Kremlin views Shoigu's shift to Security Council Secretary as lateral move, not a demotion, says Peskov

Sergei Shoigu
Sergei Shoigu

The Kremlin does not consider Sergei Shoigu's new position as secretary of the Russian Security Council to be a demotion from his previous job as defense minister, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told the news agency Interfax on May 14.

Shoigu "took a great position" because it provides "direct contact" with Putin.

Read also: Putin could end the war in Ukraine in five minutes - by calling Russian Defense Minister Shoigu

"This is a very high government position with a very wide range of tasks, which plays a huge role for the country. Of course, the head of this body is in constant direct contact with the head of state and bears great responsibility," Peskov said.

Read also: Transition from Shoigu to Belousov as Russian Defense Minister: Impact on hostilities assessed by expert

Shoigu's dismissal and other changes in the Russian government

On May 12, Vladimir Putin decided not to reappoint Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who had led the ministry for almost 12 years. Instead, Andrei Belousov, the first deputy prime minister and a former aide to Putin, will become the new defense minister. Belousov has no military experience.

Read also: Shoigu out as Russian Defense Minister after 11+ years, his appointment has no military experience

The Federation Council will consider his candidacy for the post of defense minister on May 13-14.

Shoigu was appointed secretary of the Russian Security Council, replacing Nikolai Patrushev. Shoigu had been the head of the Russian Defense Ministry since Nov. 6, 2012.

The U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War noted in its report that the replacement of the minister indicates that Putin is taking significant steps to mobilize the Russian economy and military-industrial complex to support the ongoing war in Ukraine and possibly prepare for a future confrontation with NATO.

A current Russian federal official, anonymously commenting on Shoigu's resignation to the iStories outlet, said it was a "shock for everyone" and meant that the war was "for a long time."

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