Yevgeny Prigozhin finally takes revenge from beyond the grave

Less than 24 hours after Vladimir Putin fired his defense minister after specifically blaming him for failure in the war against Ukraine, another senior Defense Ministry official was lifted from bed by masked security forces.

Counterintelligence agents reportedly arrived heavily armed to arrest Lieutenant General Yuri Kuznetsov, head of the Defense Ministry’s personnel department, on bribery charges on Monday. The investigation committee announced A press release Tuesday that Kuznetsov is currently in pretrial detention on widespread bribery charges.

The charges against him remain, for the most part, unclear. Investigators say that from 2021 to 2023, while serving as head of the 8th Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Kuznetsov accepted bribes from business enterprises in exchange for “carrying out certain actions for them.”

His arrest comes just weeks after Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov was charged with bribery in what was widely seen as a major blow to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Shoigu was replaced by Putin on Sunday in a surprise move that led to his replacement by civilian economist Andrei Belousov. The Kremlin has explained the move by saying that the country’s Defense Ministry should be “completely open to innovation” and Belousov fits that bill.

The Kremlin has insisted that Shoigu’s new position as head of the Security Council should not be seen as a step down, but Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, reported that Putin had lost confidence in Shoigu’s ability to handle the war amid corruption in the country. Ministry of Defense. The report cited Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s dramatic mutiny last year as another possible reason for Shoigu’s dismissal.

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In the wake of Kuznetsov’s arrest, Kremlin media portrayed it as part of an “anti-corruption purge” in the Defense Ministry, with Belousov now tasked with cleaning up the mess created by Shoigu. “A lot of money has come into the Department of Defense, and the budget has doubled as a result [war]. “As we saw with the arrest of Timur Ivanov, the corruption situation goes beyond reasonable limits.” interview Tuesday with Komsomolskaya Pravda.

In one fell swoop, Shoigu’s legacy appears to have been cemented as one of wartime corruption and incompetence, while at the same time, anyone tired of the war against Ukraine continuing into its third year can blame rampant corruption in the military rather than corruption in the military. Kremlin.

Not surprisingly, pro-war bloggers associated with Prigozhin celebrated the news of Kuznetsov’s arrest on Tuesday. Prigozhin had famously called for the ouster of Shoigu and everyone in his circle during his brief uprising against the military last June, just a month before he was killed in a fiery plane crash widely viewed as an assassination.

“Straight into the fire,” wrote one of the Wagner-linked Telegram channels reporting on the “malice” Kuznetsov and Ivanov.

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