November 15, 2012
Credit: Credit: Presidential Press and Information Office
Russian President Vladimir Putin fired two Defense Ministry deputies Nov. 15, broadening a reshuffle at the ministry whose head was sacked last week over a fraud investigation.
Putin dismissed deputy minister Yelena Kozlova, who oversaw finances, and Dmitry Chushkin, naming two associates of the new Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as their replacements.
The move strengthens the grip of Putin and Shoigu at the ministry, which channels billions of tax dollars every year through Russia’s huge defense industry, the world’s second largest arms exporter.
“With his order, the president has released the Defense Ministry deputies ... from their positions,” said a statement published on the Kremlin website.
Putin fired Anatoly Serdyukov as defense minister on Nov. 6 and replaced the head of the armed forces General Staff three days later.
Shoigu and his allies are expected to push through root and branch military reform and oversee spending of 23 trillion roubles ($724 billion) to replace Russia’s aging armaments by the end of the decade.
One of the new deputy ministers is Ruslan Tsalikov, a trusted Shoigu ally who worked directly under him in the Emergencies Ministry and then again in the Moscow region when Shoigu moved to become governor of the province.
The other newcomer is Yuri Borisov, the first deputy chairman of a defense industry board.
Serdyukov was dismissed last week soon after the start of an investigation into suspicions that a defense ministry firm sold property to insider companies at a loss of almost $100-million. However, the ex-minister has not yet come under investigation himself.