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Putin gives important positions to close confidants

Russian President Putin continues to restructure his power apparatus – and fills important positions with close confidants. Meanwhile, another high-ranking employee at the Ministry of Defense was arrested on suspicion of corruption.

Shortly after the start of his fifth term in office, Russian President Vladimir Putin is continuing the restructuring of his power apparatus. As the presidential office announced, he appointed his close confidant and companion Nikolai Patrushev as the new presidential advisor. This will be responsible for shipbuilding in the future. This is a large, complex and strategic sector in which Patrushev's experience will play a major role, they said.

Like Putin, Patrushev comes from St. Petersburg and the two have known each other for decades. He was once Putin's successor as head of the domestic intelligence service FSB. Patrushev is considered a hardliner in foreign and security policy. The 72-year-old was previously Secretary of the National Security Council.

Shoigu becomes secretary of the Security Council

This post now goes to Sergei Shoigu, who was surprisingly replaced as defense minister at the weekend. In his new role as secretary of the Russian Security Council, Shoigu will also have a wide range of tasks that are “of great importance for the country,” the presidential office said.

Shoigu had been repeatedly criticized for military failures in Ukraine. In addition, his ministry was recently rocked by a corruption scandal. Shoigu's office will now be taken over by economist Andrei Beloussov.

Putin also promoted his economic advisor Maxim Oreshkin to deputy chief of staff. In addition, the governor of the Tula region, Putin's long-time bodyguard Alexei Dyumin, will work as an advisor in the Kremlin in the future. At 52, he is a comparatively young newcomer in the Russian ruling structure. Dyumin will be responsible for the defense industry, said presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who was confirmed in his position.

New Corruption allegations in the Ministry of Defense

Meanwhile, a senior Russian Defense Ministry official was arrested on corruption charges for the second time in just a few weeks. General Yuri Kuznetsov, who is responsible for personnel, is suspected of having accepted bribes on a “large scale,” the investigative committee said. During the search of his house, more than 100 million rubles (more than one million euros), gold coins and luxury watches were confiscated. The 55-year-old was taken into custody.

This is the biggest corruption scandal in the government in years. It started on April 23 with the arrest of Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov on suspicion of corruption. Since then, at least five people have been arrested in this connection.

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