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UK intel: Over 1,000 Russian military bribery cases point to deep corruption problems

An investigation by an independent Russian paper reveals endemic corruption in the Russian military via bribes for services ranging from leave to avoiding frontline deployment, per UK intelligence.
Russian soldiers moments before being hit by an FPV drone near Avdiivka in late 2023. Ukrainian combat footage.
UK intel: Over 1,000 Russian military bribery cases point to deep corruption problems

A probe by an independent Russian newspaper into over one thousand instances of bribery and corruption in the Russian military details an endemic system of set-rate illicit payments for an array of services for troops and commanders, according to the UK Defense Ministry’s intelligence update.

  • Following a review of over a thousand military bribery cases, on 30 January 2024 independent Russian newspaper Verstka published an article on corruption in the Russian Army. Their research identified patterns of corruption and a system of bribes used by Russian servicemembers and their commanders. Bribes were given or demanded for various ‘services’ such as: leave, certification of physical training, military rank, driver licenses, and avoiding disciplinary action against soldiers for using smartphones or who get drunk.
  • After February 2022 the set of ‘services’ was expanded to include injury certificates, awards for participating in the ‘Special Military Operation’ and avoiding being sent on a combat mission. This activity can be very lucrative for corrupt officers. Verstka published the going rates for these ‘services’, ranging from 40,000 roubles (GBP £425) to avoid being sent to the front line up to 1 million roubles (GBP £10.575) for an injury certificate.
  • Corruption has long been a problem in the Russian Armed Forces. The journalist Dmitry Kholodov investigated military corruption in the 1990s and was killed in Moscow by a bomb in a briefcase in October 1994. If is likely that corruption significantly undermines the effectiveness of the Russian military. There is only a remote chance that significant progress will be made in reducing corruption levels.

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