While PM Dmitry Medvedev (being at the ASEM Summit – Laos) did what he knows best, Russian President Vladimir Putin did a new exercise of power. He has replaced the current Defense Minister, Anatoly Serdyukov, with Sergei Shoigu, the current governor of the Moscow region. Putin announced the change to Shoigu during a meeting on Tuesday morning. Shoigu holds the military rank of General of the Army and before taking control over the capital’s region served as the Emergencies Minister. (I do not know why, but today’s scene reminded me of the public dismissal by Medvedev of the former finance minister, Alexei Kudrin 😀 )
Last week it was reported that Serdyukov might be summoned for questioning in a criminal case opened over an alleged $100-million embezzlement in Oboronservis, a subcontractor for the Defense Ministry, said The Moscow News. Also, Reuters Agency told about Russian investigators that raided the offices of Defense Ministry firm Oboronservis last month and opened an investigation into the company on suspicion that it had sold assets to commercial firms at a loss of nearly $100 million.
“Taking into consideration the situation that has emerged regarding the Defense Ministry, in order to create the requisite conditions for an objective investigation of all the issues, I made the decision to relieve Defense Minister Serdyukov of his duties,” said Vladimir Putin – quoted by RIA Novosti as saying. Also, Putin said at the televised meeting with Shoigu that he must continue “grandiose plans for the reform of the army”.
The decision to appoint Shoigu to the post was made on the recommendation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the news agency. But it seems that the power of decision continues to be transferred from the government to the presidency.
Today, also, Russian mass-media said that India and Russia have signed two contracts for the delivery of Russian anti-tank missiles, a source close to the Indian Defense Ministry told RIA Novosti. The source confirmed that these contracts had been signed, but declined to give any details.
Local media reports have suggested that Russia will deliver 25,000 Invar missiles for India’s T-90 tanks and 10,000 Konkurs antitank missiles, worth an estimated $240 million. Citing sources in the Indian government, local media earlier reported that India would buy 10,000 Invar missiles from Russian manufacturers and that a further 15,000 missiles will be manufactured under license in India. Noticed that former Indian Army Chief Gen V. K. Singh said in March that some units had only three or four days of tank ammunition left.