Putin fires Russian defence minister

2012-11-06 11:00

Moscow - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday fired defence minister Anatoly Serdyukov over a corruption scandal, the most dramatic change to the government since he returned to the Kremlin for a third term.

Putin replaced Serdyukov, who had been implementing an unpopular but Kremlin-backed military reform, with Moscow region governor and long-standing ally Sergei Shoigu, his spokesperson said.

Serdykov was relieved of his duties so that a thorough investigation can proceed into a suspected $100m property scam at a defence ministry holding company, Putin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told AFP.

"This is in connection with the situation at the defence ministry. It has been done to create all the necessary conditions for the investigation," Peskov said.

Sensitive time

The sacking comes at a sensitive time, with relations with Washington tense as the United States elects a new president and Putin facing an unprecedented challenge at home from popular demonstrations.

Russian investigators on October 25 searched the offices of a defence ministry holding company, in a highly unusual move after opening a criminal probe into a suspected $100m property scam.

Serdyukov, one of the country's three people with access to nuclear launch codes, at the time was summoned for a meeting with Putin which raised immediate questions about his future.

A former furniture salesperson who rose to head the Russian tax authority, Serdyukov became the first civilian to serve as post-Soviet Russia's defence minister when he was appointed in 2007.

His lack of military credentials and controversial military reform programme made powerful enemies within the defence ministry as he tried to push through the army overhaul.

Shoigu is seen as one of Putin's closest friends and allies, serving as emergency situations minister from 1994-2012. He was only appointed to the key job of Moscow region governor this year.

  • leonard.menge - 2012-11-06 11:08

    Putin is the mother of all c*cks, why is he supporting the so-called bad guys? I am sure he is advising the Assad regime in some way or another!! He and his BRIC pals think they can take over the third world....

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-06 13:07

      Russia is behaving in exactly the same way the human rights loving US behaves all over the world. It's called protecting your interests.

  • jo.vankatwijk - 2012-11-06 11:40

    Putin for SA president! He'd have a field day firing out government crooks.

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-06 13:06

    The guy's intellect is matched only by his determination and ruthlessness, which makes him appealing to those who remember the chaos of the Yeltsin years.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-11-06 18:08

      Fidel, RUTHLESS..................?????????????????? Don't be rediculous........ He is scared of some punksters!!!!! Wipe the sh.t out of your eyes !!!!!!

  • diana.gill.18 - 2012-11-06 16:37

    Well done. Even pro-Kremlin policy couldnt save his butt. Example to take, hey mr. Zooooomer?

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-11-06 18:09

      Hallo Racist !!!

  • duncan.gill1 - 2012-11-06 18:43

    Here is a man who is Putin's closest allies being put to the sword(if he is guilty)by a man whose integrity towards serving his country is unmatched anywhere in the world.These must be disappointing times for president Putin may God give him strength to root out this corruption that has existed since Russia had to embrace a massive change in it's political and economic overhaul after the collapse of the USSR.Only this Russian hero has held Russia together since then and he continues to do so.He deserves a hearty cheer from all reasonable minded people the world over!!

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