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Friday, May 24, 2024

Who Exactly Is Andrei Belousov, Putin’s Pick for Defense Minister?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed a surprise new defense minister, nominating civilian Andrei Belousov, a former deputy prime minister specializing in economics, for the job more than two years into the Ukraine war, the Kremlin said.

Below are some facts about Andrei Removich Belousov:

* Belousov, 65, graduated from the Faculty of Economics of the Moscow State University in 1981 with distinction. He defended his dissertation on “An imitative approach to modeling interrelated processes for the formation and use of working capital.”

* In 2000, Belousov was appointed a non-staff adviser to the Russian prime minister and joined the economy ministry as deputy minister six years later. From 2008 to 2012, he was the director of the Department for Economics and Finance in the government apparatus, and in the same years, Putin served as prime minister.

* In 2012, he was made economics minister. From 2013 until 2020, Belousov served as adviser to the Russian president. From 2020, he worked as first deputy prime minister. When Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin got COVID in 2020, Belousov briefly took on the prime minister’s duties while Mishustin got better.

* In 2017, Russian media outlet RBC said Belousov was one of the officials who convinced Putin that the digital economy and blockchain were crucial to the future.

* “I can say that what a country with sovereignty should have is the possession of its meanings. Who are we, where are we from, where are we going? … We have no other option for our country but to acquire or reproduce this identity,” Belousov told RBC in an interview in 2023.

* According to RBC, he practiced sambo and karate in his youth and did not serve in the armed forces. He is thought to be close to Putin.

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