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On Wednesday, Sergei Shoigu for the first time addressed the State Duma lower house of Russia’s parliament in the status of Defence Minister. Reporting on the work done, Shoigu did not omit the activities of his predecessor. During the minister’s speech the lawmakers repeatedly applauded him and even expressed their willingness to ensure Anatoly Serdyukov’s “putting to prison” for undermining the country’s defence potential.
At the Government Hour of questions and answers at the Duma the “Serdyukovshchina period” (Serdyukov’s management practices on the defence minister’s post) was harshly criticised, the RBC Daily writes. All questions were put in the format “the previous minister did it this way, and you do it differently,” but Sergei Shoigu adhered to the principle of “I don’t cast the blame on the predecessors.” “He said no words of censure against Serdyukov, just gave cold hard facts: the number of shortcomings revealed during manoeuvres, nonoperational military equipment and others. The specific number of the samples of equipment adopted for service this year and last year was given,” MP from the Communist Party (CPRF) Anatoly Lokot told the publication.
“During ex-Minister Anatoly Serdyukov the contracts frustrated due to price disputes were replaced with others - the money was simply restructured for a different function,” the Kommersant newspaper quotes Shoigu. “But the questions immediately arose to the timeframe of the new contracts’ execution: the specific deadlines were set to industrial enterprises, but due to the fact that the contracts were concluded with a delay, it became clear that there will be no time to make products with a long technological cycle.”
Member of the State Duma deputy from the Communist Party Anatoly Lokot noted that “based on the report, it would be possible to bring against the previous minister charges for disorganising the Armed Forces with the corresponding conclusions,” the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper reports. And his assertion was based on concrete examples. Thus, Lokot cited the fact given in the Shoigu report: the closing down by former Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov of a number of military academies caused an sharp shortage of military personnel in the RF Army and Navy. This prompted the Defence Ministry to seek extraordinary measures to promptly make up for the loss. These measures include the students’ compulsory military service on deferred terms and the planned restoration of the system of training of military specialists at the military departments of many civilian universities.