Timur Ivanov, Russia's deputy defense minister, is detained on corruption charges

A Russian deputy defense minister has been arrested on charges of accepting a “large-scale” bribe, the country's top law enforcement investigators announced Tuesday.

The investigative committee's brief announcement revealed few details about what led to the detention of Timur Ivanov, the deputy minister. But the legal statute he is accused of violating involves accepting bribes “on a particularly large scale,” more than a million rubles, or more than $10,000.

The Ministry of Defense did not comment on the investigation.

Ivanov, deputy defense minister since 2016, has long been responsible for military construction projects, including most recently the huge contracts awarded to rebuild the Russian-occupied city of Mariupol in eastern Ukraine, which was devastated by Russian attacks soon after the war of February. Invasion of 2022.

He was also responsible for the construction of Patriot Park, a military-themed space outside Moscow that hosted weapons displays and a Russian Orthodox cathedral that sought to cast the experiences of the Russian military in a sacred light. He has been awarded the Order of Merit of the Fatherland several times.

Ivanov was known as a protégé of Sergei K. Shoigu, the Russian defense minister who is a close aide to President Vladimir V. Putin.

The circumstances surrounding the detention of a deputy minister with such high-ranking connections were not immediately clear. But the past pattern of such arrests has been that the disgraced person had clashed with the business interests of the FSB, the Russian security services or a construction oligarch with even more powerful connections.

“He's not an exception in terms of side deals and unexplained wealth,” said Dara Massicot, an expert on the Russian military at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. “To face this sort of end to your career, you have to have crossed paths with someone.”

Images and reports of the luxurious lifestyle that Mr. Ivanov and his wife enjoy, at a level well beyond the reach of a government salary, have been circulating in Russia for years. A 2022 investigation by the Anti-Corruption Foundation, an organization founded by opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny, said the couple's purchases included a Rolls-Royce, a $104,000 ring and designer clothes, as well as a holiday home and a luxury yacht. rentals on the French Riviera.

The foundation and various news agencies reported that Mr. Ivanov and his wife, Svetlana, completed a sham divorce in June 2022 so that she could continue traveling across Europe even after he was placed under European sanctions.

On Tuesday, government supporters and pro-war news channels were quick to reference the couple's infamous spending habits soon after Ivanov's detention was announced.

Sergei Markov, a conservative Russian political commentator, said the idea that bribes were limited to a million rubles was ridiculous. “No one believes this,” he wrote, noting that the accusation meant accepting significant bribes. “The deputy minister committed not just a crime, but a serious crime. A signal for everyone: don't defend him.”

In a separate development on Tuesday, the Moscow Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church announced on its website that the Rev. Dmitri Safronov, the parish priest who had delivered funeral prayers for Mr. Navalny, will be banned from most public clerical duties for three years. .

The announcement did not specify the official reason for the punishment. But church analysts have speculated online that it may just be presiding over the funeral of the opposition leader, who died in February in a Russian prison. The Russian government reluctantly approved a funeral at a Moscow cemetery after a long standoff with Navalny's mother.

Milana Mazaeva contributed to the reporting.

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