Tanks, trains, sanctions and other russian problems.
A few weeks ago, a Russian army officer was arrested for allegedly stealing and selling off the engines out of T-90 battle tanks. According to his charge sheet Colonel Alexander Denisov is accused of stealing seven V-92S2 engines worth around £200,000 between November 2021 and April 2022. When it was introduced in 2000, the V-92S2 engine was considered the best and most powerful tank engine in the Russian army, so their theft is a serious matter. Before his arrest, the Colonel Denisov oversaw technical support for tanks in the Southern Military District, and it was at this location that he was arrested.
Now there had been other stories about corruption in the Russian armed forces, with soldiers having been sent into battle with rusty weapons, broken radios, out of date medical kits and inadequate uniforms. However, this example has taken military graft to another level entirely. Selling off the engines used in one’s own tanks is probably the most egregious example of corruption one could possibly imagine, especially given that it took place close to the front line during a time of war.
And it might be relevant to ask who could have been the intended eventual customers for these engines. Apart from the Russian army, the only other people in the area who drive and use T-90 tanks are the Ukrainian Army. This is something interesting to ponder. Would a member of the Russian army sell his own arms to his enemy? While it does seem far-fetched, we note that this was documented as happening in Russia’s Second Chechen War from 2000 to 2009, where starving Russian conscripts sold their own weapons to Chechen insurgents.