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Petition Seeks Russian Defense Minister's Resignation


Sergei Ivanov (file photo) (epa) MOSCOW, March 21, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Some 9,000 people have reportedly signed an open letter seeking Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov's resignation over hazing practices in the Russian army, RFE/RL's Russian Service reported.

Organizers today said they had submitted the open letter to President Vladimir Putin's administration.

Organizer Maria Smirnova told RFE/RL's Russian Service that the initiative was prompted by an especially brutal hazing incident at a tank unit in Chelyabinsk earlier this year, which left a conscript maimed for life.

Putin on March 20 appointed Ivanov head of a new state Military-Industrial Commission, which will oversee Russia's defense industry. The commission reportedly has an annual budget of some $25 billion.

(with material from newsru.com)
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