Thursday, October 12, 2023

Shoigu’s Last Name was His Ancestor’s First Before Soviet Officials Decided Otherwise

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 10 – There are many ways that members of nations have acquired last names, something many of them did not have until recently. One of the more intriguing cases is that of Sergey Shoigu, Russia’s defense minister, whose last name was the first name of his ancestors before Soviet officials intervened.

            One of them, Shoigu Kuzhuget, a prominent communist journal in Tuva in the years just before and long after Tuva was absorbed by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II, had his first and last names exchanged because otherwise too many people there would have had the same last name (

            As a result of this intervention by Soviet passport officials, Shoigu Kuzhuget became Kuzhuget Shoigu, and so did his descendants, including the current Russian defense minister. This highlights the fact that Sergey Shoigu is not from the lower classes as he sometimes has suggested but descended from the old communist party elite.

            Moreover, like his ancestor whose names were exchanged, the current Shoigu successfully made the transition from one political system to another; but in doing so, he followed many of the same principles of both. Sergey Shoygu had a cult of personality before he rose to power in Moscow and he maintains one to this day.


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