Russian President Vladimir Putin is shaking up his inner group of lieutenants just days into his newest term as the Kremlin’s leader, which has many Russians voicing some doubts about his choices for the shuffle of personnel, mostly related to their full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

On Sunday, May 12, Putin replaced Sergei Shoigu with Andreу Belousov as Russia’s defense minister. Putin kept Shoigu in his administration, thransferring Shoigu to the post of Security Council secretary to replace Nikolay Patrushev.

Putin has proposed appointing Andrey Belousov as Russia’s new defense minister. He is an economist who previously served as minister of economic development, Russian presidential aide for economic issues and the first deputy prime minister with responsibility for economic issues.

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While the Kremlin won’t admit it, the economic scandals that have engulfed Moscow’s Defense Ministry of late, including the arrest of Timur Ivanov, Shoigu’s deputy, on corruption charges may have been a factor.

Russians are outraged by these personnel changes, as they believe that Belousov has no place in the Russian Defense Ministry.

One user, Valeriy, does not understand why Putin chose Belousov.

“I don’t get it? What does this economist have to do with defense? Did the editor make a mistake?” Udovychenko commented to a RIA Novosti post about Russian Defense Ministry personnel changes.

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Victory for Ukraine Requires Destruction of Russian Oil Industry

A friendly amendment to Andriy Yermak’s WSJ Op-on using the oil weapon against Moscow.

Other Russians think such personnel changes may be a new tactic of the Kremlin.

"In general, the enemy’s army could be ruined and they will surrender without a fight due to lack of funds... Maybe that’s why the economist was appointed, to ruin the Americans and take Washington without firing a single shot,” said a user named Pravdorub.

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In addition, Russians will wonder what happened to the former Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and why they decided to replace him now. A typical thread of chat dialog asked questions such as:

-Is Shoigu done?

- What will happen to Shoigu?

- Why is he not in uniform?

- What’s wrong with Shoigu?

“Under Shoigu, it was already clear that the chair was smoking, especially after Prigozhin’s coup. The situation was tragic and tense. And Shoigu disappeared, appeared only after everything was over. Surovikin [former Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces] tried to pacify everyone with his authority. Personally, my respect for him is gone then, another user writes.

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Russian user Aleksey Moskva believes that “economists should not be put in charge of wars, it’s a shame.”

In response to his words, Yelena Berezovskaya believes that "War is a war of economies in the first place. And an economist-mathematician is the most suitable person to provide for the army, not a dashing warrior waving a checkerboard.”

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