Moscow Plans Rapid Reaction Forces and Professional Soldiers­ — Again

File Photo of Russian Military Conscripts Boarding Train with Gear

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 46 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Roger McDermott – March 12, 2013) Moscow’s plans to reform and modernize its conventional Armed Forces have become encased in experiment, indecision, bureaucracy and secrecy. Since Army-General Sergei Shoigu was appointed as the defense minister in November 2012, the “reform” has officially stayed “on course,” while numerous […]

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Russia Should Use ‘Historic Chance’ for Rearmament – Putin

Russian Nuclear Submarine file photo

NOVOSIBIRSK, March 6 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday he plans to control implementation of a plan to rearm the armed forces that he said was a “historic chance” for Russia. “We have held a series of meetings on providing the army and navy with new armament systems,” Putin said at a meeting on the prospects of […]

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Five New Statistics about Russia That Say More Than a Glance Might Suggest

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, March 1, 2013 – http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/03/window-on-eurasia-five-new-statistics.html) Five new statistics about Russia this past week ­ one about Muslims in the army, a second about the state of its roads, a third about the number of illegal migrants in the country, a fourth about Russian attitudes toward religious instruction in the schools, and a […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with the Brazilian TV network Globo

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Governent.ru – February 26, 2013) Correspondent (via interpreter): Mr Prime Minister, thank you very much for finding time for Globo in your schedule. In your recent article in the influential Financial Times, you wrote that Russia should look to the East, to the Asia-Pacific Region. How, looking East, did you wind up in Brazil?  Did you follow Columbus who set […]

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Army reform continues to march forward

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – Viktor Litovkin, special to RBTH – February 22, 2013) The replacement of Anatoly Serdukov by Sergei Shoigu has not meant a retreat from the modernization of the Russian armed forces. On the eve of Feb. 23, Defender of the Fatherland Day, Russian Defense Minister General Sergei Shoigu alerted the Ivanovo Airborne Division, based […]

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Meteor Raises Security Concerns

Stylized Satellite View of Globe Highlighting Russian Impact Location for Meteor

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – February  19, 2013) The meteor that struck outside Chelyabinsk on Friday with such suddenness and explosive force has prompted a question among some spooked observers: If Russian defense officials were unable to track an object 17 meters in diameter rocketing down to earth, how could they detect a much smaller but equally […]

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Kremlin rethinks long-term military threats facing Russia; Putin Considers New ‘Defense Plan’ as ‘Reform’ Dies

File Photo of Russian Nuclear Missile on Mobile Launcher Near Woods

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 21 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Roger McDermott – February 5, 2013) Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is considering signing into law a new “defense plan,” setting out in a comprehensive document the long-term threat assessment and strategic environment facing Russia over the next few decades. It will mark an effort on a grand […]

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Shoigu the most popular Russian minister – poll

Sergei Shoigu file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 1 (Interfax) – Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ranks first on the Cabinet members popularity chart (the prime minister and deputy prime ministers excluded), with 90% of respondents polled recently giving him highest marks, the Public Opinion Foundation pollster (FOM) has announced. Sixty-eight percent of respondents polled on January 26 and 27 highly appraised his work since he took […]

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Defense Ministry Gets ‘D’ for Corruption

Russian Nuclear Submarine file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 29, 2013) The Defense Ministry’s opacity makes it difficult to determine whether anti-corruption reforms are being carried out, Transparency International said in a report released on Tuesday in which it gave Russia a “D-” grade on an A to F corruption index. The rating put Russia on par with Turkey, Belarus, and China, and […]

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Pressure Growing on Serdyukov With New Allegations

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 29, 2013) The net appears to be closing on former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov after military investigators opened an investigation into extravagant improvements at a dacha belonging to his brother-in-law, a news report said Monday. Serdyukov resigned in disgrace last month amid allegations that several of his close associates had enriched themselves via the […]

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Rogozin dismisses Kudrin’s reproaches of militarizing Russia

File Photo of Russian Military Conscripts Boarding Train with Gear

MOSCOW. Jan 24 (Interfax) – Russia is implementing a program of modernizing its Armed Forces which it has not done for almost a quarter of a century, Vice Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said in commenting on an interview with former Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin to Der Spiegel. “Why play along with the West and repeat the fundamentally erroneous claims […]

