Putin rips deputy trade minister for ‘fooling around’ with military hardware

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin harshly reprimanded one of his deputy prime ministers, accusing him of not keeping up with orders for military equipment amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.

At the first Kremlin meeting of the year, Putin addressed Denis Manturov, Russia’s Minister of Industry and Trade, expressing concern that manufacturers “still have no order” for military and civilian vehicles and aircraft this month.

“Long, too long,” Putin said, according to the meeting transcript. “Please, I’m asking you to expedite this work. Companies don’t have contracts for 2023, you know, what can I say.

Manturov said he was working quickly to fulfill the orders, but Putin replied that the equipment orders had been drafted but not submitted.

“What are you really doing, playing crazy? When will the contracts be?” Putin said, appearing visibly agitated in the video. there are no contracts. And you have “done everything”.

Putin demanded that Manturov fill the orders within a month before turning to another matter.

Military equipment is crucial to Russia’s war effort in Ukraine, where Moscow has suffered heavy losses and faced numerous setbacks since invading the country in February.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian media Tass that Putin had no serious problems with Manturov and that the reprimand was part of the “usual working process”.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said the dispute was part of a Russian information operation aimed at “elevating Putin’s image as a leader involved in wartime”.

“The Kremlin could have deleted the disagreement from its official transcript, but chose to make Putin’s harsh response public,” the ISW said, “perhaps to identify other officials within the Kremlin as the culprits of the challenges of the Russian defense industrial base and possibly to threaten other officials.”

The ISW said Putin may also try to appease Russian military bloggers, who have criticized Moscow’s lack of advanced equipment during the war in Ukraine and the inability of the defense industrial base to cope with the ‘war effort.

Manturov was appointed minister of industry and trade in May.

He has an aviation background and has worked in the Russian government’s industry and trade department since 2008.

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