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Bribes and state secrets Former police officer sentenced to eight years in prison after accusing his superiors of dealing drugs


In Russia’s Republic of Khakassia, the region’s Supreme Court has sentenced former police officer Yuri Zaitsev to eight years in a prison colony, reports the news outlet Taiga.Info. Zaitsev, who previously led a unit in the Khakassian Interior Ministry’s drug control department, was found guilty of taking bribes and disclosing state secrets. He was also fined 156,000 rubles ($2,055) and stripped of his rank of lieutenant colonel. The defense plans to appeal the verdict.

According to state investigators, in December 2018, Zaitsev was corresponding with a drug dealer online and for a bitcoin bribe equivalent to 52,000 rubles (about $685), agreed to arrest a pawnbroker who had stolen drugs from the dealer. In addition, Zaitsev allegedly gave the drug dealer information about planned arrests. 

The case against Zaitsev was opened in March 2019. According to his wife, Elena Zaitseva, shortly beforehand Zaitsev learned that senior officials in the regional drug control department were offering protection to online drug traffickers and demanded that they stop. In response, he was fired from the service for “misconduct” and “defaming the honor” of another law enforcement officer. Zaitsev challenged his dismissal in court, but lost the suit. 

Elena Zaitseva said that the investigators received the tip off about her husband allegedly taking a bribe from a drug dealer from the Khakassian Interior Ministry’s drug control department head Evgeny Lysykh — one of the high-ranking police officers who Zaitsev suspected of involvement in drug trafficking.

In November 2019, Zaitsev published an appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin, in the form of a video message where he spoke in detail about the criminal scheme. After that, a case was open against him for disclosing state secrets — because he had shown images of his classified correspondence with the drug dealer on camera. Zaitsev was removed from house arrest and sent to a pre-trial detention center.

Yuri Zaitsev’s appeal to Vladimir Putin
IA Khakassia

The Khakassian Interior Ministry called Zaitsev’s actions an “attempt to discredit the agency.” The ministry’s Internal Inspection Service launched an investigation at the end of 2019, but there’s been no word about its results. 

Summary by Grigory Levchenko

Translation by Eilish Hart

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