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Defense Ministry top-dog arrested on embezzlement charges

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yulia Ponomareva, Combined report – January 21, 2013) The biggest anti-corruption campaign in the Defense Ministry in years has yielded its first arrest, at the agency’s very top. The head of the ministry’s Facilities Department has been placed behind bars for two months. New arrests have been made as part of the high-profile […]

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Russia Said to Near Decision to Charge Ex-Defense Minister

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer and Ilya Arkhipov – January 18, 2013) Russian investigators are said to be near a decision on whether to charge the country’s ex-defense minister amid the biggest anti-graft drive of President Vladimir Putin’s 12 years in power, according to two officials. Anatoly Serdyukov has been implicated by people questioned in an embezzlement inquiry, said […]

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The ‘Nuanced Look’: Russia’s Defense Minister Considers Majors Reform Reversals

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 7 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Robert McDermott – January 15, 2013) Russia’s new defense minister, Army-General Sergei Shoigu, under the guise of pursuing “nuanced changes” to the Armed Forces’ reform managed by his predecessor Anatoly Serdyukov, is reportedly considering systemic revisions to the entire process. These range from revising the reformed military […]

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Serdyukov Faces ‘Suspect’ Status in Fraud Case

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 14, 2013) Former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who at an inquiry Friday into allegedly illicit property sales gave investigators “a few sheets of paper with explanations” then refused further questions, faces being considered a suspect, the Investigative Committee said. “If the former defense minister believes he is free of any guilt with regard to […]

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Russia’s Armed Forces: Reflections on 2012

File Photo of Russian Military Conscripts Boarding Train with Gear

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 2 – Roger McDermott – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – January 8, 2013) As the Russian political-military leadership faces a new year filled with many of the same issues that lay unresolved at the start of 2012, it is likely that the twists and turns of the “reform” associated with former Defense Minister Anatoly […]

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Challenges Facing the Russian Defense Establishment

File Photo of Russian Military Conscripts Boarding Train with Gear

(International Relations and Security Network (ISN) – Dmitry Gorenburg – December 20, 2012) Efforts to reorganize and modernize the Russian military have generated an increased demand for manpower and modern equipment. The country’s widening demographic crisis and procurement challenges, however, threaten to seriously undermine these efforts, or so argues Dmitry Gorenburg. Over the last four years, the Russian government has […]

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Serdyukov Has Been Disgraced, but His Reforms Will Continue

File Photo of Close-Up of Line of Russian Soldiers in Dress Uniforms for Parade

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 9, Issue 223 – Pavel Felgenhauer – Dec. 6, 2012) A month ago on November 6, President Vladimir Putin sacked Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, replacing him with Sergei Shoigu, a former long-time emergency situations minister (MChS), who was only last May appointed governor of the Moscow region. Russia’s top general – the first […]

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NEWSLINK: Purge and prejudice: What will the fate of military reform tell us about the anti-corruption campaign?

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

[Purge and prejudice: What will the fate of military reform tell us about the anti-corruption campaign? – Mark Galeotti – Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Dec. 3, 2012 – Mark Galeotti (Twitter: @markgaleotti) is Professor of Global Affairs at New York University’s SCPS Center for Global Affairs. His blog, “In Moscow’s Shadows,” can be read at http://inmoscowsshadows.wordpress.com – full article […]

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NEWSLINK: Russia may change its image in bid to find more allies

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

[Russia may change its image in bid to find more allies – Russia Today – Dec. 3, 2012 – http://rt.com/politics/russia-change-bid-find-128/] Russia Today writes on Russian foreign policy ambitions following an assembly of Russia’s Council for Foreign and Defence Policy. In part, Russia Today cited attendees as highlighting military spending, including conventional forces: Conference members also observed that in modern times […]

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NEWSLINK: Corruption scandals dominate Russian headlines; Allegations have involved Russia’s defense and agriculture ministries and even the space program. Some wonder whether the regime is cracking down or fracturing

