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Conflicts, Military and War"It’s been worse" - the ex-commander of the Russian Army was left in pre-trial detention

“It’s been worse” – the ex-commander of the Russian Army was left in pre-trial detention

Ex-commander of the 58th Army Popov refused to be transferred from pre-trial detention center to house arrest

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The former commander of the 58th Army, Ivan Popov, who was arrested in a fraud case, refused to change the preventive measure from detention in a pre-trial detention center to house arrest. The major general was also charged, but he did not admit guilt. According to the investigation, Popov was involved in the theft of over 1.7 thousand tons of rolled metal products intended for the construction of defensive structures in the Zaporizhzhia direction. The general has a good reputation among the military and military commanders, and his supporters do not believe he is guilty.

The former commander of the 58th Army, Major General Ivan Popov, was charged with fraud committed by an organized group of persons on an especially large scale using his official position, the TASS agency reports.

“He (Popov – Gazeta.Ru) denies all the charges, since he is not involved in what the investigation charges him with,”   — lawyer Sergei Buinovsky told the agency.

Both the investigation and the defense asked the court to review the preventive measure and assign Popov house arrest. The lawyer said that Popov came to interrogations on time. In addition, he cannot put pressure on witnesses and hide abroad.

Popov was not immediately brought for consideration of his request to be transferred to house arrest. At first, the general and his lawyer did not come to the scheduled meeting, and it was postponed to May 27, RIA Novosti wrote. At about 14:30 Moscow time, Popov was finally brought to the meeting, accompanied by military police and in handcuffs.

“Show, huh?” — with these words, General Popov walked past the journalists.

Initially, journalists were allowed into the meeting; a SHOT correspondent recorded the following dialogue:

–  Judge: Ivan Ivanovich, today you will have to get up more often than usual…

–  Popov: Getting up is useful, to be honest…

During the meeting, as “Caution News” writes, Popov was in a good mood and joked.
In particular, he ironically stated that “he was on a business trip to the Investigative Committee of Russia .”

Popov was guarded by five people: three military police officers armed with machine guns and two bailiffs. However, the meeting was soon transferred to a closed session at the request of the investigator and the prosecutor. According to the prosecutor, it is necessary to close the process “to ensure security, since Popov is an active officer participating in a special military operation.”

The Major General left this issue to the discretion of the court, after which the media representatives were removed from the room.

“It would be better if they filmed this actively and en masse in Zaporizhzhia,” Popov told reporters.

It was expected that the court would decide to release the ex-commander of the 58th Army from the pre-trial detention center on his own recognizance and place him under house arrest, because both the defense and the military investigation insisted on this. However, the judge rejected the request. The general will remain in jail.

“It could have been worse,” he said, commenting on the court’s decision.

Arrest and criminal case

On May 17, the 235th Garrison Military Court arrested Major General Popov for two months in a criminal case of fraud on a particularly large scale, as per TASS.

According to investigators, Popov was involved in the theft in 2023 of more than 1,700 tons of rolled metal products purchased by the military-civil administration of the Zaporizhzhia region in order to provide humanitarian assistance.

“These materials were intended for equipping engineering defensive structures on the line of combat contact. Their cost is over 130 million rubles,” the Investigative Committee said in a statement.

Despite the gravity of the charges, the Main Military Investigation Department of the Russian Investigative Committee petitioned to change Popov’s preventive measure from detention to house arrest. The investigation explained its decision by taking into account “data characterizing the person involved in the criminal case,” as well as “other circumstances established during the investigation.”

In a conversation with SHOT, State Duma deputy Lieutenant General Viktor Sobolev said that he did not believe Popov was guilty, and emphasized that his units, in principle, did not need metal structures.

There are two more defendants in the case – an entrepreneur from the Krasnodar Territory and an officer of the Southern Military District, wrote the Mash Telegram channel.

Reputation in the army

In July 2023, Popov said that he was removed from his post after he reported problems and criticized the decisions of the leadership of the Ministry of Defense.

He claimed that he raised important issues regarding combat work and support for the armed forces “frankly, extremely harshly” and “called a spade a spade.” In his report, he spoke about the lack of counter-battery combat, the absence of artillery reconnaissance stations and the injuries of fellow soldiers from artillery.

The general’s address, which was probably originally intended only for colleagues, was published by State Duma deputy Andrei Gurulev, who in the past also commanded the 58th Army.

“General Popov’s appeal was non-public and posted in closed chats of commanders and soldiers of the 58th Army,” Andrei Turchak, First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council and Secretary of the General Council of United Russia, reacted in his Telegram channel. “The fact that “deputy” Gurulev somehow received it and made a political show out of it, let it remain on his conscience.”

According to Turchak, “the Motherland can be proud of such commanders,” and Ivan Popov’s conscience is clear.

War correspondent Alexander Sladkov wrote about Popov’s arrest that “no one expected this.”

“I never noticed any commercial movement in it. Popov is not a thief. “He is a soldier,” said Sladkov. “In our country, thieves are forgiven or not imprisoned at all.” A soldier cannot always count on this.”

Popov’s detention and arrest occurred against the backdrop of similar actions against other high-ranking Russian military personnel. First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Defense Andrei Krasov said that the detentions of representatives of the Ministry of Defense are related to the systemic fight against corruption.

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Hareem Bajwa
Hareem Bajwa
Editor (Health & Social Issues) at The Eastern Herald. Covering health and social issues.

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