Destinations Magazine

Master of Emergencies

By Stizzard
Master of emergencies

ON VLADIMIR PUTIN’S birthday in October, his defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, brought him a gift: the latest briefing on Russia’s military campaign in Syria. It included news that cruise missiles fired from the Caspian Sea had struck targets nearly 1,500km away. “We know how complicated such operations are,” Mr Putin replied approvingly. That evening the pair celebrated by playing an ice-hockey match with their amateur club. Mr Putin knocked in seven goals, and Mr Shoigu scored one for good measure. Their team won handily.

Since Mr Shoigu took over the defence ministry in late 2012, his partnership with Mr Putin has flourished off the ice, too. The Russian armed forces have emerged as the primary instrument of Mr Putin’s foreign policy. In Crimea and eastern Ukraine, along the edges of NATO airspace and now in Syria, Russia has projected power with newfound effectiveness. Under Mr Shoigu, Russia’s armed forces have “demonstrated a capability and organisation and logistics skill-set that we have not seen before,” says Evelyn Farkas, who was until…

The Economist: Europe

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