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12:54 GMT +3 hours22 December 2014
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Medvedev Defends Ousted Defense Minister in TV Interview

Russia
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Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev defended recently-fired former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov on Friday, praising him for initiating “long-awaited and very difficult reforms.”

MOSCOW, December 7 (RIA Novosti) – Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev defended recently-fired former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov on Friday, praising him for initiating “long-awaited and very difficult reforms.”

“I think that as Defense Minister, Serdyukov worked highly effectively,” Medvedev said in a televised interview with major Russian television networks.

Serdyukov was ousted from his position last month following a highly-publicized corruption scandal, in which officials at the state-controlled Oboronservis defense property management firm were arrested on charges of embezzlement.

Medvedev came to the defense of Serdyukov, whose unpopularity with the military top brass had reputedly grown in recent years as he attempted to reform the armed forces.

“It doesn’t mean that, in the work of the former defense minister, there haven’t been mistakes,” the prime minister said, adding any wrongdoing should be decided by the courts.

Ahead of the interview, Medvedev said via his Twitter feed the session would be dedicated to discussing “the results” of the past year.

Medvedev was appointed Prime Minister after President Vladimir Putin’s re-election last March for a third presidential term.