Russia detains defense minister over corruption suspicions in rare move

Moscow, Russia - Russian law enforcement officers have detained Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov on suspicion of taking bribes, Russia's Investigative Committee said on Tuesday.

Russian law enforcement officers have detained Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov on suspicion of taking bribes, Russia's Investigative Committee said on Tuesday.
Russian law enforcement officers have detained Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov on suspicion of taking bribes, Russia's Investigative Committee said on Tuesday.  © IMAGO / ITAR-TASS

President Vladimir Putin was informed of the detention of the high-ranking official, a rare move amid the offensive in Ukraine, Russian state media reported.

Anti-corruption activists have for years criticized what they say is widespread corruption under Putin's rule.

"Deputy Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation Timur Vadimovich Ivanov has been detained on suspicion of committing a crime under part 6 of article 290 of the Criminal Code (taking a bribe)," the committee said on Telegram.

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The committee did not give any more details.

The offense is punishable by a large fine or over a decade in prison, depending on the details of the crime.

Ivanov is under sanction from the European Union as the defense ministry's top official in charge of the construction of military facilities.

Ivanov was the subject of an investigation published in 2022 by the banned Anti-Corruption Foundation – created by late opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov suspected of taking bribes

Timur Ivanov (l.) could face a punishment of a large fine or time in prison, depending on the details of the crime.
Timur Ivanov (l.) could face a punishment of a large fine or time in prison, depending on the details of the crime.  © Alexey NIKOLSKIY / POOL / AFP

It said the deputy minister oversaw – and profited from – construction projects in Ukraine's Mariupol, which fell under Moscow's control after a months-long siege.

According to the probe from the organisation, which has been banned in Russia for alleged "extremism", the minister divorced his wife to allow her to bypass EU sanctions.

"Today is a good day," Maria Pevchikh, the head of investigations at the foundation, said on social media.

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Like most high-profile opposition figures, Pevchikh was forced into exile by the Kremlin's repression.

Most of the opposition remaining in Russia is behind bars.

Navalny, who galvanized masses by exposing corruption under Putin, died in prison in mid February.

Cover photo: IMAGO / ITAR-TASS

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