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Published in Stream:
Russia Update: November 5, 2015
Press by
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Disgraced-But-Amnestied Former Defense Minister, Serdyukov, Charged With Corruption, To Serve As State Defense Firm Industry Director
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Anatoly Serdyukov, the disgraced former defense minister jailed on corruption charges and then released early this year, has been appointed as an industry director of Rostec, the Russian defense conglomerate, Gazeta.ru reported.

Serdyukov will be in charge of coordinating all of Rostec's aviation industry from helicopters to airplane engines at a time when Russia is making its first venture into war-fare reliant on air strikes in Syria. Previously, Russia preferred to use a combination of tanks, ground troops and air attacks in its wars.

The ex-minister will be in charge of Helicopters of Russia, one of Rostec's largest holding companies; the Unified Engine Construction Corporation (ODK), Radioelectric Technologies Concern (KRET) and other large holdings.

In its annual Top 100, Defense News placed Helicopters of Russia last year as the 23rd largest helicopter manufacturer in the world.

serdukovcar-pic700-700x467-76246.jpg

 Anatoly Serdyukov. Photo by Aleksei Filippov/TASS

Gazeta.ru took a look at the organizational chart on Rostec's website and found that there was no position titled "industry director." But sources say the position was just created.

Presidential administration spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he could not comment on the appointment, because while Rostec is a state corporation, it is ostensibly "an entirely separate structure" and "isn't related to the administration of the president and to the Kremlin."

Rostec's ODK manufactures engines for the Sukhoi Superjet 100 and other fighters and bombers, and KRET designs avionics for the Su-35S and other planes and helicopters.

Earlier, Gazeta.ru reported that Serdyukov was back in business and had acquired two luxury apartments on Molochny Lane, one in which his mistress Yevgeniya Vasilyeva had resided, which was owned by her sister Galina Puzikova.

Vasilyeva -- herself sentenced in May to 5 years in labor colony for a scam involving apartments for military personnel and stolen property, known as the Oboronservis case for the Defense Ministry's holding company involved -- was already released for good behavior in August as we reported.

The Interprete
r
has covered Serdyukov's case for the past two years. Serdkuyov was first put in charge of an ambitious $430 billion reform of the military and battling corruption in the armed forces, then fired by President Vladimir Putin in 2012 and replaced by Sergei Shoigu, the current defense minister. In November 2013 Serdkuyov was charged  with "negligence" for ordering the army to build a road from a village to a private country residence in Russia's south. He was amnestied in 2014.

Before his appointment to Rostec, Serdyjkov invested in 50% of the stock in Ordynka 40, Ltd., a new company registered in April 2015 in St. Petersburg with 10 million rubles (US $158,141) in capital which will invest in securities and real estate.

That seems disingenuous, as even if technically Rostec is under the Defense Ministry, Kremlin officials such as vice premier Dmitry Rogozin, in charge of defense and space, would have a close involvement with the defense industry; Rogozin has met with Rostec officials and visited its plants in the past.

On the appointment of Serdyukov, Rogozin had no comment, RIA Novosti reported.

Many of RIA Novosti's readers were dismayed at the spectacle of a defense minister charged with corruption now involved in the country's defense -- and nationalist Rogozin, constantly portrayed as battling sloth and corruption, notably at the Vostochny space station where unpaid workers went on strike, remaining silent.

For example, Aleksandr Vais commented:

"Yes, Mr. Rogozin, power changes people. Even a few years ago you would have punched him in the mug. And now it's "I can't comment." A man suspected of having his hand in the till was "assigned" to a DEFENSE state corporation. And you "can't." What do you have there? Rostec or Chirkizon? " [A reference to the Chirkozovsky Market in Moscow, Europe's largest bazaar.]

Another, Vladimir Permyakov, appealed to Putin:

"Vladimir Vladimirovich! Don't ruin the people's trust in you, get this wrecker out of sight!"

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick