Sergei Shoigu

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Sergei Shoigu
Сергей Шойгу
Official portrait of Sergey Shoigu.jpg
Official portrait, 2014
Minister of Defence
Assumed office
6 November 2012
PresidentVladimir Putin
Prime Minister
Preceded byAnatoliy Serdyukov
Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Defense of the CIS
Assumed office
11 December 2012
Preceded byAnatoliy Serdyukov
Governor of Moscow Oblast
In office
11 May 2012 – 6 November 2012
DeputyRuslan Tsalikov
Preceded byBoris Gromov
Succeeded byRuslan Tsalikov (acting)
Leader of United Russia
In office
1 December 2001 – 27 November 2004
Preceded byParty established
Succeeded byBoris Gryzlov
Deputy Prime Minister of Russia
In office
10 January 2000 – 18 May 2000
Prime MinisterVladimir Putin
Mikhail Kasyanov (acting)
Leader of Unity
In office
15 October 1999 – 1 December 2001
Minister of Emergency Situations
In office
17 April 1991 – 11 May 2012
Prime Minister
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byVladimir Puchkov
Personal details
Sergei Kuzhugetovich Shoigu

(1955-05-21) 21 May 1955 (age 66)
Chadan, Tuvan Autonomous Oblast, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Political partyCommunist Party of the Soviet Union (1977–1991)
Independent (1991–1995)
Our Home-Russia (1995–1999)
Unity (1999–2001)
United Russia (2001–present)
Spouse(s)Irina Shoigu
ChildrenYulia Shoigu
Kseniya Shoigu
Alma materKrasnoyarsk Polytechnical Institute
AwardsHero of the Russian Federation
Order of St. Andrew (with swords)
Military service
Branch/serviceMilitary Council of the Civil Defence Troops
Years of service1991–present
RankGeneral of the Army

Sergei Kuzhugetovich Shoigu[1][a][b] (Russian: Сергей Кужугетович Шойгу; born 21 May 1955) is a Russian politician and army general who has served as the minister of defence of Russia since 2012. Shoigu has served as the chairman of the Council of Ministers of Defense of the Commonwealth of Independent States since 2012.[3][4]

Shoigu was the minister of emergency situations from 1991 to 2012. He briefly served as the governor of Moscow Oblast in 2012. A close confidant and ally of Vladimir Putin, Shoigu belongs to the siloviki of Putin's inner circle.[5][6]

Early life and education

Shoigu was born on 21 May 1955 in Chadan, Tuvan Autonomous Oblast to an ethnic Tuvan father, Kuzhuget Shoigu[c] (1921–2010) and a Ukrainian-born Russian mother, Alexandra Yakovlevna Shoigu (1924–2011), who was a member of the Tuva Regional Council of People's Deputies. He graduated from School No. 1 of Kyzyl city in the Tuvan ASSR.[7]

In 1977, Shoigu graduated from the Krasnoyarsk Polytechnic Institute with a degree in civil engineering. Following graduation in 1977, Shoigu worked in construction projects nationwide for the next decade, advancing from low levels to become an executive. In 1988, Shoigu became a minor functionary in the Abakan branch of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and then in the Komsomol for a few years. In 1990, Shoigu moved to Moscow from Siberia, and was appointed Deputy Chief of State Architecture and Construction Committee of the Russian Federation.[8]

Minister of Emergency Situations (1991–2012)

In 1991, he was appointed the head of Rescuer Corps. This was later given more responsibilities and renamed as the State Committee on Emergencies, and later to the Ministry of Emergency Situations, making Shoigu a government minister. He became popular because of his hands-on management style and high visibility during emergency situations, such as floods, earthquakes and acts of terrorism[citation needed].

In 1999 he became one of the leaders of the Russian pro-government party Unity. He was awarded Russia's most prestigious state award – Hero of the Russian Federation – in 1999.

