Putin says ousted minister can get new post

By the Associated Press | November 16, 2012 | 2:34 PM EST

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks after a signing ceremony during a Russian-German business forum in the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012. Vladimir Putin on Friday shot back at visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel for raising questions about the imprisonment of the Pussy Riot punk provocateurs, suggesting she was poorly informed about the group's true nature. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's President Vladimir Putin says his sacked former defense minister isn't facing charges and may get a new official job.

Putin unexpectedly fired Anatoly Serdyukov this month amid a military corruption scandal focused on the suspicious sale of military assets.

Putin said Friday that Serdyukov lost his job over "doubts about his ability to oversee property issues." But he added that Serdyukov would not be blacklisted.

He says, "We aren't in 1937," referring to the peak year of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's purges.

Some observers believe the dismissal was likely rooted in a battle over 20 trillion rubles ($635 billion) that the Kremlin plans to spend on weapons through 2020. Serdyukov was demanding higher quality and cheaper prices, angering Kremlin-connected industry leaders.