Deciphering Putin’s New Cabinet

Technocrat economist Andrei Belousov, with long experience in cabinet and the Kremlin as President Putin’s advisor, has been appointed as the Defence Minister. He is said to be the father of Russian economic wonder because the GDP of the country grew confidently despite the stringent US and EU sanctions. He has the responsibility to keep the ‘guns-butter’ curve in check so as not to jeopardise ambitious social welfare and development projects to alleviate poverty in the country

By Vinay Shukla

Opinion

Amid the ongoing special military operation in Ukraine, at an ornate Kremlin ceremony attended by over 2000 invitees on May 7, Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin took the oath of office for the fifth term, which will last until 2030.

ads

Further developments indicate the Russian leader’s readiness to up the ante and switch over the Russian economy on the war rails. On May 12, he made a surprise announcement of appointing his outgoing senior vice premier Andrei Belousov as the new Defence Minister to replace his close ally General Sergei Shoigu.

Technocrat economist Belousov, with long experience in cabinet and the Kremlin as Putin’s advisor, is said to be the father of Russian economic wonder when, despite the stringent US and EU sanctions, the GDP of the country grew confidently amid fears of a collapse.

congress

Introducing civilian Defence Minister Belousov to the powerful military-industrial commission (MIC) members, Putin said that Russian defence spending has been boosted to 8 per cent of  GDP and is nearing the Soviet era figures of 13 per cent in the 1980s and he will have to keep the ‘guns-butter’ curve in check so as not to jeopardise ambitious social welfare and development projects to alleviate poverty in the country. Belousov, who will be the main customer of MIC, declared that he will control the cost of OEM to keep the expenses in check.

During Belousov’s confirmation hearings at the Federation Council (upper house), Speaker Valentina Matviyenko noted that the credit for the remarkable development and mass production of combat drones in the course of the Ukraine campaign goes to him.

big bang

The Kremlin upped the ante after President Putin’s inauguration for the fifth term: “If the West wants to solve the Ukrainian crisis on the battlefield, so be it. Russia is ready,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared during confirmation hearings in the upper house

“Regarding the military component, this appointment will not change the current coordinate system; the military component has always been the prerogative of the chief of the General Staff, who will continue his activities, and no changes are foreseen in this respect,” President Putin said at the Kremlin meeting with the area commanders.

General Sergei Shoigu, who has been appointed Secretary of the Security Council, will look after national security and defence including the military-industrial commission as well as foreign military cooperation, Putin explained amid rumours of his reshuffles caused by the arrests of his two key ministry colleagues on charges of corruption.

huges

The Kremlin upped the ante after President Putin’s inauguration for the fifth term: “If the West wants to solve the Ukrainian crisis on the battlefield, so be it. Russia is ready,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared during confirmation hearings in the upper house.

Manturov says that Russia has cutting-edge technologies, but due to the small market, it is not economically viable to start indigenous production. However, with India’s huge market, joint efforts in producing futuristic technologies could bear fruits for both countries

Although the dismissal of powerful Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, who was the Kremlin’s point man in contacts with the South Bloc along with NSA Ajit Doval, could be a matter of anxiety for New Delhi, the expansion of duties of General Shoigu in the Security Council should assuage these concerns as the Federal Service on Foreign military-technical cooperation (FSVTS) has been shifted from Defence Ministry to Security Council, and Shoigu, who has been heading joint commission with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on bilateral defence cooperation is cognisant of relations in the key sector of bilateral cooperation.

police expo

Most ministers in the cabinet of Prime Minister Mishustin have retained their posts, and in a welcome development, deputy prime minister Denis Manturov has been given the number two spot of first deputy prime minister. Manturov who looked after the military-industry complex and trade in the previous cabinet was co-chair of the India-Russia Joint Commission along with EAM Dr S Jaishankar.

As first deputy prime minister, Manturov will look after ensuring Russia’s technological sovereignty and, experts say, it is something like the Indian government’s ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ policy and the two nations can synergise their efforts in the hi-tech sector.

Manturov says that Russia has cutting-edge technologies, but due to the small market, it is not economically viable to start their indigenous production. However, with India’s huge market, joint efforts in producing futuristic technologies could bear fruits for both countries.

–The writer is a Moscow-based independent analyst. The views expressed are of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Raksha Anirveda