ChrisO_wiki Profile picture
May 28 33 tweets 9 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1/ Sergei Shoigu's chestful of medals has been highlighted by @rshereme, who points out that the Russian Defence Minister has never served in the military despite his uniform and decorations. But the full story is both ridiculous and revealing. ⬇️
2/ Shoigu, as Roman notes, is a civilian – he was originally Boris Yeltsin's Minister of Emergency Situations (equivalent in US terms to the head of FEMA), appointed way back in April 1991. He served in that role until Putin made him Defence Minister in May 2012. Image
3/ A native Tuvan (his ethnicity is an important consideration), Shoigu is the longest-serving Russian defence minister since Count Dmitry Milyutin (1861-1881). His corruption and incompetence have been criticised for having catastrophic effects on the Russian armed forces.
4/ Nonetheless, Putin likely sees Shoigu as an ideal defence minister: as a non-ethnic Russian he's effectively disqualified from the top job, he depends entirely on Putin for patronage and protection (his 'krysha'), and he is slavishly loyal to Putin. Image
5/ So what are all those medals doing on his chest? In short, many of them aren't military medals at all. Shoigu has spent his time inventing or re-establishing literally hundreds of decorations, some of them for nothing more than having attended a parade.
6/ Let's break down the medals that Shoigu likes to wear to the annual military parade to commemorate the end of the Great Patriotic War. Image
7/ Left to right:

- Shield of the "Honoured Rescue Worker of the Russian Federation"

- Badge of a graduate of the Russian Academy of Public Administration under the President

- Badge commemorating "200 years of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation" Image
8/ - Order for Merit to the Fatherland, 2nd Class

- Gold Star Medal for the honorary title of Hero of the Russian Federation Image
9/ Top row, left to right:

- Order of Alexander Nevsky
- Order of Honour
- Order "For Personal Courage"
- Medal "Defender of Free Russia"
- Medal "In memory of the 850th anniversary of Moscow" Image
10/ Bottom row, from left to right:

- Medal "For services in conducting the All-Russian Population Census"
- Medal "In memory of the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg"
- Medal "In memory of the 1000th anniversary of Kazan"
11/ - Medal "200 years of the Ministry of Defence"
- Medal "For the return of Crimea"
- Medal "Participant of the military operation in Syria"
- Order of St. Andrew the First-Called
- Star of the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 2nd Class
12/ In addition, not displayed here, Shoigu has at least 23 other Russian and foreign medals. They include:

- Three Medals "For Strengthening Military Cooperation"
- Medal "For Diligence in Engineering Tasks"
- Medal of Great Awareness in Geo-political Affairs [ironic!]
13/ - Medal "200 Years of the Ministry of Internal Affairs"
- Medal "For Merit of the Stavropol Territory"
- Order of Rightitude (for services to being correct on the territory of the Russian Federation)
- Order of Merit of the Altai Territory
14/ - Honorary Citizen of the Kemerov Oblast
- Honorary Citizen of the Tula Oblast

He has also been issued medals by Abkhazia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malta, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Serbia, South Ossetia, Syria and Vietnam.
15/ The Ministry of Defence awards 113 different medals, of which at least 66 were established by Shoigu and another 15 re-established by him. It also has hundreds more ribbons and insignia, in total more than 400, of which over two-thirds were created by Shoigu.
16/ Shoigu's profligacy with awards was also evident when he ran the Ministry of Emergency Situations, during which he created more than 40 medals and insignia. Image
17/ The Russian MOD's medals and decorations include awards for remarkably trivial achievements, such as attending parades. Remarkably, there's even a special award for "Participants and guests of the parade". Image
18/ Participants in Russia's Tank Biathlon also get medals, as do those awarded "For excellent graduation from a military educational institution of higher professional education of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation". 'Field bankers' get their own special medal.
19/ Some more recently established medals include these (shown here left to right):

- "For the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic"
- "For contributing to congress and exhibition activities"
- "100 years of military trade"
- "For participation in the Main Naval Parade" Image
20/ - "For participation in the military parade in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945."
21/ There are many "For Service" medals, such as:

"5 years in military service"
"For service in the Strategic Missile Forces"
"For service in the Railway Troops"
"For service in the Aerospace Forces"
"For Service in the Surface Forces"
"For Service in the Submarine Forces"
22/ Add to that the "For Merit" medals, such as:

