A criminal case has been filed against former Defense Minister of Russia, Anatoly Serdyukov. "Finally," many people sighed with relief. Yet, the case was filed on a relatively "soft" Part 1 of Article 293 of the Criminal Code - "Negligence". However, it was later reported that the case could be reclassified to fit a more serious article.
According to official representative of the Russian Investigative Committee, Vladimir Markin, Mr. Serdyukov, when serving as the minister of defense, orally instructed his subordinates to build a road at the expense of defense budget. The automobile road was built from the village of Krasa, the Astrakhan region, to Shkolny Island, where non-commercial partnership "Zhitnoye" was located.
Serdyukov allegedly motivated his instructions with a wish to create a recreation center for the Defense Ministry there. In addition to the road, he ordered to arrange proper facilities on the territory of "Zhitnoye".
According to Vladimir Markin, servicemen of the aviation unit had to plant poplar trees, whereas a railway troops battalion was engaged in the construction of the road. There were no administrative documents, orders or directives signed for the works that would either confirm the spending of budget funds or establish legal rights of the Defense Ministry on the road.
According to investigators, the actions of the ex-minister caused 56 million rubles of damage to the state. Noteworthy, the damage on the case of Oboronservis (Defense Service), in which the prime suspect is the former head of the property department of the Defense Ministry, Yevgenia Vasilyeva, was evaluated at three billion rubles. Actually, it is the case of Oboronservis that occurs in everyone's minds when they speak about corruption in Anatoly Serdyukov's ministry.
Compared to this, the construction of the road to the recreation center seems nearly a commonplace thing, unfortunately. Of course, it is not commonplace at all, but it was not Serdyukov, who put forward the idea to use soldiers' labor to build houses for generals.
The former Defense Minister has now become almost a symbol of corruption in Russia, unsinkable corruption, so to speak. Communists in the Duma are prepared to file investigation into his activities. According to them, this is what worries most Russian citizens now.
One may say that there is a "phenomenon of Serdyukov " in the country. High-ranking officials, even governors, have been convicted of corruption in Russia before, but none of those cases has caused so much controversy like the cases, in which the ex-minister is involved.
How fair is that? This is an unpopular opinion, maybe, but no one has canceled presumption of innocence.
"No doubt, no one has canceled it, - deputy director of the Center for Political Conjuncture Alexei Zudin told Pravda.Ru. - But Serdyukov has created a highly negative attitude to himself."
According to the analyst, after the case was filed, it became clear what the head of the Investigative Committee of Russia, Alexander Bastrykin, meant when he talked about some progress that everyone would be pleased with.
Alexander Bastrykin said last week that investigators conducted a complex of financial and economic expertise on the case of Oboronservis. He did not specify anything a week ago.
"Whatever the court may rule on this case, Serdyukov can be considered an example of how the verdict of the general public can be ahead of the court's decision," Alexei Zudin told Pravda.Ru.
"If we recall, Serdyukov was found guilty peremptorily enough at early stages of investigation. It happened when preliminary results of investigation were announced. Later, it was explained to the Investigative Committee that it should not be done that way, as it triggers unhealthy public reactions," said the analyst.
"Serdyukov's case has received an extensive media coverage, it reached every single citizen in the country. Therefore, it has become a landmark case in the eyes of the society in terms of the perception of anti-corruption cases. This case shows to which extent the power is ready to punish high-ranking officials for corruption offenses. So the attention to him is quite natural," Mikhail Remizov, the head of the National Strategy Institute told Pravda.Ru.
A criminal case under article "Negligence" is a "soft solution," the political scientist said. It is worthy of note that the former minister has recently become the head of the Federal Research and Engineering Center, which is a division of Russian Technologies Corporation.
"The very fact of that appointment was seen as a protection document. But, as we can see, this has not happened," says Mikhail Remizov.
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