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MOSCOW, December 20 (Itar-Tass) — Anatoly Serdyukov’s army reforms were generally moving in the right direction, but there were questions to the style of management of the former RF Defence Minister, President Vladimir Putin said at his traditional big press conference on Thursday.
“Serdyukov was moving in the right direction as regards reforming the armed forces. The problem was with the formal expression, attitude to people. These are separate issues,” said the RF head of state. “Military men deserve respect,” Putin said.
“But he was fired not for this,” the president continued. “But because reasonable doubts arose in the investigating authorities that the work related to the sale of property was properly organised. And also related to certain other issues.”
Both the investigation and court will be maximally objective in considering cases related to the Defence Ministry, Putin said. “Yes, there are doubts concerning the correctness of the former defence minister’s actions in decision making. But only court can decide if they have plundered or not plundered,” he said. “And I can assure you that the investigation and the trial will be very objective,” the president said. “There is no desire to blanch over anybody. Nobody is going to do this.”
However, Putin stressed that only a court can decide whether the defendants are guilty or innocent. The president also noted that in some cases it is necessary to apply civil proceedings as well. “I think that the current Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu, can cope with this. He is an experienced man,” said the president. “According to my information, the ministry is already preparing some civil lawsuits. We will restore everything,” he added.