HANOI, November 7 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Anatoly Serdukov’s work as defence minister was effective, and he does not have any claims to the latter.
“I believe that Serdukov’s activities were effective and as a result long-awaited reforms started in the Armed Forces,” he told reporters on Wednesday commenting on dismissal of Serdukov. “I have never had any claims to Serdukov. As for the investigation, it should be completed fully.”
Medvedev expressed hope Sergei Shoigu would continue the reforms, Serdukov had started.
“He /Shoigu/ should continue the changes and complete them. This is very important,” the prime minister added.
On Tuesday, Putin announced the reshuffle at a meeting with Shoigu. "Taking into account the situation around the Defence Ministry, and in order to create conditions for an objective probe into all the issues, I decided to relieve Defence Minister Serdukov of his duties," Putin said.
Serdukov was the defence minister since February of 2007.
Earlier, the main military investigation department opened five criminal cases over fraud in the sales of real estate, land plots and shares belonging to the Oboronservis Company which is subordinate to the Defence Ministry. The cases were opened under the penal code articles on fraud and exceeding and abusing office powers.
According to the investigators, Defence Ministry officials selected the most liquid and prestigious facilities, land plots and shares from the Oboronservis inventory. Then, tremendous budget funds were invested into these assets and the property was sold at understated prices to the commercial bodies affiliated with Oboronservis. Many facilities were bought with the money stolen from Oboronservis. According to preliminary estimates, the damage from the sale of eight real estate facilities exceeds three billion roubles.