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Putin dismisses defense minister amid scandal


08:50, November 07, 2012

MOSCOW, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and appointed former Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu as the new defense chief, a presidential spokesperson said Tuesday.

"The decision to relieve Serdyukov of his duties was made by the president," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Shoigu, who bears the rank of an Army General, worked as the emergency situations minister from 1994 to 2012 prior to his appointment as governor of the Moscow region in May.

Putin named Shoigu as the new defense minister on the recommendation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Peskov added.

Serdyukov, who worked as defense head since February 2007, has found himself in the spotlight of a corruption scandal in the Oboronservice company since October. Local media reported that the 50-year-old official was accused of state funds embezzlement and nepotism.

In order to create objective conditions for investigation, Putin made the decision to sack Shoigu, his spokesman said.

Following the dismissal, the independent Investigative Committee spokesperson Vladimir Markin said Serdyukov would be questioned over the embezzlement allegations.

Acting governor of the Moscow region will be appointed "shortly," and a new governor will be elected in September 2013, according to Moscow Regional Election Commission Chairman Irek Vildanov.

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