. He was sent by Putin to “steer” the Tula region, where on September 18, 2016, gaining 84.19% of the vote, he won the direct election of the governor.

Dyumin has experience of service as deputy chief of the GRU and commander of the Special Operations Forces. In this capacity, he led the operation of the “polite people” in Crimea in 2014. And the title of Hero of the Russian Federation, allegedly, was awarded for the operation to evacuate the Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych from Ukraine, but there is no official confirmation of this fact. However, there is no confirmation yet about his possible appointment to the post of Minister of Defense, but the name, as they say, is well known.

Here we can assume a certain “knight’s move” on the part of Putin – after supporting United Russia in the elections, Shoigu will give up his parliamentary mandate and return to the chair of the Minister of Defense. However, judging by the current activity of Shoigu with proposals for the construction of new cities in Siberia, his thoughts have already moved to a new field. In the army, he did his job.

Shoigu, who has led the Russian army since November 6, 2012, has an impeccable reputation. You can, of course, find stones to throw into his garden, but there are incomparably more positive moments. And the first, and most important, is that he was able to restore the former authority of the army, both in the eyes of society, who believed in its combat effectiveness, and the servicemen themselves, for whom service in the RF Armed Forces has become a prestigious and honorable profession. Everything else is secondary, although no less significant. And this is new weapons, and the provision of a decent life for the military. The Russian army under Shoigu has reached a new level and is now deservedly considered one of the best in the world.

And Shoigu, who did not serve in the army and did not graduate from a military school, can also be called the best defense minister in modern Russia. Don’t believe me? Let’s remember his predecessors.

Army General Konstantin Kobets (he headed the Ministry of Defense for 20 days in 1991, after 6 years he was arrested for corruption).

Boris Yeltsin (two months in 1992, further without comment).

Army General Pavel Grachev (here, too, no comment).

Army General Mikhail Kolesnikov (acting less than a month in 1996).

Army General Igor Rodionov (in office a little less than a year in 1996/97).

Marshal of the Russian Federation Igor Sergeev (a native of the Strategic Missile Forces, he did nothing bad for the army, but especially good too).

Reserve Colonel General Sergey Ivanov (counterintelligence, also without further comment).

“Furniture maker” Anatoly Serdyukov (take my hands off the keyboard!).

Well, here is General of the Army Sergei Shoigu since 2012, who has proven himself well before as head of the Ministry of Emergencies.

Who will you like more on this list? Not because one of the former defense ministers was worse or better, but according to what was done for the real power and authority of the Russian army.

– “Invincible and legendary” after the collapse of the Soviet Union went through many stages of transformation and reform. But its real revival took place precisely after Sergei Shoigu took up its real renovation, at the suggestion of Vladimir Putin, – believes military expert Vladislav Shurygin… – And here, in addition to funding and global renewal of military equipment, surprise inspections in the Armed Forces played a large role, which helped to form a new image of the army. The real combat test was the military operation in Syria, which changed the situation in this country in favor of government forces and showed the whole world the power of Russian weapons.

It is important that in recent years the authority of both the army itself and the people – generals, officers, ordinary soldiers of both contract and conscript service – has been significantly strengthened. The servicemen have developed a sense of their own dignity, pride in belonging to the Armed Forces. “I am the army!” – this is the main leitmotif of military service. And the merit in this, including, and the Minister of Defense.

Remember, in a good sense of the word, the participation of “polite people” who ensured the holding of the referendum in Crimea and, as a result, the creation of the Special Operations Forces (MTR), which were “blessed” by the President and the Minister of Defense, is also possible. Another merit of Shoigu is the transition of the army to contract service, the creation of professional junior personnel. Military schools and academies have finally regained the status of a forge of personnel for the army.

In any case, the new defense minister will have to “keep the bar” set by Sergei Shoigu – to be, if not better, then at least not worse.

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