Lt. Gen. Yuri Kuznetsov, Head of Russia’s Defense Ministry personnel department, was arrested during an overnight raid at his home on Monday, according to the Russian State news agency TASS.

Less than a week after Russian Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov was arrested on corruption charges and the day after it was announced that the Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu was being moved aside, Kuznetsov, 55, was taken into custody, accused of accepting bribes.

Kuznetsov was detained as a suspect in a criminal offense “being investigated by the Main Military Investigation Department of the Russian Investigative Committee,” the source said, adding that searches had been carried out at both Kuznetsov’s offices and his home.


The Russian pro-war social media channel, VChK-OGPU, cited law enforcement sources who said that Kuznetsov had been “detained in his own bed.” It said “Counterintelligence officers came for the general fully armed and acted deliberately harshly. The security forces in balaclavas and with crowbars ‘took out’ the gates and windows in [his] mansion in the Istra district.”

While TASS said that the details of the case had not been released, Novaya Gazeta said that Kuznetsov was suspected of accepting a bribe from commercial entities in exchange for “certain actions in their favor.” It also reported that a large sum of money, in both rubles and foreign currency said to be worth over $1 million, as well as gold coins, luxury watches and other items had been found during the searches.

Shoigu Not Sacked, Just Moved Sideways as Putin Tightens Grip on Power
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Shoigu Not Sacked, Just Moved Sideways as Putin Tightens Grip on Power

The world’s media saw the removal of Sergei Shoigu as Russia’s Defense Minister as a punishment for his failure in Ukraine but if viewed in the round it is part of Putin’s plans to cement his power.

Prior to taking charge of the ministry’s personnel directorate in 2023, Kuznetsov for 13 years headed the Russian army’s Eighth Directorate, which is responsible for the protection of state secrets.

The pro-Kremlin Telegram channel Rybar, suggested that the investigation into Kuznetsov was more likely to be linked with his previous post as head of the Eighth Directorate of Russia’s General Staff, which is responsible for technical information security, a post he had held since 2010, only taking over the personnel department in May 2023.


Rybar went on to categorize the decision to detain Kuznetsov as the first of the “predictable purges” that the ministry would suffer following Shoigu’s removal. Another Telegram channel, BRIEF, endorsed that view citing its own law enforcement sources who said that other military officials were likely to face criminal charges in the near future.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the erstwhile head of the Wagner private military company, constantly berated Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov, Russia’s Chief of the General Staff, of military incompetence and corruption.

In the past, corruption has been endemic among senior Russian military officers, politicians and businessmen. As such, the arrests of Ivanov and Kuznetsov are unlikely to signal that the practice will come to an end, as most analysts assume that the new faces who replace them will merely continue similar practices more discreetly.

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