Medvedev says Ulyukayev’s dismissal after losing president’s trust is not ‘guilty verdict’

Alexei Ulyukayev file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 15 (Interfax) – The resignation of former Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev after he lost the president’s trust and confidence does not mean Ulyukayev has been found guilty of the crimes he has been accused of, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

“The president made the decision to dismiss the former minister from his duties due to loss of trust. I emphasize that this is not a court ruling. This is simply the loss of trust in a high-ranking official in the country. I have also made such decisions in my time. They do not signify guilt,” Medvedev said during an interview on the federal television channels.

Asked whether Ulyukayev’s resignation meant that the evidence against him was very serious, Medvedev said: “I believe only the investigative bodies can comment. It is precisely they who are evaluating this evidence. I will refrain from comment here.”

Until a court issues its verdict – guilty or not guilty – no one can speak about anyones guilt.

Medvedev reiterated that the situation surrounding Ulyukayev is “utterly regretful event.”

“This is an event that is truly beyond my comprehension of what may happen with a minister. This is an official of the highest rank in the hierarchy of executive authority,” he said.

Asked why Ulyukayev has already been replaced, despite the absence of a guilty ruling against him, Medvedev said that the executive authorities cannot abide a vacuum.

He also noted the intensifying pace of the battle against corruption in recent times.

“Just since 2012, the investigative bodies have sent 50,000 criminal cases on corruption to court. Of the total, approximately 3,500 are so-called special subjects, that is, relate to individuals occupying various posts in state service. Over 1,000 of them are citizens serving as mayors, the heads of municipal entities. Another 1,300 were elected officials at various government levels,” he said.

Medvedev emphasized that all cases filed against former government employees, including those serving as governors, must be seen through to their conclusion.