Skip to main content

166 names Investigative journalists at Proekt collect data on the military officials commanding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Many were born and raised there.

Source: Proekt
Vadim Savitsky / TASS

The investigative news website Proekt has published a database of information about Russian military units currently fighting in Ukraine. In total, the database names 166 commanding officers, offering varying degrees of detail about each individual’s activities and biography, as well as information about their income, property, debts, and any recorded fines. Nearly two dozen of the officials identified were born or raised in Ukraine.

According to Proekt, the average officer commanding one of Russia’s infantry units in Ukraine earned roughly 270,000 rubles ($4,600) per month in 2019 (for comparison, deputy defense ministers earned an average monthly salary of about 1.2 million rubles, or $20,485). Division and brigade commanders, on the other hand, were paid roughly 160,000 rubles ($2,730) per month. Meanwhile, property declarations indicate that army and division commanders typically own “one or two small apartments.”

Proekt’s journalists found debts (including for alimony and housing and utilities payments) registered with 54 of the 166 officers. Thirty-four of the military personnel on the list had traffic tickets, and some have lost their driver’s licenses for driving under the influence of alcohol or causing road collisions. Some of the officers have even been added to “stoplists” and “blacklists” at Russian banks due to financial problems.

For example, there’s Colonel Igor Koleda, who commanded the 30th Motorized Rifle Brigade’s attack on Kharkiv. According to Proekt’s report, Koleda has failed to pay alimony to his ex-wife. Also, two years ago, he was fined for ignoring orders from a prosecutor’s office to fire a subordinate officer involved in corruption.

At least 20 of the officers on Proekt’s list are “tied to Ukraine, one way or another.” In other words, they were born in Ukraine or grew up there. Major General Oleg Makovetsky, the commander of Russia’s 6th Air Force Army, is a native of the Kharkiv region. Ukrainian prosecutors say it was Makovetsky who ordered the bombing of residential areas in and around Kharkiv. Lieutenant General Mikhail Zusko was born in Ukraine’s Volyn region. As commander of Russia’s 58th Army, Zusko helped lead the invasion of the Mykolaiv region, invading from Crimea. Ukrainian officials say he was also involved in the Donbas war in 2014.

Of the 166 people on Proekt’s list, at least 20 have been killed during the war in Ukraine, where at least four of these soldiers were born and raised.

Translation of Meduza’s summary by Kevin Rothrock