Minister of Defence (Russia)

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Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation
Министр обороны Российской Федерации
Standart of the Russian Minister of Defence.svg
Flag of the Minister of Defence
Official portrait of Sergey Shoigu.jpg
Sergei Shoigu
since 6 November 2012
Flag of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation.svg Ministry of Defence
Style "Comrade Minister of Defence" (military)
"Mr. Minister" (international)
Member of Government, Security Council, CIS Defense Ministers Council
Reports toThe President
Seat Defense Ministry Building, Moscow
Precursor Minister of Defence (Soviet Union)
Formation20 August 1991 (20 August 1991)
First holder Konstantin Kobets
DeputyFirst Deputy Minister of Defence
Website Official website

The Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation (Russian : Министр обороны Российской Федерации) is the minister responsible for the Russian Armed Forces. Marshal of Aviation Yevgeny Shaposhnikov was the last Minister of Defence of the Soviet Union. General Colonel Konstantin Kobets supported then President of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Boris Yeltsin during the August coup of 1991. From 19 August until 9 September 1991, Konstantin Kobets was Defense Minister of the RSFSR, though there was no ministry. [1] This post was then abolished.


The first Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation was Boris Yeltsin, who appointed himself to the position by a decree of mid March 1992. [2]

In May 1992, President of Russia Boris Yeltsin appointed General of the Army Pavel Grachev to the post of Minister of Defence. Grachev's decision to side with Yeltsin in the Russian constitutional crisis of 1993, when the president called up tanks to shell the Russian White House to blast his opponents out of parliament, effectively deprived the Supreme Soviet of Russia of its nominal an opportunity[ clarification needed ] to overturn the president's authority. At least partly for that reason, Yeltsin retained his defence minister despite intense criticism of Grachev's management of the First Chechen War and the Russian military establishment in general. Finally, Yeltsin's victory in the first round of the 1996 Russian presidential election spurred Yeltsin to dismiss Grachev.[ citation needed ]

In March 2001, Sergei Ivanov, previously secretary of the Security Council of Russia, was appointed defence minister by President Vladimir Putin, becoming Russia's first non-uniformed civilian defence minister. [3] Putin called the personnel changes in Russia's security structures coinciding with Ivanov's appointment as defence minister "a step toward demilitarizing public life." Putin also stressed Ivanov's responsibility for overseeing military reform as defence minister. What Putin did not emphasise was Ivanov's long service within the KGB and FSB and his then rank of General-Lieutenant within the FSB. Such military and security agency associated men are known as siloviki.

As of 2002 there were four living Marshals of the Soviet Union. Such men are automatically Advisors to the Defence Minister. The Marshals alive at that time were Viktor Kulikov, Vasily Petrov, Sergei Sokolov, a former Minister of Defence of the Soviet Union, and Dmitri Yazov. Yazov was listed by the American analysts Scott and Scott in 2002 as a consultant to the (former 10th) Directorate for International Military Cooperation. [4]

Perhaps the first 'real' non-uniformed Defence Minister was Anatoliy Serdyukov, appointed in February 2007. Serdyukov was a former Tax Minister with little siloviki or military associations beyond his two years' military service.

List of ministers of defence

  Denotes acting Minister of Defence
Term of officePolitical partyDefence branchGovernment
Took officeLeft officeTime in office
No image.png
Kobets, Konstantin General of the Army
Konstantin Kobets
20 August 19919 September 199120 days CPSU Flag of the Russian ground forces.svg  Russian Ground Forces Silaev II
Between 9 September 1991 and 7 May 1992 the Russian Federation de jure did not have its own Minister of Defence. During this period its armed forces were under control of Minister of Defence of the Soviet Union Yevgeny Shaposhnikov.
Yeltsin 1993 cropped.jpg
Yeltsin, Boris Colonel
Boris Yeltsin
16 March 199218 May 199263 days Independent None Yeltsin & Gaidar
Grachev, Pavel General of the Army
Pavel Grachev
18 May 199218 June 19964 years, 31 days Independent Flag of the Russian ground forces.svg  Russian Ground Forces Yeltsin & Gaidar
Chernomyrdin I
Mikhail Kolesnikov 4.jpg
Kolesnikov, Mikhail General of the Army
Mikhail Kolesnikov
18 June 199617 July 199629 days Independent Flag of the Russian ground forces.svg  Russian Ground Forces Chernomyrdin I
Igor Rodionov.jpg
Rodionov, IgorGeneral of the Army in reserve
Igor Rodionov
17 July 199622 May 1997309 days Independent Flag of the Russian ground forces.svg  Russian Ground Forces Chernomyrdin III
Sergeyev, Igor Marshal of the Russian Federation
Igor Sergeyev
22 May 199728 March 20013 years, 310 days Independent Flag of the Russian ground forces.svg  Russian Ground Forces Chernomyrdin II
Putin I
Sergei Ivanov on Victory Day Parade 9 May 2015.jpg
Ivanov, Sergei FSB Colonel General in reserve
Sergei Ivanov
(born 1953)
28 March 200115 February 20075 years, 324 days United Russia Flag of Federal security service.svg Federal Security Service Kasyanov
Fradkov III
Serdyukov, Anatoliy Colonel in reserve
Anatoliy Serdyukov
(born 1962)
15 February 20076 November 20125 years, 265 days United Russia Flag of the Russian ground forces.svg  Russian Ground Forces Fradkov II
Putin II
Medvedev I
Official portrait of Sergey Shoigu.jpg
Shoigu, Sergei General of the Army
Sergei Shoigu
(born 1955)
6 November 2012Incumbent10 years, 346 days United Russia Flag of the Russian Ministry of Extraordinary Situations.svg Ministry of Emergency Situations Medvedev III

Former first deputy ministers of defence

Former deputy ministers of defence

See also

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  1. Vladimir Orlov, Roland Timerbaev, and Anton Khlopkov, Nuclear Nonproliferation in U.S.-Russian Relations: Challenges and opportunities, PIR Library Series, 2002, p. 24. Accessed at "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2010-06-07.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) 7 June 2010.
  2. William Eldridge Odom, 'The Collapse of the Soviet Military,' Yale University Press, 1998, ISBN   0-300-08271-1, p. 385.
  3. Peter Finn, Russian Leader Expands Powers of a Possible Successor Archived 2017-10-18 at the Wayback Machine , Washington Post, 16 February 2007.
  4. Harriet F. Scott and William Scott, Russian Military Directory 2002, p. 341, citing DS2002-0802.