File Photo of Two Persons Shaking Hands and Exchanging Cash

[Corruption scandals dominate Russian headlines; Allegations have involved Russia’s defense and agriculture ministries and even the space program. Some wonder whether the regime is cracking down or fracturing. – Los Angeles Times – Sergei L. Loiko – Dec. 3, 2012 – http://articles.latimes.com/2012/dec/02/world/la-fg-russia-corruption-20121203] The Los Angeles Times covers recently exposed corruption scandals in Russia: … the news in Russia lately has […]

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NEWSLINK: US Senate forbids Pentagon to cooperate with Rosoboronexport

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

[U.S. Senate forbids Pentagon to cooperate with Rosoboronexport – ITAR-TASS – RUSSIAN PRESS REVIEW – Dec. 3, 2012 – http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c142/587557.html] Itar-Tass reports on U.S. Senate approval of sanctions against Russia for supplying weapons to Syria, in the form of a prohibition on the U.S. Department of Defence buying weapons from Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport. Meanwhile, Russia argues that it is […]

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Poll shows Russians mostly opposed to longer military service

File Photo of Russian Military Conscripts Boarding Train with Gear

(Interfax – Moscow, 26 November) Most Russians believe that the head of the State Duma Committee for Defence’s initiative to increase the duration of army service to 18 months is unjustified, an opinion poll conducted by Superjob.ru portal has shown. According to the study, which was carried out among 1,600 respondents on 22-25 November, 44 per cent of Russian citizens […]

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Oboronservice case is biggest recent corruption scandal in Russia – poll

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 22 (Interfax) – The Oboronservice case and the consequent dismissal of Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov are the most high-profile corruption scandals Russia has had lately, sociologists told Interfax on Thursday. Seventy-two percent of Russians know about it, they said. Thirty-three percent of the respondents paid attention to corruptive practices at the Russian Regional Development Ministry and theft of […]

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Russia Seeks Closer Military Ties With China

File Photo fo Chinese Military Parade

BEIJING, November 21 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Wednesday indicated Russia’s continuing interest in cooperation with China on defence sector issues. Shoigu told top Chinese officials during a visit to Beijing for the 17th Sino-Russian Intergovernmental Commission on Military and Technological Cooperation that joint work between the two powers would enhance stability across the region. “The […]

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Shoigu Suspends the “Serdyukov” Military Reform

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 9, Issue 213 – Roger McDermott – November 20, 2012) A near catatonic trance descended upon the Russian media in the aftermath of President Vladimir Putin sacking his controversial Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov on November 6, with a preoccupation on issues of corruption and speculation on the fallen minister’s private life. […]

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Rogozin Warns of New Defense Corruption Purge

Dmitry Rogozin file photo

MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin warned on Tuesday of a new clean-out of corruption and crooked officials in the country’s arms industry, following a series of high-profile scandals in the sector. “A clean-out is inevitable,” the deputy prime minister, who is in charge of the defense industry, told Kommersant. “The pitcher goes often […]

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U.S. ready to discuss modernization of conventional weapons control in Europe with Russia

EU Map

(Interfax – November 20, 2012) The United States is prepared to cooperate with Russia in modernizing the system of control over conventional weapons in Europe, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller said. “CFE [Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty] remains important,” she said on her Twitter page. “We look forward to working with […]

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Corruption

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

CORRUPTION. There are those who believe that one of the main reasons for Putin’s re-appearance in the President’s chair was that only he has the political muscle to really move on Russia’s widespread problem of corruption, especially corruption at the top. I have always said that we won’t know that the anti-corruption drive is serious until it takes down someone in an office near Putin’s or Medvedev’s. Do we start to see this? The OboronServis case is getting bigger. The case concerns skulduggery with the extensive number of military properties …

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With Anti-Corruption Drive, Kremlin Adopts Navalny Tactic

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – November 16, 2012) When President Vladimir Putin was asked in an interview last month about anti-corruption lawyer Alexei Navalny, he indicated that he thought opposition leaders had achieved little of substance. “I’m not repudiating anyone, and I don’t want to cheapen the merits of any of the possible leaders of the opposition,” […]

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Controversial journalist Mamontov films defense-scandal documentary

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com –  Alina Lobzina – November 14, 2012) Controversial journalist Arkady Mamontov, best known for authoring programs accusing Kremlin-critics of being the servants of Western powers, has prepared his latest round of revelations, this time over the recent embezzlement scandal in the Defense Ministry. The state-owned federal Rossia 1 TV station aired his investigation under the title […]

