Last month, Russian investigators raided the offices of Oboronservis, a state-controlled military contractor and began investigating the company amid claims that it had sold assets to commercial firms at a loss of nearly 3 billion rubles (app €409,6 million).
One of the objects under investigation is an oil reloading plant in Murmansk that was sold through “Oboronservis” for 452 million rubles, some 240 million rubles less than the plant was worth, Murman.ru writes.
On Tuesday President Putin dismissed Serdyukov and appointed Shoygu as new minister. Putin said he removed Serdyukov to ensure”the objectivity of the investigation of the violations in the Defense Ministry”, RIA Novosti reported. A spokesperson for Russia’s Investigation Committee said Serdyukov could now be questioned in connection with the case.
“Putin personally took the decision to sack Serdyukov,” the Kremlin said in a statement. “The appointment of Shoigu as defense minister was made on the recommendation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.”
Serdyukov, 50, who was appointed by then Prime Minister Putin in February 2007, was Russia’s first civilian defense minister. He oversaw an attempted streamlining of the military, which caused resentment within the armed forces.
Shoygu is ranked General of the Army. He held position as Minister of Emergency Situations from 1994 to May 2012, when he was appointed Governor of Moscow Oblast. He has been a member of the Russian Security Council since 1996 and is also member of the Government’s Maritime Board and Head of the Russian Geographical Society.