Ivanov’s corruption. Bribery, kickbacks and luxury in Russia’s Defence Ministry
Оля Ромашова
Ivanov’s corruption. Bribery, kickbacks and luxury in Russia’s Defence Ministry
24 April 2024, 18:10

Deputy Defence Minister Timur Ivanov. Photo: Reuters

On Monday, the Basmanny District Court in Moscow put Deputy Defence Minister Timur Ivanov under arrest on a charges of receiving “an especially large” bribe. Sergei Shoigu’s 49-year-old deputy was responsible for logistics within the ministry, including property management, housing, and medical support. Long before his arrest, Ivanov had repeatedly been the subject of publications about corruption in the Ministry of Defence.

On the evening of April 23, Deputy Defence Minister Timur Ivanov had been detained in a case involving “an especially large” bribe. He faces up to 15 years in prison. Just that morning, he had attended a Ministry of Defence official meeting chaired by Minister Sergei Shoigu, as noted by RBC. The deputy minister was detained at his workplace, TASS adds, citing law enforcement agencies.

The amount of the bribe was not reported. TASS’s figure, which claims that the amount is “no less than one million roubles,” can be deduced by simply looking at the wording of the relevant article of the Criminal Code.

Charges and Arrest

The next day, the Basmanny District Court in Moscow sent Ivanov into custody for two months. The hearing was held without journalists present: the court’s press service did not notify the press about it. In the courtroom, Ivanov was in his military uniform, but he was led out of the building in civilian clothes, judging by the footage from SHOT.

Investigators believe that Ivanov “entered into a criminal conspiracy with third parties” to “receive property services during the conduct of contract and subcontract work for the needs of the Ministry of Defence.” However, Ivanov’s lawyer claims that “there was no fact of bribe transfer in Ivanov’s case, and money does not figure as the subject of the bribe.”

Along with Ivanov, his friend and business partner Sergei Borodin was also arrested. He is also accused of receiving a bribe. Investigative journalist Sergei Yezhov wrote that Borodin is Ivanov’s long-time business manager and one of the nominal owners of his properties.

Celebration in Z-Channels

On Telegram, the so-called Z-channels run by the loyal warmongering crowd rejoiced at the arrest of Ivanov. For example, the channel Fighterbomber, which is associated with the Russian Aerospace Forces, simply writes “Finally!”, while former deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Oleh Tsariov, who now lives in Russia, claims that “at the front, they are rejoicing as if they had taken a large settlement.” “But the joy is incomplete, they are waiting for a continuation, just in case,” Tsariov adds.

At the same time, prior to Timur Ivanov’s detention, the Z-blogger community has refrained from criticizing him, he was only praised. For example, milblogger Alexander Sladkov called Timur Ivanov a hero, Boris Rozhin posted two positive press releases, and Evgeny Poddubny posted one.

Timur Ivanov and Sergei Shoigu

Ivanov has been working with Sergei Shoigu since 2012: at that time, the current head of the Ministry of Defence briefly held the post of governor of the Moscow region, and Ivanov was deputy chairman of the regional government. Proekt reported that Ivanov received the post in the regional government at Shoigu’s invitation.

Following Shoigu’s appointment as head of the military department, Ivanov also moved to the Ministry of Defence. He became the general director of JSC Oboronstroy, subordinate to the Ministry of Defence, and later became Shoigu’s deputy.

At the Ministry of Defence, Ivanov was responsible for major construction projects: the Main Cathedral of the Russian Armed Forces, Patriot Park, submarine bases in Kamchatka, and the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Amur region of the Far East.

A Verstka source recalls how, during a press tour of the Vostochny, journalists noticed that the facility’s passport had the completion date pasted over several times—first 2015, then 2016, and so on. Ivanov “yelled obscenities” at the officers in charge of building the cosmodrome: “Damn it, couldn’t you have re-pasted it or what?” He forbade journalists from writing about this incident.

After the capture of Mariupol in Ukraine, the general was appointed as the curator of projects to restore the city destroyed by the Russian army.

General of Corruption

In December 2022, Alexei Navalny’s team released an investigation into Timur Ivanov. They studied the email archive of Ivanov’s ex-wife Svetlana Zakharova. Ivanov and Zakharova married in 2009 and divorced in June 2022. Ivanov has been under EU sanctions since October 2022.

Ivanov’s new wife is Maria Kitaeva, an official at the Ministry of Defence.

According to Navalny’s team, the military official’s family had a luxurious lifestyle. For example, from 2010 to 2018, the couple rented villas in Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera every summer, spending about 850,000 euros on this. Another 250,000 euros went to yacht rentals and 200,000 to the purchase and maintenance of a Rolls-Royce Corniche. In addition, according to information from Zakharova’s email, she spent at least 400,000 euros on designer clothes from Dolce&Gabbana, Ulysse Nardin and Breitling watches for her husband, and antiques.

Navalny’s team found out that in 2012, Ivanov bought a three-storey 1821 manor house in Chisty lane in Moscow for 600 million roubles. According to the investigation, repair and construction work there was carried out by contractors of the Ministry of Defence—the companies Albatros and Oboronspetsstroy. These companies are now building residential buildings in Mariupol. Investigators believed that Ivanov received kickbacks from these firms in exchange for providing large government contracts.

Editor: Dmitry Treschanin

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