"For Naval Merit in the Arctic"
"For Merit in Perpetuating the Memory of the Fallen Defenders of the Fatherland"
"For Merit in Ensuring Law and Order"
"For Merit in Ensuring Flight Safety"
23/ The GRU (Russian military intelligence / special forces) gets its own unique medal, "For Merit in Special Activities", while nuclear forces get a medal tastefully decorated with a picture of a nuclear explosion.
24/ Shoigu's medal "For the return of Crimea" has an interesting story. Its existence was denied until 2018, when Shoigu first wore in it public. The medal dates the start of the operation to seize Crimea as "20.02.14" – while Viktor Yanukovych was still the president of Ukraine. Image
25/ Russian investigative journalists discovered that the contract for the medals was advertised as early as December 2013, only a month after the Euromaidan protests began in Kyiv, and were concluded on 13 January 2014, with Mosshtamp Plant LLC awarded the contract. ImageImage
26/ This suggests that Russia was planning to seize Crimea well before Yanukovych was deposed on 22 February, and probably intended to seize it whatever the outcome of the protests and the 'referendum'. Russian propaganda had claimed Crimean was Russian since as early as 2001.
27/ The Russian MOD issues medals and awards in huge quantities. At least 212,750 medals and 32,000 other insignia were awarded in the first half of 2015. By 2018, at least 573,000 medals and 45,000 other awards were given out.
28/ When Russia held its massive Vostok-2018 exercise involving troops from Russia, China and Mongolia in September 2018, 339,566 medals were awarded to the participants at a cost of almost 77 million rubles ($975,000) – as much as a T-72 tank. The Chinese didn't reciprocate.
29/ Military medals have been given to some surprising recipents. The actor Vasily Lanovoy and nationalist singer Oleg Gazmanov were both awarded the medal "In Memory of the Heroes of the Fatherland". The latter also received the medal "For strengthening the military community." ImageImage
30/ Oleg Gazmanov, entertainer Vladimir Vinokur and pop singer Zara all received a medal for being a "Participant of the military operation in Syria", presumably relating to their cultural work in support of Russian forces in Syria. ImageImage
31/ Improbably, the conductor Valery Gergiev, cellist Sergei Roldugin and violinist Andrei Tian were also awarded medals for the liberation of Palmyra. Medals have also gone to children from the Nakhimov Naval Schools and Young Army Cadets National Movement.
32/ The story of Shoigu's medal-mania is in many ways symbolic of what has happened to the Russian military as a whole: an emphasis on costly display and symbolism at the expense of actual military efficiency and integrity. /end

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with ChrisO_wiki

ChrisO_wiki Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @ChrisO_wiki

May 28
1/ While the miseries of mobilised Russians in the front line in Ukraine have been well documented, a large number of mobiks are also serving in rear areas. Their existence has been uneventful, even boring, to the point that some yearn to go to the front to see some action. ⬇️ Image
2/ North.Realities (an offshoot of Radio Free Europe) tells the story of Alexander, a 24-year-old chef from St Petersburg who was mobilised in September 2022. He did not try to evade mobilisation, as "I don't as want to go to prison for eight years or more either."
3/ "So it seems like you are a hero, defending your country, but otherwise you are a deserter and a bastard"
Read 16 tweets
May 27
1/ The Russian Army is holding public show trials of soldiers accused of refusing to fight in Ukraine. Soldiers in Vladikavkaz and Yekaterinburg have been given lengthy sentences after being tried in front of their comrades by military courts. ⬇️ ImageImage
2/ The ASTRA and VChK-OGPU Telegram channels report that garrison courts in Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia and Yekaterinburg in the Urals have held show trials for three soldiers who have been accused of offences relating to unauthorised absence from service.
3/ The first trial to be reported was that of Artem Kopyl, who was tried at Vladikavkaz on 14 May for unauthorised absence from his place of service and failure to report for duty during mobilisation without a valid reason. He was sentenced to six years in a penal colony.
Read 8 tweets
May 26
1/ Rosgvardiya (Russian National Guard) personnel who were wounded by Ukrainian shelling at the start of the war are being denied compensation because the Russian authorities say they can't prove a link between their injuries and their war service. ⬇️
2/ The independent Russian news website Dovod ('Argument') reports that a military court in Vladimir has ruled against three Rosgvardiya personnel – Vadim Nosov, Ivan Tezikov and Vagif Vidadi-oglu Abdullayev – in their claim for compensation.
3/ The three entered Ukraine "to perform special tasks" on 24 February 2022, the first day of the invasion, as part of of the Nevsky OMON (riot police) of the Rosgvardiya Directorate for the Vladimir Region. They were injured by Ukrainian mortar fire on 3 March.
Read 12 tweets
May 26
1/ Russia's State Duma is planning to adopt a law to punish pet owners who abandon their pets at the airport. In the latest such incident, a Sphynx cat was left in a sealed bag by a trash can when its owners were told they couldn't bring it on the aircraft. ⬇️ Image
2/ The Russian news website Podyom ('Get up') reports on a spate of cases of pet owners literally throwing away their pets when they were told they needed to fly them in a specialised animal carrier. Animal-loving Duma deputies want to fine and ban culprits from flying.
3/ Today (26 May), Podyom reports, "at Koltsovo airport [in Yekaterinburg], a couple of passengers abandoned a Sphynx cat due to the lack of a special carrier. The pet was going to be carried in an ordinary backpack.
Read 8 tweets
May 26
1/ Russian space and rocket engineers are being recruited to join a new Russian army battalion called Uranus to fight in Ukraine. Advertisements published by Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, promise that it will "educate you with a strong spirit, will and body." ⬇️ Image
2/ The advertisement shown above has been posted on the internal website of Roscosmos, according to the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel. It asks physically qualified men aged up to 48 years old to sign a contract for military service with the Uranus battalion.
3/ Joiners are offered:

🔺 A 100,000 ruble ($1,257) joining bonus
🔺 Monthly payments of 100,000 rubles from the battalion
🔺 Monthly payments of at least 170,000 rubles ($2,137) from the Russian government
Read 8 tweets
May 26
1/ Corrupt Russian officers are said to be allowing mobilised soldiers to stay at home in Russia, in exchange for half of the soldiers' salaries. Several such 'sitting soldiers' have been denounced by Svetlana Chvanova, a pro-war Russian activist. ⬇️
2/ Chvanova is the head of a 'humanitarian aid' group for mobilised soldiers from the Vladimir region. She has alleged that some local soldiers are avoiding going to the front. She says they "receive a [monthly] salary of 200,000 rubles [$2,300], sit at home and get drunk".
3/ Chvanova has denounced two of them to the military police. One of them is the husband of a fellow activist. She says he "doesn't fight, sits at home and drinks, while his salary [goes to him]."
Read 7 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!