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Russia: Two new army officials arrested for corruption and “abuse of power”

Arrests continue in the Russian army. A senior headquarters official and a soldier in charge of public defense were placed in custody for corruption and “abuse of power” respectively, investigators announced Thursday. Since the end of April, including these two new arrests, at least five generals and officials have been arrested in Russia. The defense minister was replaced on May 12 in a surprise reshuffle.

The Kremlin on Thursday denied any purge campaign, insisting it was a fairly standard anti-corruption operation. “The fight against corruption is a continuous effort, not a campaign” of purges, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov assured the press. “It’s part of what our law enforcement agencies do. »

videoSergei Shoigu, fired Russian Defense Minister

Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications General Vadim Chamarin, detained by a military tribunal on Wednesday, is accused of “receiving a particularly large bribe,” the Investigative Committee, which oversees major criminal cases in Russia, said in a Telegram. If convicted, he faces up to fifteen years in prison.

At the beginning of the evening, the Investigative Committee also announced the arrest and placement under preventive measures of an official of the Russian Ministry of Defense. “The head of the department of public procurement of the Russian Ministry of Defense, Vladimir Verteletsky, has been charged with abuse of power,” the agency’s interlocutor said, assuring that he accepted “unfinished work” in 2022 as part of the implementation of the state order. , causing damage amounting to more than 70 million rubles (710,000 euros at the current exchange rate).

Minister of Defense replaced

The defense sector has been plagued by corruption scandals for many years. However, since the end of April, arrests have become more frequent, affecting both the Ministry of Defense and the military command. Previously, Vadim Chamarin and Vladimir Verteletsky, Deputy Minister of Defense Timur Ivanov and Yuri Kuznetsov, who oversees human resources in the ministry, were arrested for corruption.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was replaced by economist Andrei Belousov. The change was justified by President Vladimir Putin as a need to “optimize” military spending, which had skyrocketed following the attack on Ukraine, a campaign that was supposed to be lightning fast but lasted more than two years. Another Russian general, Ivan Popov, the former commander of the 58th Army fighting in Ukraine, was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of “fraud.” According to him, last summer he was fired after he spoke about the difficulties faced by Russian troops at the front.

Corruption in the highest echelons of the Russian military was one of the criticisms leveled by the leader of the Wagner paramilitary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who led a failed uprising in June 2023 and died in a plane crash.

Source: Le Parisien

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