Putin's Soviet purge continues: Patrushev is his new advisor

The Soviet-style purge implemented by Vladimir Putin continues after the arrest of Lieutenant General Yuri Kuznetsov, head of the Main Personnel Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, this morning. The police reported this to TASS. «Lieutenant General Kuznetsov was arrested on suspicion of a criminal offense. The investigation of the case is conducted by the Main Military Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. The investigators have already submitted an application to the court to select a preventive measure for the general in the form of detention,” said a source familiar with the facts from the agency. According to Russian media reports, a search was carried out at Kuznetsov's workplace, as well as at his home. Other details of the criminal case were not disclosed but it is certain that the senior officer is involved in a bribery ring like Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanovarrested last April 24, who is accused «of accepting bribes on a particularly large scale». From 2010 to 2023 Kuznetsov was head of the eighth directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. This body deals with issues relating to the State Secrets Protection Service at the Ministry of Defense. As indicated on website of the Defense Department, Kuznetsov was appointed head of the Main Directorate of Personnel of the Russian Defense Ministry in May 2023. Today the fates also became clear Of Sergey Shoigu, who has been appointed secretary of the Russian Security Council who will supervise the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation but will not be its head, as specified by Russian presidential press spokesman Dmitry Peskov: «The secretary of the Council of Russian security Sergey Shoigu will supervise the work of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation. He will not be the head of this service,” Peskov said, adding that “the service is headed by Dmitry Shugayev.” Peskov denied that the removal of Sergei Shoigu as defense minister and his appointment as secretary of the National Security Council represents a demotion for him. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin's decree on the new structure of the Russian executive, the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, previously under the control of the Russian Ministry of Defense, was placed under its direct subordination. Putin had previously appointed Shoigu, Russian Defense Minister since 2012, as secretary of the Russian Security Council to succeed Nikolay Patrushev, who was relieved of his post due to a move to another post. This morning it was announced that the 72-year-old Patrushev will serve as an advisor to Vladimir Putin and his silence fuels various speculations. Political scientist Fyodor Krasheninnikov told Novaya Gazeta Europe that «Given Patrushev's close relationship with Putin and his ambitions, he is unlikely to receive a small post». In this sense it is possible that the former head of the FSB may also become the new head of the presidential administration, replacing Anton Vajno. Also on Patrushev, the political scientist Konstantin Kalachiov on News.ru stated: «Considering his skills, talent and experience, the only plausible option is for him to take on a role in the presidential administration. It is difficult to imagine him as simply someone else's deputy». In the late afternoon, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov clarified the matter, so much so that he said that Patrushev will deal with the shipbuilding industry: «This assignment is naturally of a slightly different nature, it is an absolutely strategic branch, broad, very complex and Nikolay Platonovich's vast experience will play a very important role.” Patrushev in 1974, as Tass writes, graduated from the then Leningrad Naval Institute, State Marine Technical University of St. Petersburg. In addition to Patrushev, Vladimir Putin has designated Alexei Dyumin, until now governor of the Tula region, among his advisors. This information was reported by the Kremlin's official website, cited by the Tass agency. Dyumin, 51, is seen by many observers as a rising star in Russia's political landscape, and Putin recently held a private conversation with him. In his new role, Dyumin will be responsible for issues related to the defense industry, sports and the activity of the State Council, as highlighted by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, quoted by the Interfax agency. Finally, still on the subject of Nikolai Patrushev, it is worth rereading what analyst Mark Galeotti wrote on 28 March 2023 in The Spectator: «If I had to choose the figure who scares me most in Vladimir Putin's inner circle, I would say that is Nikolai Platonovich Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council and the closest thing to a national security advisor in the Russian system. Patrushev's profile has steadily risen as a cause and symptom of the system's drift towards nationalist imperialism, and he best channels the worst impulses within Putin's clique. Every time he speaks, it is unfortunately worth listening to him.”