Governor of Moscow Oblast (2012)

In March 2012, Shoigu was announced as one of the potential candidates for the Governor of Moscow Oblast.[9] On 5 April 2012, he was elected by Moscow Oblast Duma (legislature) as the 3rd Governor of Moscow Oblast, and took office on 11 May 2012.[10]

Minister of Defence (2012–present)

Shoigu with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, October 2017

On 6 November 2012, Shoigu was appointed Minister of Defence by Putin. According to expert Sergey Smirnov, the so called "Petersburg group" of siloviki (Sergei Ivanov, Sergey Chemezov and Viktor Ivanov) had wanted one of its associates to succeed Anatoliy Serdyukov, but Putin was reluctant to strengthen the clan and opted for the neutral Shoigu.[11]

In November 2012, Shoigu decided to resurrect the tradition of Suvorov and Nakhimov cadets participating in the 9 May parade. In July 2013 Shoigu ordered commanders to begin every morning in the barracks with a rendition of the Russian anthem, to compile an obligatory military-patriotic book reading list and take the preparation of demob albums under their control.[12] In August that year he ordered to dress all Defense Ministry civilian workers, other staff and management employees in so-called "office suits".[13]

In February 2014, Shoigu said Russia was planning to sign agreements with Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, the Seychelles, Singapore, and several other countries either to house permanent military bases and/or to house airplane refueling stations in those countries.[14] Since then, only an agreement with Vietnam has been effectively signed.[15]

In July 2014, Ukraine opened a criminal case against Shoigu. He was accused of helping to form "illegal military groups" in Eastern Ukraine who at the time fought against the Ukrainian army.[16]

On 30 September 2015, Russia began a military operation in Syria. The operation was carried out by the Russian Aerospace Forces, with the support of the Russian Navy.

Shoigu was reappointed as defence minister in 2018 (in the Medvedev second government) and in 2020 (in the Mishustin government).

Shoigu holds a meeting with U.S. National Security Advisor John R. Bolton in Moscow in October 2018
Sergei Shoigu, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov at the Center-2019 military exercises. Orenburg Oblast, 2019

As defence minister, Shoigu on multiple occasions accompanied Putin during weekend breaks that the pair would spend at undisclosed locations in the Siberian countryside.[17]

On 11 February 2022, Shoigu met UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace. Shoigu denied that Russia was planning an invasion of Ukraine.[18]

On 24 February 2022, Russia launched a large-scale military invasion of Ukraine.[19] Shoigu said the purpose of the invasion "is to protect the Russian Federation from the military threat posed by Western countries, who are trying to use the Ukrainian people in the fight against our country."[20]

On 13 May, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin initiated a telephone conversation with Shoigu, the first call since 18 February. The call lasted about an hour with Austin urging an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine.[21][22]


On 23 February 2022, the European Union considered Shoigu responsible for actively supporting and implementing actions and policies that undermine and threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine as well as the stability or security in Ukraine. Therefore the European Union added Shoigu to the list of natural and legal persons, entities and bodies set out in Annex I to Regulation (EU) No 269/2014.[23]

On 25 February 2022, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the United States added Shoigu to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List.[24]

Personal life

According to The Siberian Times, Shoigu is known to speak eight languages other than Russian fluently, including English, Japanese, Chinese, Tuvan, and Turkish.[25][26]


Sergei Shoigu was born to Kuzhuget Sereevich Shoigu (1921–2010 and Alexandra Yakovlevna Shoigu (née Kudryavtseva, 1924–2011).[27] His father was born Shoigu Seree oglu Kuzhuget. His name order was changed because of a passport error, according to the Tuva official line. More likely, he Russified the name from the Turkic oglu "son of...")[citation needed] . Kuzhuget was an editor of a regional newspaper. He later worked in the Communist Party and for the Soviet authorities. He was the secretary of the Tuva Party Committee. He retired with the rank of first deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Tuva ASSR.[28]

Shoigu's father led the Tuvan State Archives. He spent six years as the editor of the newspaper Pravda. He wrote the novels Time and People, Feather of the Black Vulture (2001), Tannu Tuva: the Country of Lakes and Blue Rivers (2004).[29]

Shoigu's mother Alexandra was born in the village of Yakovlev in the Oryol Oblast. From there, shortly before the war, her family moved to Kadievka (now Stakhanov) in the Luhansk Oblast, Ukraine. A zootechnician, Alexandra was an Honored Worker of Agriculture of the Republic of Tuva. From 1979 she was the head of the Planning Department of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic. She was repeatedly elected deputy of the Supreme Soviet (parliament) of the Tuva ASSR.[30] Sergei's great uncle, Seren Kuzhuget, was the commander of the Tuvan People's Revolutionary Army from 1929 to 1938.[31]

