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Embezzlements at Russia’s Defense Ministry cause huge damage to Armed Forces

August 30, 2013, 11:18 UTC+3

Serdukov used his position and the ministry’s assets to support construction of his son-in-law’s cottage in southern Russia

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Actions of Russia’s former Defense Minister Anatoli Serdukov and his favorite Evgeniya Vasilyeva caused the country budget’s shortage of 16 billion rubles ($500 million). The shortage is only $100 million less than the Belarusian annual military budget, the Komsomolskaya Pravda writes.

The newspaper reports law enforcement authorities as saying that Serdukov used his position and the ministry’s assets to support construction of his son-in-law’s cottage in southern Russia, as well as eight kilometers of the road to it (including two bridges). The country’s damage from this “project” is estimated at 100 million rubles.

In southern Russia, Evgeniya Vasilyeva ordered the Defense Ministry’s property department to take from the federal property over three hectares of land to build a housing complex there. Later on, the complex was sold. The state’s damage is 208 million rubles.

Former officials of the Defense Ministry’s property department, including its head - Evgeniya Vasilyeva - prepared paperwork, which was approved by former Defense Minister Anatoli Serdukov, to sell three plots of land of over 144 hectares in the Moscow region. The damage from the deal exceeded 5.8 billion rubles.

Those are not the exhaustive episodes in the case, which is being investigated now.

Meanwhile, Anatoli Serdukov still remains a witness, not a defendant in the case. Commenting on the situation, Head of the National Anti-Corruption Committee Kirill Kabanov told the Komsomolskaya Pravda: “Mid-level officials are being punished, but it is absolutely clear that the high-ranking officials enjoy different justice.”

The newspaper made calculations, where the 16 billion rubles of the embezzlement at the Defense Ministry, could have been used to buy for the Armed Forces three Voronezh-M missile warning systems, 14 Yars intercontinental ballistic missiles, eleven Su-34 bombers, 36 Yak-130 trainer aircrafts, twelve Su-30SM fighters, four Il-76MD-90A transport aircrafts, 19 Ka-52 helicopters, 76 Mi-8MTV-5 helicopters, four logistics marine vessels, and 500 Tornado-G multiple launch rocket systems.

The author of the calculations is Chief Editor of the Export of Armament magazine Andrei Frolov.

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