Russia’s new Defense Minister orders order

It seems that the President of Russia made yet another “lucky appointment”. There were few positive expectations when on February, 15 Putin appointed Anatoly Serdyukov the Minister of Defense. (Officially Serdyukov heads the Ministry from March, 1). Anatoly Serdyukov was born in 1962, has two higher educations (legal and economic). Before he headed Federal Tax Service. Too many thought that he is “too civil and too technical”, in spite of the fact that he had good references from the Prime Minister Fradkov and from the former Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov, who personally introduced the new Minister to the highest staff of the MoD and asked the commanders to assist him as they used to assist the former Minister.

This week Anatoly Serdyukov demonstrated that he deserved the reputation of a “tough nut” when working for the Tax Service and those who used to joke about him just few weeks ago will not be the last who laugh. It is common knowledge that there is enough mess in the Russian MoD. For example, Russian military-industrial complex sells considerably smaller volumes of the hardware to the national Armed Forces than the foreign customers buy with the same money. Serdyukov initiated a comprehensive check of the financial discipline in the central structures of the MoD. This is aimed at finding individual officials guilty of the mismanagement and the abuse of power, not just usual monitoring the financial procedures.

The work is done by the Financial Inspection of the MoD and Federal Tax Service. Be it a direct consequence or not, but one high retirement coincided with the check. The Head of the Central Department for International Military Cooperation (GUMVS) general-colonel Anatoly Mazurkevich appealed for retirement. According to him this decision is independently, without any pressure. Deputy head of GUMVS general-major Rudenko also preferred to reitre immediately after the beginning of the check. There is no sense in guessing whether this is true or not. This is of no importance. One fact is clear: there will be results of the first order of the new Defense Minister and we are sure to hear of them soon.

Yuri Seleznyov

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