Sergei has two sisters, Larisa Kuzhugetovna Shoigu (1953–2021[32]), who was deputy of the State Duma, and Irina Zakharova (1960–), a psychiatrist.[33]

Shoigu married Irina Alexandrovna Shoigu (née Antipina). She is president of the business tourism company Expo-EM. They have two daughters, Yulia[34] (1977) and Ksenia (1991).[33] According to Alexei Navalny, Ksenia is suspected to be a figurehead of her father in the ownership of a palace in the outskirts of Moscow, valued at about £12 million. In 2012, the estate was transferred to the formal ownership of Yelena Antipina.[35] Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ksenia posted a video on social media of her daughter and herself wearing the colours of the Ukrainian flag.[36]


Shoigu, during a holiday in Tuva with Putin in August 2017

Shoigu enjoys studying the history of Russia, especially Peter the Great's time and the era between 1812 and 1825 (which includes the French invasion of Russia and the Decembrist revolt).[37]

Shoigu is fond of sports and is a fan of the CSKA Moscow hockey team. He enjoys football and is a fan of Spartak Moscow. In March 2016, together with Sergey Lavrov, Shoigu presented the Russia People's Soccer League, with aims to unite fans of the sport from all over Russia.

Shoigu collects Indian, Chinese, and Japanese swords and daggers. He enjoys bard songs and plays the guitar. He does water color paintings and graphics. He enjoys collecting old pieces of wood, some of which he has shown to Putin.[38][39][40]


Shoigu stated in 2008 that he was baptized in the Russian Orthodox Church at the age of five.[41]



  1. ^ Also transliterated as Shoygu; Russian: Сергей Кужугетович Шойгу, IPA: [sʲɪrˈɡʲej kʊʐʊˈɡʲetəvʲɪtɕ ʂɐjˈɡu]; Tuvan: Сергей Күжүгет оглу Шойгу, romanized: Sergey Kyzhyget oglu Shoygu, IPA: [siɾˈɡɛj kyʒyˈɣɛt ɔˈɣlu ʃɔjˈɣu].
  2. ^ The correct name should be Sergei Shoiguevich Kuzhuget as the Soviet official swapped the name of his father, Shoigu Kuzhuget to Kuzhuget Shoigu.[2]
  3. ^ Born Shoigu Kuzhuget, the Soviet officials swapped the name and surname.[2]


