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Communists seek parliamentary probe into former defense minister’s activity

December 17, 2013, 15:33 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The party's demand comes after investigators ended criminal enquiries into the former minister
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Former defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov (L)

Former defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov (L)

© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Bobylev

MOSCOW, December 17. /ITAR-TASS/. Communists in Russia's State Duma lower house of parliament are calling for a parliamentary probe into the activities of former defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov.

The party's demand comes after investigators ended criminal enquiries into the former minister, who remains charged with negligence but may escape from proceedings under the presidential amnesty marking 20 years of the Russian Constitution.

Communist deputy Anatoly Lokot said on Tuesday that CPRF faction leader Gennady Zyuganov and his group had “repeatedly called in parliament for Serdyukov’s resignation”.

“We believe damage to Russia’s defense capability is colossal,” he said, adding that parliamentarians from all factions took the same view. “It was under Serdyukov that criticism against Russian hardware came to full flower, and initiatives emerged on mass purchase of foreign equipment,” he said.

“We are not bloodthirsty. We don’t demand execution or punishment,” he said. The demand sought an end to the phenomenon existing in society dubbed ‘serdyukovism’, a derogatory term for what the deputy called rampant corruption in the ministry when Serdyukov was in charge.

“In accordance with federal law on parliamentary investigation, the CPRF faction announces an initiative to carry out a parliamentary probe into the activity of former Defense Minister Serdyukov, setting up a commission for that," Lokot said.

He said an appeal to the Duma speaker had already been prepared by parliamentarian Yuri Sinelshchikov, based on information published by media organizations.

The communists “have no other reliable sources, but these facts had been voiced by law enforcement agencies,” he said. “Every fact mentioned there has references and we by no means stand in for the law enforcement system and the Investigative Committee,” the deputy said.

“We have different tasks. The aim of the investigation is to reveal causes and conditions of abuses revealed by the Investigative Committee, to make public each and every fact of these abuses,” Lokot said.

He said signatures were being collected, expressing confidence that the necessary 90 names for the issue to be put on the agenda would be collected. He appealed to “all deputies who care about the fate of our army and the military-industrial complex” to join the initiative, which needed evidence of specific violations.

State Duma deputies last called for a parliamentary investigation in the spring of 2014. This focused on Ministry for Education and Science monitoring of higher education institutions. The bid failed for lack of Duma support.

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