Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

The appointment of Andrei Belousov, a civilian from an economic background, as Russia’s defense minister, provoked mixed reactions, between anxiety and anticipation in Ukraine and the West due to the surprise that this appointment carried, a welcome inside Russia and hopes for Moscow’s friends for a significant development of relations, given the ideas of the man who in the past years played a prominent role in shaping the Russian economy, and the increasing openness to countries rising up against colonialism.

Who is Belousov

Belousov was born on March 17, 1959, in Moscow in the family of the Soviet economist, involved in the development of economic reform of the sixties, Reem Belusov (1926-2008).

In 1981, he graduated from the Lomonosov State University School of Economics and received a doctorate in economic sciences in 1986, working as a researcher at the Central Institute of Economics and Mathematics of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

From 1986 to 1990 he worked at the Institute of Economics and Forecasting of Scientific and Technological Progress of the USSR Academy of Sciences, after which he became Chief Researcher and Laboratory Head of the Institute of National Economic Forecasting of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

In 2000, he served as Director General of the Center for Short-Term Economic Analysis and Forecasting and at the same time as an independent adviser to the heads of the Russian government. From February 2006 to July 2008, he served as Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade of the Russian Federation, after which he headed the Department of Economy and Finance of the Government of the Russian Federation until 2012.

From May 2012 to June 2013, he served as Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation in the government of Dmitry Medvedev. He was Director by Russia at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Deputy Director by Russia at the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

On June 24, 2013, he worked in the administration of the Russian President, and until January 21, 2020, served as Assistant to the President of the State Vladimir Putin on economic issues. From June 2015 to September 2018, he served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the oil company Rosneft, and since January 21, 2020, he served as First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Mikhail Mishustin.

From April to May 2020, he served as Acting Head of Government, in the first Mishustin government, and since 2022, he has also overseen the development of technologies for the creation of high-speed transport vehicles, intelligent control systems and new generation transport equipment.

He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2009 and honored by the Russian President. He is the author of the book “The development of the system of reproduction of the Russian economy: from crisis to development” (2006).

Welcome in the Russian interior

Belousov’s sudden appointment as defense minister was welcomed in Russian circles because of his long history of economic development, which would reflect on the military and give it a development boost.

In his first official appearance after his candidacy to assume the duties of the Russian Defense Ministry, Andrei Belousov arrived – accompanied by the President of the Russian Federation Council Valentina Matvienko, who described him as “intelligent and intellectual”, and continued, “In all previous positions, he has always achieved positive results, in addition, he is a person who thinks strategically, and strategically … It seems to me that it won’t take long to make a difference after he takes office.”

Igor Koroshenko, editor-in-chief of the National Defense Magazine, described Belusov’s appointment as “an exceptionally successful decision,” saying, “He is undoubtedly a statesman and patriot with extensive practical experience, known for his strategic outlook and creative approach to solving a wide range of the most complex and pressing tasks facing the Russian Federation. The appointment to the post of defense minister, of course, is also due to the president’s personal trust in him.”

Korotchenko opined that Belusov “will integrate all the necessary things that need to be done to implement effective ideas in order to achieve victory in the special military operation and continue the well-coordinated collective work of the military administration.” In addition, Koroshenko continued, “Belosov will be able to increase the efficiency of the use of financial resources allocated by the state for defense, improve the issues of government defense orders and the supply of modern types of weapons and military equipment.”

Komsomolskaya Pravda’s military correspondent, Dmitry Stechin, pointed out in a post on his Telegram channel that Belousov reported to Putin on the importance of drones when they were not yet prevalent, and said, “The appointment of a person with an economic core indicates a war of minds and resources, not reports and schedules, so such a decision was made.”

Fears in Ukraine and the West

Belousov’s appointment sparked widespread debate in the Ukrainian and Western press, with both the Financial Times and The Independent describing the appointment as a “surprise”, and the two newspapers considered the cabinet changes in Russia the largest since the start of the Russian Federation, while Bloomberg reported that Belousov has the confidence of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In Ukraine, Ukrainian economist Oleksiy Kush expressed concern about the appointment, saying “nothing good should be expected from this for the Kiev regime,” adding, “We can now expect a sharp increase in the dynamics of the Russian military-industrial complex and an increase in military production in the Russian Federation.

Russia’s partners in Africa and the Arab world

The appointment of economist Belousov to a sensitive military position at the head of the military institution is seen as a very positive view of Russia’s partners in Africa and the Arab world, as the man has played a major role in the past period as an influential economic adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The increased cooperation we see recently between Russia and the countries of Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula is the result of Belousov’s proposals.

Belousov is known for his keen concern for Russia’s interests in protecting its sovereignty, as well as for his respectful view of partners, which is clearly demonstrated by his continuous proposal for active and equal cooperation with friends and partners around the world, a point that gives Russia points in its relations with African countries that are witnessing a remarkable rise of national liberation movements and shakes off the era of French and Western colonialism in general.

Given Belousov’s ideas, African countries can expect with great confidence more Russian assistance in breaking free from the colonial past and cooperating in areas of military cooperation.

In this context, military analyst Vladimir Prokhvatilov Belousov considers “one of the initiators of interesting proposals on the establishment of military-technical cooperation with countries,” and pointed to the report published by Belousov in cooperation with the Center for Macroeconomic Analysis and Short-Term Forecasting (ЦМАКП), which outlines the directions of serious defense cooperation with friendly countries.

On May 16, Dmitry Belousov, as Head of the Center for Macroeconomic Analysis and Short-Term Forecasting, participated in the General Conference “Fragmentation of the global financial and monetary system: challenges and strategies for the formation of state financial sovereignty” at the Financial University of the Government of the Russian Federation as part of the Sixth Academic Forum of the Free Economy Society in Moscow, where he gave a lecture entitled “Sovereignty as leadership: milestones of the work required”.

According to Belousov, the basis of Russia’s sovereign policy is to agree on common interests between Moscow and its allies, promote joint action, in various technical, scientific and productive fields, provide infrastructure (including digital), bypass the restrictions imposed by “Western hegemony”, and promote joint educational programs.

Belousov believes that Russia’s bet on its position as one of the “secondary leaders” in the economic and technological development of developing countries and partner countries can be enhanced by:

– Non-discriminatory access of partner countries to technological achievements (space communication services, databases for the development of medicines and vaccines, etc.), ensuring that the operation of complex technical products and platforms is not controlled.

– Reset the system of cooperation with industrialized and new countries in industry, opening up new markets for Russia and allowing it to flexibly and effectively bypass sanctions.

– The formation of a payment system for friendly and neutral countries based on the BRICS alliance and the Eurasian Economic Union, which strengthens local currencies and pushes to get rid of the dominance of the dollar.

– Supporting innovators and national expertise to provide alternative technological solutions independent of Western countries.

– Providing technological intermediate solutions in the fields of energy (including nuclear), aviation (future – unmanned), aerospace and others.

– Increase the capital of the traditional and technical education system by attracting students from developing countries.

In general, Belousov’s thought can be summarized as seeking to support the construction of “anti-colonial economy and technology” according to a system in which all partners are equal and there is no place for monopoly, so that development is for all, not just for specific members, which makes the prospects for future cooperation larger, more extensive and flexible, and achieves a fair profit for all.



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