NEWSWATCH: “Backed by Putin, Russian Military Pushes Into Foreign Policy” – Reuters

Sergei Shoigu file photo

“From Damascus to Doha … Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has been showing up in unexpected places, a sign of the military’s growing influence under … Putin. … at times wearing his desert military uniform, Shoigu has held talks with Syria’s president in Damascus, met Israel’s prime minister in Jerusalem and been received by the Emir of Qatar in Doha. The defense ministry’s forays into areas long regarded as the preserve of the foreign ministry are raising eyebrows in Russia, where strict protocol means ministers usually hold talks only with their direct foreign counterparts. …. The military’s influence in domestic policy-making has expanded too … with Putin seeking its views on everything from the digital economy to food security. …”

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[featured image is file photo from different occasion, and earlier point in time]