Another top official arrested in Russian Defense Ministry bribery purge

Yuriy Kuznetsov
Yuriy Kuznetsov

General Yuriy Kuznetsov, the head of the Russian Defense Ministry's personnel department, was arrested on charges of taking a large-scale bribe, the Russian opposition news outlet Meduza reported on May 14.

The arrest was made after a search of his residence, where authorities found and seized 100 million rubles (almost $1.1 million), gold coins, collectible watches, and luxury goods.

Kuznetsov is suspected of receiving large-scale bribes "from representatives of commercial entities for performing certain actions in their favor" between 2021 and 2023, when he headed the eighth directorate of the Russian General Staff, which deals with the state secret protection service within the Defense Ministry.

A law enforcement source told TASS that Kuznetsov was arrested after interrogating the second person involved in the case, who testified against him. He could face eight to 15 years in prison if convicted under Part 6 of Article 290 of the Criminal Code.

Read also:

Kuznetsov's detention became known the night before. Journalists discovered the case file of Yuriy Kuznetsov, the head of the personnel department of the Defense Ministry, on the court's website.

This is the second high-profile criminal case against top officials of the Russian Defense Ministry.

On April 24, Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov, who was in charge of the military-industrial complex, was accused of large-scale bribery and remanded in custody until June 23.

Shoigu's dismissal and other changes in the Russian government

Vladimir Putin decided on May 12 not to reappoint Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who had led the ministry for almost 12 years. Instead, Andrei Belousov, the first deputy prime minister and former aide to Putin, will become the new defense minister. Belousov has no military experience.

Read also: Transition from Shoigu to Belousov as Russian Defense Minister: Impact on hostilities assessed by expert

The Federation Council will consider his candidacy for the post of defense minister on May 13-14.

Shoigu was appointed secretary of the Russian Security Council, replacing Nikolai Patrushev. Shoigu had been the head of the Russian Defense Ministry since Nov. 6, 2012.

The U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War noted in its report that the replacement of the minister indicates that Putin is taking significant steps to mobilize the Russian economy and military-industrial complex to support the ongoing war in Ukraine and possibly prepare for a future confrontation with NATO.

A current Russian federal official, speaking anonymously to the iStories outlet about Shoigu's resignation, said it was a "shock for everyone" and suggested that the war would be "for a long time."

We’re bringing the voice of Ukraine to the world. Support us with a one-time donation, or become a Patron!

Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine