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MOSCOW, November 7 (Itar-Tass) — The resignation of Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov is a message from President Vladimir Putin addressed to other key figures in the army, security and law enforcement to fight corruption, German political scientist Alexander Rahr, a member of the Valdai discussion club, told Itar-Tass in an interview on Wednesday.
“This is the first obvious case of a man from the “St. Petersburg team” to have been dismissed by Vladimir Putin,” he said. Rahr recalled that Serdyukov was “a member of the Putin team that took power in 2000.”
“This is a very telling step. It may sound a message to the whole team to the effect there are certain borders not to be trespassed under any circumstance. In other words, if they fail to fight corruption in their respective ministries properly, they may have the same plight as Serdyukov,” Rahr said.
“Shoigu’s appointment indicates that the struggle against corruption, and not the defense ministry’s reform is number one task,” Rahr said. “Shoigu has never had a direct bearing on military matters. But, alongside Putin and two or three other politicians, he is one of the most known and highly-rated politicians in Russia. If he manages to put the Defense Ministry in order, this may serve as an example anti-corruption policy may be successful in other key ministries.
Rahr said that according to his sources the German government hoped that cooperation between German and Russian defense ministries would go on.
“Russia has opened a corridor to the German military within the framework of NATO’s operation in Afghanistan for the delivery of supplies,” Rahr said. “I believe that very soon the new defense minister, Mr. Shoigu, will join consultations between the German and Russian governments, due in Moscow next week.”