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Vladimir Putin appoints Siberian-born Sergei Shoigu as Russia's new defence minister

By The Siberian Times reporter
06 November 2012

The Russian president has turned to his close ally Sergei Shoigu, former Emergencies Minister, after the Defence Minister was engulfed in a corruption scandal.

Shoigu is seen as a close and trusted friend of Putin who served with distinction as Emergency Situations Minister from 1994 to this year

The 57 year old Tyva-born politician replaces Anatoly Serdyukov, Russia's first civilian defence minister in a dramatic reshuffle. 

Shoigu is seen as one of Russia's most talented administrators who lately occupied the post of governor of Moscow region. 

'Taking into consideration the situation around the Defence Ministry I have made a decision to relieve defence minister Serdyukov of his post in order to create conditions for an objective investigation of all the issues,' said Putin at a televised meeting with Shoigu. 

The president said the new minister would implement far-reaching plans to rearm the army and navy.

'You can be that person,' Putin told him.

The scandal which led to the change involves claims of a $100 million property scam at a defence ministry holding company. 

A 33 year old woman Yevgenia Vasilyeva, former head of the ministry's property department, was arrested in a dawn raid on her luxury 13 room apartment last week. 

Serdyukov, a former furniture salesman and son-in-law of ex-prime minister Viktor Zubkov, now chairman of Gazprom,  was reported to have been found in the flat when police arrived. 

An expensive collection of rare jewellery was found in the flat. 

It was not ruled out on Tuesday that Serdyukov could be questioned by police in relation to the scandal which has made big headlines in Russia in recent days. Putin had earlier ordered him to co-operate with the investigation.

Shoigu is seen as a close and trusted friend of Putin who served with distinction as Emergency Situations Minister from 1994 to this year, a role that regularly saw him on television dealing with a succession of emergencies.

Born to a Tyvan father and Russian mother, he has two daughters and is the only Buddhist in the Russian government. 

He graduated from Krasnoyarsk Polytechnic Institute with a degree in civil engineering and unlike his predecessor holds  the military rank of General.

Shoigu often reminds people of his Siberian roots, for example earlier this year when he suggested Russia's capital could be moved from Moscow to a location in Siberia.

'I believe the capital should be located somewhere further away, in Siberia,' he said. 

As defence minister, he will be one of only three people in Russia with access to the nuclear launch codes, it was reported on Tuesday. 

Comments (3)

go sergei!
sergeis first fan, suomi
22/01/2013 22:24
1
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He will do well...
Tony, United States
04/06/2016 07:05
0
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A man who was protecting people for such a long time is now appointed to kill them) very interesting
Kate, Russia
06/11/2012 21:24
0
1
1

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