Russian Army General Sergei Shoigu has never actually served in the armed forces, but that has not stopped him heading up the Ministry of Defense and holding a prestigious military rank. 

He also advocates mandatory military conscription for instilling a “moral core,” yet Shoigu has never had to take part himself.

So, who is Sergei Shoigu and what do we know about the family of one of the most senior players in Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine?

Shoigu graduated from Krasnoyarsk Polytechnic Institute in 1977 and received a degree in civil engineering. Like many graduates of Soviet universities, he was awarded the rank of lieutenant reserve.

For a long time, he worked in various roles for construction companies in Siberia. In the late 1980s, he held secretary and inspector positions in the Communist Party Committees of Achinsk and Krasnoyarsk.


After that, Shoigu moved to Moscow and worked as deputy chairman of the State Committee for Construction and Architecture, then in 1991 became the head of the Russian Emergency Committee.

Shoigu actively supported former Russian President Boris Yeltsin. In 1993, Yeltsin awarded him the rank of Major General, leapfrogging several ranks that Shoigu had never held. Between 1994 and 2012, he headed up the Ministry of Emergency Situations.

In 1995, 1996, and 1998, Shoigu was awarded new military ranks, then in 2003 received the rank of army general from President Vladimir Putin before finally becoming Russia’s defense minister in 2012.

Shoigu wearing a denim suit with the inscription “Putin Team”, pictured in a family photo holding his granddaughter. (Photo Credit: ksenia_shoigu/Instagram)

Shoigu has two adult daughters – 45-year-old Yulia and 31-year-old Ksenia. Despite having a family of his own, he unquestioningly obeys Putin’s orders to attack and kill Ukrainians and their children.

Yulia Shoigu

Shoigu’s eldest daughter, Yulia, has been a psychologist and director of the Center of Emergency Psychological Aid at the Ministry of Emergency Situations since 2002. She is also vice president of the Russian Psychological Society.

Yulia was born on May 4, 1977 in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, then due to her father’s work the family often changed their place of residence. She graduated from high school in Moscow in 1994 and entered the Faculty of Psychology at Moscow State University.


Upon graduating in 1999, Yulia took up work at the Center for Emergency Psychological Assistance of the Ministry of Emergencies of Russia, whilst it was headed by her father. Her career grew rapidly and within a few years she became the deputy director, and later director of the center.

Yulia Shoigu refused to change out of her uniform for this photo shoot in glamor magazine Tatler Russia, 2019.

Yulia is married to Alexei Zakharov, who holds the position of deputy prosecutor- general of Russia. The couple have two children – daughter Darina and son Kirill.

Despite her father’s war-mongering command over Russia’s war in Ukraine, Yulia has worked to provide psychological assistance to victims of terrorist attacks, hostage-taking, and man-made disasters in Moscow and elsewhere.

Screengrab of Ksenia Shoigu in the Russian movie “Burnt by the Sun 2”, 2010.

Shoigu’s youngest daughter Ksenia was born on January 10, 1991, in Moscow. A Russian public figure and sports official, she is president of the Russian Triathlon Federation, leader of the “League of Heroes” project, organizer of the “Race of Heroes” project and ideologist of the military-historical cluster “Island of Forts.”


Upon finishing school, Ksenia enrolled in the Faculty of International Economic Relations at Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In 2009, a public scandal emerged following press coverage about a house being purchased in her name worth $9 million in Barvikha, a luxury district near Moscow. Her father had gifted the property to his youngest daughter, although it was later transferred into the name of a relative, following which the media attention subsided.

Ksenia Shoigu acting in the Russian movie “Burnt by the Sun 2”, 2010.

In 2010, Ksenia starred as a nurse in Nikita Mikhalkov’s movie “Burnt by the Sun 2.” However, she did not wish to pursue a career in acting.

During her student years, Ksenia had an internship in one of St. Petersburg’s largest banks. In 2012, she worked as an assistant to the deputy head of the Federal Service for Environmental, Technological and Nuclear Supervision.

After graduating from university in 2013, she was hired by the Department of Structural Finance in Gazprombank as a senior analyst.

Five years later, she became an adviser to the board’s deputy chairman.

At the same time, Ksenia became the deputy chairman of the Investment Committee of the Trust Non-Profit Fund for the Development of the Tourist and Recreational Cluster of the City of Kronstadt. In 2020, the Russian government allocated 4.5 billion rubles to Ksenia’s project for the reconstruction of two forts.


In 2021, Ksenia married sports blogger Alexei Stolyarov, with whom she has a daughter.

While Ksenia’s father threatens the West with war, Ksenia and her husband have traveled and enjoyed vacations in various European countries.

Ksenia Shoigu and husband in Florence, Italy, 2021. (Photo Credit: Ksenia Shoigu Instagram account)

In 2022, Sergei Shoigu’s family and the Russian Triathlon Federation headed by daughter Ksenia, came under Western sanctions in connection with Russia’s war in Ukraine.

On March 12, Ksenia closed her Instagram account.

Before doing so, she wrote a post in support of her father, stating that she was not ashamed to be Russian and that she considered military action in Ukraine to be a necessity.

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