  1. ^ "Sergei Shoigu : Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation". Retrieved 13 February 2022.
  2. ^ a b Sher, Max (26 February 2021). "A Journey to the Center of Asia".
  3. ^ Seibt, Sébastian (4 March 2022). "Shoigu and Gerasimov: Masters of Putin's wars". France 24. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  4. ^ Kirby, Paul (3 March 2022). "Ukraine conflict: Who's in Putin's inner circle and running the war?". BBC News. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  5. ^ Seibt, Sébastian (4 March 2022). "Shoigu and Gerasimov: Masters of Putin's wars". France 24. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  6. ^ Kirby, Paul (3 March 2022). "Ukraine conflict: Who's in Putin's inner circle and running the war?". BBC News. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  7. ^ "Первой школе Кызыла - 95 лет" [The first school of Kyzyl is 95 years old]. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  8. ^ 0divider. "Сергей Шойгу · Биография" [Sergei Shoigu Biography]. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  9. ^ Shoigu Tipped as Next Moscow Region Governor, The Moscow Times.
  10. ^ "Murmansk Governor Out, New Moscow Region Governor In - News". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  11. ^ "Министр обороны Сергей Шойгу на новом посту рискует растерять свой высокий рейтинг" [Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu risks losing his high rating in his new post]. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  12. ^ "Ъ-Огонек - Новая летопись военного строительства" [Kommersant-Spark - New chronicle of military construction]. Коммерсантъ. 2 September 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  13. ^ Golts on Shoygu's Tenure (Part II), September 2014, Russian Defense Policy Blog.
  14. ^ "Russia Seeks Several Military Bases Abroad – Defense Minister". 26 February 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  15. ^ David Brunnstrom (8 March 2015). "U.S. asks Vietnam to stop helping Russian bomber flights". Reuters. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  16. ^ "Ukraine calls businessman and Russian defense minister 'accomplices of terrorists'". 22 July 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  17. ^ Trip to Siberian Federal District, 21 March 2021.
  18. ^ "UK urges Russian action to back up denial it plans to invade Ukraine". Reuters. 11 February 2022.
  19. ^ "Russia's Military Chief Promised Quick Victory in Ukraine, but Now Faces a Potential Quagmire". The Wall Street Journal. 6 March 2022.
  20. ^ "Russia's Ukraine Offensive Aims to Defend from 'Western Threat,' Defense Minister Says". The Moscow Times. 1 March 2022.
  21. ^ Mitchell, Ellen (13 May 2022). "Austin speaks with Russian counterpart for first time since start of war in Ukraine". The Hill. Washington DC. Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  22. ^ "Readout of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III's Call With Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu". Department of Defense. 13 May 2022. Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  23. ^ "EUR-Lex - L:2022:042I:TOC - EN - EUR-Lex".
  24. ^ "Russia-related Designations". U.S. Department of the Treasury.
  25. ^ "Rare pictures show Defence Minister relaxing with one of his many hobbies". Siberian Times.
  26. ^ Rauhala, Emily; Westfall, Sammy; Parker, Claire (23 February 2022). "Who are some of the prominent Russians facing international sanctions?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  27. ^ "Государственный деятель Тувы Кужугет Шойгу похоронен в Москве" [State figure of Tuva Kuzhuget Shoigu is buried in Moscow]. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  28. ^ "Государственный деятель Тувы Кужугет Шойгу похоронен в Москве" [State figure of Tuva Kuzhuget Shoigu is buried in Moscow]. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  29. ^ "Государственный деятель Тувы Кужугет Шойгу похоронен в Москве" [State figure of Tuva Kuzhuget Shoigu is buried in Moscow]. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  30. ^ "Мать Сергея Шойгу стала заслуженным работником сельского хозяйства Тувы" [Sergei Shoigu's mother became an honored worker of agriculture in Tuva]. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  31. ^ "Yesterday's gone 'Meduza' correspondent Andrey Pertsev reviews Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu's new book". Retrieved 13 February 2022.
  32. ^ "Умерла депутат Госдумы Лариса Шойгу, сестра министра обороны России" [State Duma Deputy Larisa Shoigu, sister of Russian Defense Minister, dies]. (in Russian). Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  33. ^ a b "Высокопоставленные родственники. Полпреды" [high-ranking relatives. Plenipotentiaries]. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  34. ^ "Родня во власти" [Family in power]. 24 September 2007. p. 30. Retrieved 25 December 2016 – via Kommersant.
  35. ^ "Russia's defence minister 'secretly builds £12 million palace', say campaigners". The Daily Telegraph. 29 October 2015. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  36. ^ Parker, Charlie (23 March 2022). "Russian commander Alexei Sharov killed in Mariupol is 15 top brass loss". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Archived from the original on 23 March 2022. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  37. ^ "Шойгу Сергей Кужугетович" [Shoigu Sergey Kuzhugetovich]. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  38. ^ "Константин Ремчуков: Герой России Сергей Шойгу" [Konstantin Remchukov: Hero of Russia Sergei Shoigu]. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  39. ^ "Тайна шкатулки губернатора" [Governor's Box Mystery]. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  40. ^ @marcbennetts1 (21 March 2021). "Sergei Shoigu, Russia's defence..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  41. ^ Nechepurenko, Ivan (21 May 2015). "Shoigu at 60: The Man Who Would Be Russia's King?".
  42. ^ "Министр обороны РФ Сергей Шойгу получил знак почётного гражданина Тульской области : Министерство обороны Российской Федерации" [Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu received the badge of an honorary citizen of the Tula region : Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation]. xn--80ahclcogc6ci4h.xn--90anlfbebar6i.xn--p1ai. Retrieved 13 February 2022.
  43. ^ "President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev receives Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Sergei Shoigu — Official site of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan". Retrieved 31 October 2020.
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External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Position established
Minister of Emergency Situations
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of Moscow Oblast
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Defence
Party political offices
New office Leader of United Russia
Succeeded by