Russia: deputy defence minister arrested

Timur Ivanov, Russia's deputy defence minister in charge of military infrastructure projects has been arrested in Moscow. The wealthy top-ranking official who is considered a close confidant of his boss Sergei Shoigu is accused of accepting bribes. Commentators speculate on what is behind the affair.

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Abbas Gallyamov (RU) /

Repression gobbling up its own

Political scientist Abbas Galliamov does not believe in the official justification for the arrest. He writes on Facebook:

“A nice story that well illustrates the morals [of the leadership level]. Because corruption as such is in no way a crime in Putin's eyes. If we're talking about the corruption of someone who is backed by a member of Putin's informal politburo, that's all okay. ... But how nice that their spying mania has reached such a level that they are starting to suspect their own people. When these fools shouted that 'there needs to be a 1937', they were warned that 1937 would hit not only the opposition but also themselves. ... Now we see the result: 'So you were on holiday on the Côte d'Azur? Aha, French spy!'”

La Stampa (IT) /

Possibly just the beginning

La Stampa suspects an internal power struggle is playing out:

“A sensational arrest which, according to many Moscow commentators, points to an internal dispute within the Kremlin, and perhaps also an attack on Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who had promised Putin quick and painless victories. In any case, Ivanov and Shoigu don't seem to be up to the task of conducting the 'existential' war that Putin has set as the mission of his new Kremlin mandate.”

Ilta-Sanomat (FI) /

A good scapegoat

Putin just wanted to show who's boss in the Kremlin again, Ilta-Sanomat is convinced:

“The timing of the arrest was also opportune because Putin is keen to demonstrate his growing power after the staged presidential election in March. Putin's entourage is known for the fact that criminal investigations against its members are very rare. From time to time, however, Putin is compelled to restore discipline and carry out purges within his own ranks. Ivanov makes a good scapegoat for scaring other corrupt leaders. And he could also be blamed for some of the failures of the Russian armed forces in Ukraine.”

Echo (RU) /

Others now plundering his sinecure

Opposition politician and video blogger Maxim Katz is not convinced that this is all about power games. He writes in Echo:

“Many smart alecs will now be drawing big political conclusions and saying that Shoigu's tower has been weakened in someone else's favour. But from what we can see right now, there is no political logic here. Things have just become a little more restless in our glorious snakepit of like-minded people, where everyone is united and there for each other but willing to cut each other's throats at the drop of a hat. The billions of dollars that flowed through Ivanov will now flow through someone else.”