FSB questions Defense Ministry's Tsalikov in major bribery scandal

Ruslan Tsalikov
Ruslan Tsalikov

Russia's First Deputy Defense Minister Ruslan Tsalikov has been questioned by the FSB in relation to a bribery case involving Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov, as per a May 1 update from the British Defense Ministry.

This marks a significant scandal within the highest ranks of the Russian military leadership.

Tsalikov, often seen as the third most powerful figure in the Defense Ministry behind Minister Sergei Shoigu and General Staff Chief General Valery Gerasimov, is considered a close associate of Ivanov. Both officials have a long history with Shoigu, having worked under him in various capacities before their tenure at the Defense Ministry began in 2012.

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The investigation into Ivanov, which could potentially implicate other high-ranking officials such as Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluvanov, revolves around accusations of large-scale bribery connected to construction projects. Reports suggest that the Defense Ministry’s construction agencies may have built a residence for Siluvanov, indicating the possible extent of the corruption.

On April 24, the Moscow courts of general jurisdiction reported that Ivanov had been accused of large-scale bribery and remanded in custody until June 23, marking the most significant scandal since the dismissal of former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov in November 2012 over corruption charges.

On the same day, Russian independent investigative journalism outlet Vazhnye Istorii claimed that the arrest was related to treason and Kremlin power struggles.

"Bribery is for the public. They don't want to talk publicly about high treason yet - it's a big scandal: he is a Deputy Defense Minister, after all," one of the outlet’s sources said.

Compromising materials on Ivanov have reportedly been held by Russian security forces for years. An investigator with Russia’s Investigative Committee told Vazhnye Istorii's editor-in-chief, Roman Anin, that these materials relate to Ivanov's illegal activities during his tenure as head of Oboronstroy, a joint-stock company for defense and space production. Despite the availability of these materials, their use had been previously blocked by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Ivanov, who has been Deputy Defense Minister since 2016 and was responsible for the construction and renovation of the Russian Defense Ministry’s facilities, is accused of receiving bribes on a particularly large scale in the awarding of contracts and subcontracts for the ministry.

Russia’s Investigative Committee announced Ivanov’s detention on suspicion of bribery on April 23.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine