Serdyukov dismissed to ensure impartiality of probe into Defense Ministry embezzlements - Medvedev

Former Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov was dismissed in order to ensure the impartiality of an investigation into embezzlements in the Defense Ministry, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

"We can talk about achievements of reforms [in the Russian armed forces]: They are undeniable. But there are rules of behavior in this situation, which exist in any country. If there are doubts about this or that official and a case has been opened - which is a public matter - his superior is supposed to make a decision either on suspending or dismissing the official leading the agency," Medvedev said in an interview with Kommersant when asked why Serdyukov was dismissed but has not been accused of anything.

This needs to be done "if only to rule out doubts about impartiality of the investigation," he said. "This is what is done in all countries," he said.

"The inquiry at the Defense Ministry was started not today but much earlier. Its results can be qualified as an offense or a crime only under a court ruling. And no other way," he said.

"The president and the prime minister receive regular reports on what happens at different agencies," and "if [reports] indicate some significant things, instructions are given on all of them," Medvedev said.

"The presence or absence of financial irregularities is a matter of proof, which is currently being collected by law enforcement agencies in line with the Criminal-Procedure Code. They should do their job. And then prove all this in court," he said.

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