Although Sergei Shoigu is the defense minister for Russia, President Vladimir Putin is seeking to pin the blame for the country’s military failure on him. Putin is seeking backing from the security forces to strengthen his position. The Institute for the Study of War produced this analysis of recent events.
The ISW specialists claim that Putin is now blaming Sergei Shoigu for the difficulties at the front and mounting criticism of Russia’s partial mobilization.
Thus, by his proclamation, the Kremlin delayed the mobilization of all students, including part-time and graduate students, and publicly said that the Ministry of Defense had neglected to timely amend the legal framework for the lists of groups not subject to mobilization, demanding adjustments.
ISW researchers emphasize that it appears that Putin is preparing Shoigu to take responsibility for the failure of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
However, according to the ISW, Putin is not in a rush to oust Shoigu and instead wants to retain him in his position as long as possible to continue holding him responsible for the military’s setbacks and give him time to win over other groups, particularly the security forces.
According to the source, Shoigu’s successor “will have to accept responsibility for the shortcomings that will come after the start of his term.”
According to experts, Putin is already attempting to increase his popularity among nationalist bloggers and security personnel, including Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya, and Yevgeny Prigozhin, who he promoted to colonel general.
The manager of numerous pro-war Telegram channels was detained by the Russian government at the same time, which suggests that the Kremlin is further tightening the screws on any criticism that is permitted in the domestic Russian media.