Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, November 6th, announced a sudden change of the defense minister. Against the background of the scandal around the company Oboronservis, which is close to the structure of the Defense Ministry, Anatoly Serdyukov was dismissed from the position of the Defense Minister of the Russian Federation. The new head of the Defense Ministry is Sergei Shoigu, who very briefly served as the governor of the Moscow region. Before he was appointed as the Moscow region governor, Shoigu served as the head of the Russian EMERCOM for many years.
The head of state announced the news about the changes in the government at the meeting with Shoigu, the press service of the president reports. Shoigu admitted that "the proposal came very unexpectedly" for him. Nevertheless, he thanked Putin for the offer and promised to do his best on the new position.
The Kremlin press service said: "Putin has personally made the decision about the resignation of Defense Minister Serdyukov. Shoigu was appointment to the post of the defense minister on the base of recommendations from the head of the government."
"Given the situation that has developed around the Defense Ministry, in order to create the conditions for an objective investigation of all the issues, I have decided to dismiss Minister of Defense Serdyukov from his position," Putin said in a statement.
Serdyukov was summoned to Putin's residence in Novo-Ogaryovo today (Nov. 6) by 10 a.m. He arrived at 10:10 a.m., stayed in Putin's office for 10 minutes and left in gloomy mood, says Life News. Putin, according to journalists, was in good spirits.
The replacement of "civil" Minister Serdyukov with Army General Sergei Shoigu, will most likely be taken as positive news in the Russian army. When serving as the head of the EMERCOM, Shoigu created a powerful paramilitary department with strict discipline. In addition, Shoigu was one of the most popular ministers who belonged to the government of Vladimir Putin.
As for the Moscow region that has been left without the governor, the position will be temporarily taken by vice-governor Ruslan Tsalikov. The new governor will be elected through direct elections, tentatively in September 2013, Interfax said.
The rumors for the resignation of Anatoly Serdyukov appeared this year soon after the presidential election. The issue of the imminent change of the head of the ministry surfaced again in connection with the corruption scandal that erupted around the company Oboronservis. Law enforcement agencies suspected company employees of financial fraud. A number of figures in the case, as it turned out, maintained a very close relationship with the defense minister and knew him for a long time.
The Russian forces destroyed a column of NATO armoured vehicles that had been delivered to the Ukrainian army.