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Russian deputy Defence Minister Timur Ivanov arrested for accepting bribes 'on a particularly large scale'

Deputy Defence Minister Timur Ivanov was detained on Tuesday, according to a brief 22-word statement by Russia's investigative committee. The statute that the investigators cited for his detention is for accepting bribes "on a particularly large scale".

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Moscow Updated on: April 24, 2024 13:18 IST
Russian Deputy Defence Minister Timur Ivanov
Image Source : REUTERS Russian Deputy Defence Minister Timur Ivanov

A Russian court on Wednesday formally arrested Deputy Defence Minister Timur Ivanov and charged him with bribery, the court said, following his detention on Tuesday. The court remanded Ivanov in custody for two months and said that according to the charges he had put himself in a position to benefit from hiring contractors for the ministry where he oversaw construction activities.

The sudden arrest of an ally of Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, whom President Vladimir Putin tasked with fighting the war in Ukraine, triggered speculation about a battle within the elite and of a public crackdown on the corruption which has plagued Russia's post-Soviet armed forces. The Kremlin said Putin had been informed, and added that Shoigu had also been told. Ivanov was present earlier on Tuesday at a meeting of top defence officials chaired by Shoigu.

Who is Timur Ivanov?

Ivanov, who has served as deputy minister since 2016, was in charge of property management, housing, construction and mortgages at the defence ministry. The defence ministry has made no comment.

Russia's Kommersant newspaper said that Ivanov, 48, was arrested by the Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor to the Soviet-era KGB which Putin last month told to root out corruption in state defence procurement. The Izvestia newspaper said others had also been detained, though there was no official confirmation of that. The newspaper said Ivanov's properties were being searched. State television gave the case full coverage.

"Let's just say the investigation did not start yesterday, the day before yesterday or even a month ago," an unidentified Russian law enforcement source told the TASS state news agency. FSB military counter-intelligence was involved, TASS said. It was not immediately clear why such a senior official with a close association with Shoigu would be targeted.

Are Russian military officials incompetent?

Russian military bloggers have long accused top generals of corruption and incompetence, especially after the army's hurried withdrawal from parts of Ukraine after seriously over-extending itself during the first days of the invasion. Within the Russian elite, there are a range of views on the war, which has had touched off the worst breakdown in relations between Russia and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Ivanov, who could not be reached as he was in detention, has long been linked to the ostentatious opulence which has characterised some sections of the post-Soviet Russian elite, including luxurious real estate and flashy parties.

Rise and downfall of Russian deputy Defence Minister

In 2022, Russia's Anti-Corruption Foundation, headed by the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, alleged that Ivanov and his family led a lavish lifestyle. Ivanov, who was born in Moscow, graduated with a degree in mathematics from Moscow State University and completed a dissertation on the organisational models for the construction of nuclear power plants.

He rose through the ranks of Russia's state atomic energy sector and worked as an adviser to the energy minister before moving to become the deputy head of the Moscow region's government under Shoigu, who was then governor.

From 2013, Ivanov headed a defence ministry construction company which builds housing for soldiers and high-security installations. Forbes magazine listed Ivanov as one of the wealthiest men in Russia's security structures.

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: Russia: Putin signs decree on compulsory enrollment of 1.5 lakh youths for military service

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