Rampant corruption in Russian military compromising effectiveness says UK Ministry of Defense
The British Ministry of Defense released a statement on Friday recognizing the deep-seated corruption within the Russian military, which significantly undermines their effectiveness. With the invasion of Ukraine, they stated that the scale of corruption in the Russian army had escalated even further.
The Ministry of Defense, in a daily intelligence report, referred to an article issued on January 30 by the independent Russian portal, Wiorstka, focusing on military corruption.
The authors of this article examined corruption mechanisms employed by soldiers and their commanders, grounding their analysis on over 1,000 recorded corruption incidents.
Bribery within the Russian Military
The article exposes how bribes are often exchanged for various "services." This may include leave permits, fitness test certifications, rank promotions, vehicle operation rights, and evading disciplinary actions for using a smartphone or exhibiting signs of intoxication.
The intelligence report noted that as of February 2022, the portfolio of "services" for which soldiers may receive bribes has expanded. It also includes injury certifications, accolades for participating in a "special military operation" (i.e., the invasion of Ukraine), or evading deployment on a combat mission.
As claimed by the independent portal, Wiorstka, such practices can prove profitable for corrupt officers. As published in the article, the rates for these actions range from 40,000 rubles ($530) for not being deployed to the frontline to 1 million rubles ($13,253) for injury confirmation.
A Tragic Instance
The intelligence bulletin stresses that corruption is a long-standing issue in the Russian armed forces. They reminded me of the sorrowful case involving journalist Dmitry Kholodov, who, while probing into this issue in the early 1990s, lost his life in a suitcase bomb explosion in October 1994.
In its statement, the Ministry of Defense stated: "Corruption likely significantly impairs the effectiveness of the Russian military. The likelihood of significant progress in cutting levels of corruption is minimal."