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Magnitsky-linked official under spotlight over Defense Ministry scandal

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Alina Lobzina – November 14, 2012) An official linked with the case of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in custody awaiting trial, has reportedly come to the attention of investigators in connection with the recent Defense Ministry’s embezzlement scandal. Investigators re-opened a case over illegal VAT recovery, dating back to 2010, when Olga Stepanova headed […]

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Shady dealing, sex scandals and Russia’s defense crisis

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – November 12, 2012) When Anatoly Serdyukov, reportedly clad in a bathrobe and slippers, opened the door to a police unit raiding his former employee’s apartment, it was the tipping point for Russia’s beleaguered defense minister. But it wasn’t the only reason by far why the catastrophically unpopular defense minister was sacked last […]

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NEWSLINK: Russian defence: Reform and be sacked: The firing of Russia’s defence minister may be a setback for military reform

File Photo of Segei Serdyukov with Bob Gates

(Russian defence: Reform and be sacked: The firing of Russia’s defence minister may be a setback for military reform – The Economist – November 10, 2012 – http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21566006-firing-russias-defence-minister-may-be-setback-military-reform-reform-and-be-sacked) The Economist covers the sacking of former Russian defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov: “Anatoly Serdyukov, Russia’s defence minister from 2007 until November 6th when President Vladimir Putin fired him, was never much of […]

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NEWSLINK: Russia’s Putin fires top general after graft scandal

File Photo of Russian Tanks on Parade

(Russia’s Putin fires top general after graft scandal – Reuters – Timothy Heritage – November 9, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/09/us-putin-defence-idUSBRE8A80RC20121109) Reuters covers Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reshuffling of his top military staff, following the replacement of former defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov with Sergei Shoigu: Russian President Vladimir Putin replaced the chief of his military staff on Friday in a reshuffle that […]

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Shoigu Inherits Armed Forces at Crossroads

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky and Jonathan Earle – November 9, 2012) When Sergei Shoigu took the reins of the Defense Ministry on Thursday, he officially inherited a military at a crossroads, torn between tradition and the half-completed reforms of his disgraced predecessor, Anatoly Serdyukov. Shoigu will have to decide between maintaining a large, conventional force or pursuing […]

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NEWSLINK: Russian defense chief crossed Putin’s political “family”

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Russian defense chief crossed Putin’s political “family” – Reuters – Thomas Grove and Timothy Heritage – November 8, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/08/us-russia-defence-scandal-idUSBRE8A70TG20121108) Reuters covers the sacking of Russian defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who allegedly not only offended anti-corruption laws, but also outraged a family close to Putin when he allegedly might have cheated on his wife, who came from that family: […]

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Amid Defense Ministry Shakeup, Corruption Case Grows

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – November 8, 2012) Sergei Shoigu officially took over his new defense minister duties Wednesday, receiving the so-called nuclear briefcase, while prosecutors announced new findings in a corruption case at a ministry agency that led to the ouster of his predecessor, Anatoly Serdyukov. Shoigu, best-known for his long tenure as emergency situations minister, […]

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NEWSLINK: Russian defense minister’s sacking suggests political infighting; Anatoly Serdyukov is mired in a corruption scandal, but some experts say that he was driven out by conservatives unhappy with his military reforms

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Russian defense minister’s sacking suggests political infighting; Anatoly Serdyukov is mired in a corruption scandal, but some experts say that he was driven out by conservatives unhappy with his military reforms  – Christian Science Monitor – Fred Weir – November 6, 2012 – http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2012/1106/Russian-defense-minister-s-sacking-suggests-political-infighting-video) The Christian Science Monitor covers Russian President Vladimir Putin’s dismissal of Russian defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov.  […]

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Shoigu Seen as Ideal Fit to Head Defense Ministry

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – November 7, 2012) Sergei Shoigu said he was surprised by his appointment to replace Anatoly Serdyukov as defense minister, but his combination of popularity among the public and loyalty to the Kremlin makes him a fitting choice to head one of the country’s most important government sectors. Shoigu, who entered government service […]

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Over half of Russians approve of Serdyukov’s dismissal as defense minister – poll

