Submitted by George Callaghan…
Shoigu will be the next President of Russia. President Putin is 67 and according to the constitution this is his last term. He is due to retire from the presidency in 2024. Speculation is rife as to who will be the next head of state. The word on the street is that Sergei Shoigu is the current president’s pick as his successor.
Putin seems to favour people who are not Muscovites. Ideally, he selects fellow sons of Leningrad. Shoigu is not one of those but at least he is not from Moscow. He was born in 1955. This Siberian comes from a small town and a family of no particular distinction. He is an indigenous ethnic minority on one side. He qualified as an engineer and joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The CPSU was a career open to talents. He made his way up its cursus honorum. Conformity and deference were much valued graces within the Communist Party. He does not appear to be a man of strong imagination or independence of mind. He worked at the Ministry of Emergency Situations for some years.
What do we know of Shoigu? He is a bluff and undemonstrative type. He is a man after Putin’s own heart. S Shoigu has what V V Putin would call ‘moral stability’ in that he is happily married and is the father of children. He is abstemious when it comes to spirituous liquor and eschews tobacco.
Sergei Shoigu is now the Minister of Defence. This is a vital post in any country. But as the military is a Russian collective obsession the prestige of this post is even greater than in most nations. Most of the budget goes on defence. He is a man who has risen through public service. He is not an oligarch and has no separate power base. The current president finds this man unthreatening and personally unambitious. Nor does Shoigu have a reputation for graft. He is a team player and a conformist.
On the president’s birthday he had himself photographed fishing in deepest Siberia with Shoigu. Could this be sending a not so subliminal message? It appears that Shoigu is being groomed. Is he Putin’s handpicked successor. He believes that he can control Shoigu who is inclined to agree with him anyway. Perhaps the president perceives Shoigu as a means of continuing his control after formal retirement. As Shoigu is only 3 years younger than V V P there is little chance of Shoigu ruling for 20+ years. There is talk of Putin creating a post such as ‘leader of the nation’ as exists in Kazakhstan. When Nazarbayev retired from the presidency in 2018 he still retained the title ‘Leader of the Nation’. This allows him to be a back seat driver. He can exercise power from behind the scenes. He does not have to make all those burdensome public appearances now that he is infirm.
Kremlinologists have been reading the not so subtle clues. Vladimir Vladimirovich does nothing without good reason. The photo opportunities with S Shoigu were trying to tell us something.
The only other person who has much of a chance is Dmitry Medvedev. He is the only person who has succeeded V V Putin as president. He is also from St Petersburg.
Lavrov will got get the top spot. He is too old, he smokes and he is half-Armenian which would irk Azerbaijan. Shuvalov was considered a runner rather than a rider but he fell from grace not so long ago. The other contenders are unlikely. They are unacceptable to various factions.
The presidency of Sergei Shoigu is just a rumor at this stage. It is not a certainty. But he remains the most likely of the possibilities.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.