Russia Detains Another Senior Defense Ministry Official In Corruption Case


(RFE/RL) — Lieutenant General Yury Kuznetsov, who heads the personnel directorate of Russia’s Defense Ministry, has been arrested in a corruption case after more than $1 million in cash and valuables were found during a search at his residence amid an ongoing crackdown on top military officials in Russia.

Kuznetsov is suspected of receiving a bribe from a commercial entity in exchange for an unspecified favor, Svetlana Petrenko, a spokeswoman for the Investigative Committee wrote on social media on May 14.

During searches of Kuznetsov’s home, funds in Russian and foreign currencies worth more than 100 million rubles ($1.09 million), gold coins, collectible watches, and luxury items were found and confiscated, Petrenko said.

“A court placed Kuznetsov in detention at the request of investigators,” Petrenko added.

Kuznetsov’s arrest is another signal the Kremlin is battling to contain corruption as the war it initiated in Ukraine rages on.

Two days earlier, President Vladimir Putin relieved his close ally Sergei Shoigu of his duties as defense minister, while on April 23, police detained Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov on bribe-taking charges and a court later sent him to pretrial detention for at least two months.

Kuznetsov was appointed to his position in May last year. From 2010 until his appointment to his last post, he served as the chief of the eighth directorate of the Russian Armed Forces’ General Staff which is responsible for the protection of classified information related to the Defense Ministry.

Media reports quoted unnamed sources as saying that Kuznetsov’s arrest is related to that period of his career.

The dramatic developments within the Russian Defense Ministry are taking place after pro-Kremlin bloggers and political observers criticized Shoigu and the Defense Ministry for poorly handling Russia’s ongoing unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Some pro-Kremlin political observers have explained Russia’s failure to take over Ukraine in a short period of time by what they called widespread corruption among top military officials.

Putin replaced Shoigu with former First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, 65, a politician who specializes in economic matters. The move is seen as part of a strategy to make the armed forces more streamlined with the war now in its third year.

Shoigu’s future as defense minister had been closely watched over the past year following the struggles of the military in Ukraine and other issues.


RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

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