- A colonel of Russia’s General Staff accepted a bribe in the form of a washing machine
- He offered to pass an on-site inspection for a Russian draft office in exchange for the appliance
- The officer was detained and fully admitted his guilt as authorities collected more evidence
A Russian officer offered to pass an on-site inspection in exchange for a $1,150 washing machine, according to reports.
The 235th military garrison court in Moscow has placed Colonel Ivan Mertvishchev of Russia’s General Staff under two months of house arrest over the bribe, the Russian newspaper the Kommersant reported.
Mertvishchev phoned Moscow’s Ramenki District Joint Military Commissariat a week before an on-site inspection and hinted that he knew of the recruitment office’s dire state regarding draftee enrollment, sources told the outlet.
The officer inspecting part of Russia’s fall draft campaign reportedly told the head of the commissariat that the problem could be “solved” in exchange for a washing machine worth at least 70,000 rubles ($1,150).
In response, the head of the recruitment site pretended to agree to Mertvishchev’s terms, but he also filed an extortion report with Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).
After taking control of further negotiations, the agency bought a washing machine that suited Mertvishchev’s request. FSB agents then detained the colonel as he received the appliance.
The Investigative Committee’s 517th military investigation department took Mertvishchev for interrogation and opened a criminal case against him under Part 5, Article 290 of Russia’s Criminal Code (bribery and extortion).
Mertvishchev fully admitted his guilt as the FSB and the investigation team collected evidence.
His defense did not object to the court’s house arrest order and will not appeal the decision.
The FSB and Investigative Committee are now trying to determine whether Mertvishchev has committed similar crimes in the past.
Corruption is pervasive within Russia’s armed forces, and the problem is now seen in some regards as a part of military life, according to the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).
“Corruption in the Russian armed forces occurs from the top to the bottom, leading to shortages of skills and equipment, and ultimately reduced performance in combat,” the United Kingdom-based think tank claimed.
The situation may not be universal since there is evidence that some Russian units are better motivated and equipped than others, which indicates that corruption has not prevented those units from receiving the equipment necessary to perform their roles.