Russia's Defense Minister Replacement Suggests Kremlin Preparing For Protracted War In Ukraine - ISW

(MENAFN- UkrinForm) Andrei Belousov's appointment to the position of Russian Defense Minister is linked to corruption levels in the Russian Defense Ministry and suggests that the Kremlin continues to prepare for a protracted war in Ukraine.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said this in its latest report , according to Ukrinform.

“Belousov's appointment to the position of Russian Defense Minister is a significant development in Putin's efforts to set full economic conditions for a protracted war,” the report says.

As noted, Belousov has no military experience and is an economist by trade. Several Russian insider sources similarly responded to Belousov's new position and claimed that it shows that Putin has serious concerns over corruption levels and misuse of funds within the Russian military, conflicts between the military and the Russian DIB, and the perceived inefficacy of the Russian MoD as a whole.

According to ISW, Belousov is also a known advocate for greater government involvement in the economy. His nearly decade-long tenure as an economic minister in the Russian federal government and his more recent involvement managing various domestic DIB innovation and drone projects, prepare him well to lead the struggling Russian MoD apparatus.

In January 2023, Belousov personally announced that Russia had finalized the "Unmanned Aircraft Systems" project, which provides 696 billion rubles (about $7 billion) for the production of 32,000 drones per year until 2030.
Belousov also more recently highlighted a draft state order for 4.4 billion-rubles (roughly $48 million) for the production of drones until 2030, as well as plans to financially support drone producers and train drone developers and operators.[

“Belousov has a stronger reputation for being an effective technocrat, and insider sources have claimed that he has a positive relationship with Putin,” the report says.

According to experts, Putin likely intends Belousov to use his experience in a civilian government position to bridge federal economic policies with the Russian MoD agenda, thereby more fully mobilizing the Russian DIB at a larger and longer-term scale and integrating it with domestic economic policy.

“These high-level reshuffles following the Russian presidential election strongly suggest that Putin is taking significant steps towards mobilizing the Russian economy and defense industrial base (DIB) to support a protracted war in Ukraine and possibly prepare for a future confrontation with NATO,” the report says.

As reported by Ukrinform, on May 12, Vladimir Putin proposed appointing former First Deputy Prime Minister Andriy Belousov as Defense Minister to replace Sergei Shoigu, who has headed the Russian Defense Ministry since 2012.



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