Russia Detains Senior General, Widening Military Purge

Russia Detains Senior General, Widening Military Purge

Russian safety brokers detained a senior common early Tuesday, widening a purge of the nation’s sprawling Defense Ministry amid President Vladimir V. Putin’s broader shake-up of his authorities.

Lt. Gen. Yuri Kuznetsov, who oversaw the ministry’s personnel division, was detained on an accusation of “large-scale” bribery, Russia’s Investigative Committee, a federal regulation enforcement company, mentioned in an announcement on Tuesday.

His detention got here after Mr. Putin unexpectedly eliminated his long-serving protection minister, Sergei Okay. Shoigu, from his put up and changed him with a member of his financial staff.

Prosecutors mentioned General Kuznetsov obtained a bribe from “business pursuits” between 2021 and 2023, when he labored on the safety of state secrets and techniques on the Armed Forces’ General Staff. The prosecutors claimed that safety brokers found money equal to $1 million and luxurious objects throughout a search of General Kuznetsov’s house.

A profession officer, General Kuznetsov labored on the General Staff for 13 years earlier than assuming his put up within the Defense Ministry in 2023.

A photograph made obtainable by the Russian Defense Ministry of Lt. Gen. Yuri Kuznetsov. Credit…Russian Defense Ministry, through Associated Press

General Kuznetsov is the second senior Russian protection official to be detained previously month. A deputy protection minister, Timur Ivanov, was detained and charged in April with the identical crime, “large-scale” bribery.

Mr. Ivanov was identified for the extravagant life-style of his spouse and was extensively seen as a protégé of Mr. Shoigu. Mr. Putin’s broader reshuffle of senior safety posts this week signifies a deal with bettering the administration of Russian army sources, to be able to outlast Ukraine in a battle of attrition. This deal with useful resource administration may partly clarify the federal government’s makes an attempt to indicate motion towards graft.

Russia’s Defense Ministry has lengthy been extensively perceived as a hotbed of corruption. Some analysts have mentioned the systematic pilfering of state protection contracts was one of many causes for the Russian Army’s disastrous preliminary invasion of Ukraine in 2022, when nominally modernized divisions had been despatched into battle with outdated and inadequate gear.

In Russia, ultranationalist supporters of the battle in Ukraine have blamed what they understand as greed and aloofness of senior generals for heavy army losses and meager territorial positive aspects.

Mr. Shoigu’s chief rival, the ultranationalist warlord Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, final 12 months seized on this in style discontent with senior command to launch a mutiny that got here inside 120 miles of Moscow, briefly shaking Mr. Putin’s maintain on energy. (Mr. Prigozhin finally backed down, and died a number of months later in a aircraft crash.)

Prominent ultranationalist commentators have greeted the arrests of Mr. Ivanov and General Kuznetsov, in addition to the demotion of Mr. Shoigu, with muted glee, suggesting high-level army corruption stays a galvanizing situation for the battle’s supporters, in addition to a political menace to Mr. Putin.

Mikhail Zvinchuk, one in every of Russia’s most-read army bloggers, wrote on Monday that he hoped Mr. Shoigu’s demotion would result in “a complete audit and overhaul of all monetary fashions of the Defense Ministry.”

Another pro-war army blogger, Kirill Fedorov, who has half 1,000,000 subscribers on Telegram, a messaging app, on Tuesday titled a video about General Kuznetsov’s arrest “Is it 1937 once more?,” a reference to Joseph Stalin’s brutal purge of generals and different members of the Soviet elite.


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