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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Military Auctions Off Rublyovka Lot

MTThe unused military campus was sold to a private company for more than $110 million at an auction held Tuesday.
The Defense Ministry on Tuesday auctioned off an unused military campus in an exclusive Moscow suburb, despite opposition from the military top brass.

The sell-off, in an area of designer boutiques and a Ferrari showroom, was ordered by Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and is the first of many such auctions planned to cut the vast real estate empire owned by the armed forces.

The complex on Rublyovo-Uspenskoye Shosse, in northwestern Moscow, is not far from where former President Vladimir Putin often hosted foreign leaders and where many of the country's superrich live. It was sold to a private company, Bona Project, for 2.6 billion rubles ($110.2 million), RIA-Novosti reported.

A second lot in the same area of Moscow, on Levoberezhnaya Ulitsa, was sold to another private firm, Master Viners, for 1.15 billion rubles, the news agency reported.

Both lots were sold for one bid above the asking price.

Serdyukov, unlike previous defense ministers, has no military or security background, but he has solid Kremlin ties. He was appointed to the post in February 2007 after eight years working in various tax bodies.

Analysts say he is under orders to keep a tight rein on the 1.2 million person military, which saw its financing expand during the country's economic boom.

Under Putin, the defense budget grew by up to 30 percent per year. Putin's successor, Dmitry Medvedev, has promised to continue his policies.

Along with the property sell-off, Serdyukov has proposed cutting the number of officers in the ministry and the General Staff.

The ministry originally intended to begin auctioning off unused military real estate in April, but the sales were pushed back to May.

Serdyukov has rejected criticism that his reforms could weaken the country's national defense, but his plans have created conflict with the top brass, which has controlled spending. (Reuters, MT)