Russian Defense Minister Visits to Iran and India: Continued Rotation to the East

Prof. Alexander A. KORNILOV
01 February 2015
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The Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu recent visits to Iran and India attracted much attention and estimates from international relations commentators and defense analysts. And this close attention was indeed explainable. First, person of the Minister is a quite remarkable because Shoigu is considered to be a close associate of President Putin. Russian President has trusted Shoigu for many years and it is not wonderful that some Internet writers continue to hint and mention the Defense Minister as a possible successor to Putin. Any political moves and statements by Shoigu respectively look as moves and declarations of Kremlin head and his administration. It also can be said that the Shoigu visits, talks and public speeches have a strong political message to foreign partners and opponents. Second, visits of Defense head of Russia can show what countries could be the next large market of Russian arms sales and area for military cooperation.

 

Third consideration is that geography of the Minister visits also deserves an understanding. It demonstrates what political vector of the Russian defense policy is anticipated to prevail in years to come. And fourth, Shoigu belongs to the so-called “siloviki” (men of security services and defense agencies) faction in the Russian decision-making process. It is Shoigu - and not so-called “liberals” that support exclusively Western-oriented anti-crisis economic programs – who has decided to make a tour and look for new arms markets in the East.      

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