Russian Deputy Defence Minister Timur Ivanov Accused of Accepting Bribes

A court in Moscow has remanded Russian deputy defence minister Timur Ivanov in custody after he was accused of accepting bribes on a large scale. Ivanov, 47, who denies the charges, has been responsible for overseeing Russia’s military infrastructure projects since his appointment to the defence ministry in 2016.

Critics have long pointed to pervasive corruption in Russia, although high-profile cases like this have been rare since the country’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Ivanov is considered an ally of Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and has collaborated closely with him for many years. Previously, Ivanov served as deputy prime minister of the Moscow region, where Shoigu briefly held the position of governor.

In 2022, the Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF), founded by the late opposition leader Alexei Navalny, alleged that Ivanov had participated in corruption schemes related to construction projects in areas of Ukraine occupied by Russia, specifically citing his involvement in projects in the devastated Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, which suffered extensive damage due to Russian bombing following the invasion of Ukraine.

Reuters Timur Ivanov in court
Timur Ivanov denied the charges against him when he appeared in court

Moscow’s Basmanny district court has ordered Timur Ivanov to be held in jail for two months on charges related to a criminal conspiracy involving third parties in his capacity overseeing the construction and renovation of defense ministry facilities. If convicted, Ivanov could face up to 15 years in prison. Another individual, Sergei Borodin, described as a friend of Ivanov, also appeared in court in Moscow facing similar charges.

Ivanov has denied the allegations brought by Russia’s Investigative Committee. His detention falls under Part 6 of article 290 of Russia’s criminal code, applicable when a suspected bribe exceeds one million roubles (£8,620; $10,700).

The arrest of Ivanov is a rare occurrence targeting a member of Russia’s governing elite, many of whom are suspected of using their positions to amass significant personal wealth.

Some Russian commentators suggest that Ivanov’s arrest may impact Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. “If he can’t handle it, he will be the next to fall. This person is 100% his ally,” an anonymous source told a prominent military Telegram channel.

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