Russian Deputy Defence Minister suspected of treason, say reports

Russian Deputy Defence Minister suspected of treason, say reports
Deputy Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation Timur Ivanov at the Basmanny District Court of Moscow. / Basmanny Court Press Centre
By bne IntelliNews April 25, 2024

Russian Deputy Defence Minister Timur Ivanov, arrested on April 23 on charges of bribery, may actually have been arrested for treason, independent Russian media has reported.

Ivanov has worked in the ministry since 2016, and most recently was tasked with overseeing Russia’s military infrastructure projects, including the rebuilding of occupied Mariupol. He is thought to be a good friend of Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu. 

On April 23, he was arrested by the Federal Security Service (FSB) in his place of work, accused of accepting bribes "on a particularly large scale.”  Prosecutors argue that he then used this money to fund a lavish lifestyle.

Ivanov has been accused by many people, including the deceased opposition figure Alexey Navalny, of being corrupt. Many in Russia have long believed that he has enriched himself and his family through kickbacks from military contracts.

However, citing sources within the FSB, the news outlet iStories has claimed that bribery charges may actually be serving as a cover story for a more serious investigation into treason.

“The bribery charges]are for the public. They don’t want to talk publicly about treason right now. It’s a big scandal,” one of the sources told iStories

Another source stated that President Vladimir Putin himself ordered the arrest.

According to Russian state media, Ivanov will be remanded in custody in Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo Prison.

In 2022, Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation reported that Ivanov’s family had bought numerous high-value properties near Moscow. Subsequently, an investigation found that Ivanov’s wife, Svetlana Zakharova, had spent substantial sums on jewellery, designer clothing, and trips in Europe, mainly to Paris. It was alleged that much of these expenses were funded by military contractors.