Sergei Shoigu, the Russian general and defense minister who didn’t serve a day in the army ranks
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, the country’s longest-serving minister, is a close friend of Kremlin head Vladimir Putin, who has chosen him on several occasions as his widely publicized vacation companion, and until now he had an incombustible aura.
But his failure to respond to the rebellion of the Wagner Group mercenaries led by its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, dealt Shoigu a blow, undoubtedly harder than the setbacks of the Russian army in Ukraine, for which he and the military leadership they have been harshly criticized by ultra-patriotic sectors.
Shoigu’s performance, or lack thereof, in this crisis has cast him in a bad light, but Putin is known to be no friend to hasty decisions and less under the pressure of events, so a hot firing would be surprising.
Without having served a single day in the ranks of the Armed Forces, the 68-year-old Defense Minister, a construction engineer by profession, holds the rank of General of the Army, the highest among the Russian ranks, for which his detractors call him the ” general of cardboard”.
In the midst of the collapse of the USSR, accompanied by floods, forest fires and other disasters, Shoigu monopolized media space and in 1994 his work was rewarded with the creation of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, which he held until to 2012, when after nearly six months as governor of the Moscow region, he was appointed to the defense front.
Since then, the closeness of Putin and Shoigu has only strengthened, as the Kremlin itself wanted to underline by spreading the images of their holidays together, both in summer, where they can be seen fishing shirtless, and in winter, walking through a snowy forest . (Eph)