The Verkhovna Rada appointed Rustem Umerov as Minister of Defense of Ukraine. Deputies voted for the corresponding decision at a meeting on September 6. 338 deputies voted for the corresponding decision.
At the same time, as MP Yaroslav Zheleznyak noted, the appointment of a new defense minister, whose candidacy the president proposed to parliament, took place without the presence of Vladimir Zelensky in the Rada. At the same time, the decision was supported by all parliamentary factions.
For the last year, since September 7, 2022, Umerov headed the State Property Fund of Ukraine, and before that, since 2019, he was a deputy of the Verkhovna Rada from the “Voice” party.
During his leadership, the SPF carried out some kind of organizational reform in its structure, after which it was stated that “due to changes in legislation, the Fund is working independently for the first time in the history of Ukraine.”
As Yulia Samaeva notes in her article “Wished Resignations and Unacceptable Appointments,” Umerov’s current achievements in the State Property Fund are rather the achievement of his predecessors, and not of himself.
“The fund should try to reduce the debt burden, remove encumbrances on property, and collect debts from counterparties (which is 40% of the company’s book value), but Rustem Umerov professes other approaches. Wise people usually say about such people: “Knock-knock to get out of hands,” the author writes about his leadership of the State Property Fund.
He also noted that at the start of negotiations on a grain agreement, he would sell all Ukrainian grain to Turkey.
Before the SPFU, from July 2022, Umerov was the Chairman of the Temporary Commission of Inquiry on the issues of monitoring the receipt and use of international logistical assistance during martial law.
In February 2022, he was part of the Ukrainian delegation to participate in negotiations with the Russian Federation on the preparation and approval of a draft agreement on security guarantees for Ukraine. Umerov also dealt with issues of exchanges of prisoners of war, political prisoners, children and civilians, as well as the evacuation of civilians from temporarily occupied territories.
Rustem Umerov was born in 1982 in the city of Bulungur, Samarkand region of the Uzbek SSR, into a family of immigrants from Alushta. His family returned to Crimea in the late 1980s.
He studied at the Crimean boarding school for gifted children of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Then he studied at National Technical University “KPI” with a degree in “computer science and information technology”, and also received a bachelor’s degree in “economics” and a master’s degree in “finance” at the National Academy of Management.
Married and has two children.
He began his career at lifecell, where he held various management positions from 2004 to 2010.
From 2010 to 2013, he was president of the charitable organization Crimea Development Fund.
In 2013, together with his brother Aslan, Omer Kirimli founded the investment company ASTEM and the charitable foundation ASTEM Foundation. The company manages investments in the areas of communications, information technology and infrastructure.
In 2017, Rustem Umerov contributed to the release of two Kremlin political prisoners – Crimean Tatars Akhtem Chiygoz and Ilmi Umerov.
Since 2020, as a deputy, he was part of the group for the development of the state strategy for the de-occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol under the National Security and Defense Council.
Journalist Yuri Butusov said that Umerov is “a man far from war” and believes that he, like his predecessors, is being promoted by the head of the presidential office, Andrei Ermak, and Umerov will need precious time to gain ministerial experience.
The head of the Anti-Corruption Center, Vitaly Shabunin, considers the appointment of Umerov as Minister of Defense “the best decision of the president”, since he “slammed down the flow of corruption” in the State Property Fund.
Let us recall that the resignation of Alexey Reznikov was initiated by President Vladimir Zelensky after another scandal about corruption in procurement for the army during the war. In a recent investigation, “Good and bad news about corruption in the Ministry of Defense,” Yuriy Nikolov and Vitaly Kononuchenko said that in the fall of 2022, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense purchased jackets and helmets for the Armed Forces of Ukraine at a triple price. At the same time, instead of winter clothes, summer clothes entered the country. The minister officially denies this information and even offered a bet to journalists.