Putin signs decree naming new Russian government, including replacement of Defence Minister

Mr. Putin appoints new government, replacing Defence Minister with economics expert, reappointing Prime Minister, and reshuffling key Cabinet positions

Published - May 15, 2024 03:00 pm IST - Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the new government in Moscow, Russia May 14, 2024.

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the new government in Moscow, Russia May 14, 2024. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 14 signed a decree appointing a new government, including replacement of the Defence Minister with a former Deputy Prime Minister who is an economics expert with no military background.

When Mr. Putin was inaugurated for a new six-year term on May 7, the government submitted its resignation in line with Russian law. Mr. Putin reappointed Mikhail Mishustin as Prime Minister three days later, which was quickly approved by the lower house of parliament.

On May 12, he signed a decree moving Sergei Shoigu from his post as Defence Minister to Head of the National Security Council. Mr. Putin also nominated Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov to take Mr. Shoigu's place.

Mr. Putin also proposed names for some Cabinet members to return to their posts and Mr. Mishustin submitted names for several new ministers, all of which were approved by the parliament.

Mr. Shoigu has been widely seen as a key figure in Mr. Putin's decision to send Russian troops into Ukraine. Russia had expected the operation to quickly overwhelm Ukraine's much smaller and less-equipped army and for Ukrainians to broadly welcome Russian troops.

Instead, the conflict galvanised Ukraine to mount an intense defence, dealing the Russian army humiliating blows, including the retreat from an attempt to take the capital, Kyiv, and a counteroffensive that drove Moscow's forces out of the Kharkiv region.

Mr. Shoigu also was shadowed by the arrest last month of Deputy Defence Minister Timur Ivanov on charges of accepting huge bribes.

The decree by Putin largely retains the previous Cabinet, but names new energy, sports, transport, industry and agriculture ministers.

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