Russia sacks defence chiefs over failures
Updated: 2011-05-18 08:56
MOSCOW - President Dmitry Medvedev has fired several Russian defence industry chiefs and military officers for failing to fulfil arms contracts, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.
Russia has promised to spend between 19 and 20 trillion roubles ($724.6 billion) over the next 10 years to modernise its rusting armaments but the plan is plagued by chronic failures on arms deliveries and outdated technology.
A Kremlin statement said two defence sector enterprise chiefs were sacked, one of them the director of Izhmash, which makes the Kalashnikov assault rifle.
It said several military officers who had placed orders for weaponry were also dismissed. It named three of them, including a general in the armed forces General Staff and a navy vice admiral.
Medvedev also admonished or ordered unspecificied disciplinary action against a number of defence industry officials, it said.
"In accordance with orders of the President of the Russian Federation disciplinary measures were taken against those responsible for organisations that were not able to fulfil deliveries of arms or military technology in 2010," it said.
Medvedev has cut an increasingly assertive figure ahead of a presidential election next March in which he has said he may run. He lashed out at defence officials last week for not fulfilling arms contracts.
Despite its status as the world's second-largest arms exporter, its defence industry has stagnated since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The need for an overhaul of its ageing hardware was particularly exposed during Russia's five-day war with Georgia in 2008.
Corruption, which is rampant in Russia's armed forces, cost the military some 6.5 billion roubles, more than $200 million, in 2010, a top military prosecutor said earlier this year.
A former official was jailed by a Russian court for 11 years in February for selling four fighter jets for approximately $5 each.
Last week Medvedev ordered the defence ministry to meet the country's overdue procurement contracts by the end of May.
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