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 7 (Interfax) – More than half of Russians – 58% – appreciated President Vladimir Putin’s decision to dismiss Anatoly Serdyukov as defense minister, and nearly half – 49% – approved of Sergei Shoigu’s appointment to the job, the www.superjob.ru web portal found after polling 1,600 Russians on Tuesday. Putin announced Serdyukov’s dismissal at a meeting with Shogu earlier […]

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Experts welcome Putin’s appointment of new defence minister

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Interfax – November 6, 2012) Russian political experts have disagreed whether President Putin’s decision to sack Defence Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov and appoint Sergey Shoygu, governor of Moscow Region and former emergencies minister, in his place will lead to changes in military reform and major reshuffles in the top brass of the Russian Armed Forces. At the same time, most experts […]

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Putin Fires Defense Minister Amid Scandal [replaces Serdyukov with Shoigu]

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova and Roland Oliphant – November 7, 2012) President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday fired Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov in connection with a corruption scandal and appointed Moscow Governor Sergei Shoigu in his place. Putin informed Serdyukov and Shoigu, a longtime ally who only became governor in May after serving 18 years as emergency situations […]

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The first big name falls in Russia’s anti-graft drive

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – November 7, 2012) On November 6, President Vladimir Putin sacked Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who is accused of stealing $95m. We have been waiting for this. It’s the first time the Kremlin’s revitalized anti-corruption drive has reached into the inner circle. The sacking appears significant and already has the international press asking if […]

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NEWSLINK: Putin dismisses defense minister after scandal

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Putin dismisses defense minister after scandal – Reuters – Thomas Grove – November 6, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/06/us-russia-defence-idUSBRE8A50A820121106) Reuters covers Russian President Vladimir Putin’s sacking of defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov after a multi-million dollar corruption scandal.  Putin replaced Serdyukov with former emergencies minister Sergei Shoigu, who has enjoyed a strong  public approval rating: Putin’s announcement made at a meeting with Shoigu […]

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NEWSLINK: Defense chief firing key step in Russia’s military reform ­- experts [Shoigu replaces Serdyukov]

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Defense chief firing key step in Russia’s military reform ­ experts – Russia Today – November 6, 2012 – http://rt.com/politics/serdyukov-defense-shoigu-minister-061/) Kremlin-backed media source Russia Today reports on the replacement of Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov with former Emergencies Ministry chief Sergey Shoigu: President Vladimir Putin sacked Serdyukov after his ministry was drawn into a major scandal over alleged selling off […]

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Russian MPs and senators praise defence minister’s dismissal

Anatoliy Serdyukov file photo

(Interfax – November 6, 2012) The dismissal of Russian Defence Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov has been welcomed by senior figures in the Duma and the Federation Council, media sources reported. Serdyukov’s critics pointed to the way the military are being reorganized and to a fraud scandal that has recently erupted at the ministry. They contrasted this to the record of his […]

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Defense Spending and Policy Discussions Are Splitting the Russian Elite

Russian Nuclear Submarine file photo

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 9, Issue 200 – Pavel Felgenhauer – November 2, 2012) Last week, the public standing of one of President Vladimir Putin’s most powerful cohorts­ — Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov­ — was seriously undermined when Russia’s Investigation Committee (Slyedstvenny Kommitet Rossye­SKR) publicly accused the defense ministry­-controlled holding company “Oboronservis” of corruption and […]

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Russia to Boost Defense Spending 59% by 2015

Russian Nuclear Submarine file photo

MOSCOW, October 17 (RIA Novosti)-Russia plans to boost annual defense spending by 59 percent to almost 3 trillion rubles ($97 billion) in 2015, up from $61 billion in 2012, the head of the State Duma’s Defense Committee told RIA Novosti on Wednesday. “Targeted national defense spending as a percentage of GDP will amount to 3.2 percent in 2013, 3.4 percent […]

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Kudrin Criticizes Prevalence of Social, Military Spending in Budget

Alexei Kudrin file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 15 (Interfax) – International Expert Council for Russia Chairman Alexei Kudrin said at a World Economic Forum session, attended by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, that the prevalence of social and military spending in the Russian budget had its shortcomings. “It was noted (during discussions on Sunday) that the structure of the budget was weak and that there […]

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