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Putin removes top investigator who oversaw major cases against anti-Kremlin opposition

Vladimir Putin has dismissed a Federal Investigative Committee senior official who was responsible for several major cases over the past decade, including multiple probes into Russia’s anti-Kremlin opposition. The presidential order releasing 40-year-old Major General Rustam Gabdulin is dated December 28, 2021, but it wasn’t reported by the news media until a few days later.

On his Telegram channel, lawyer Sergey Badamshin shared a copy of Putin’s executive order, which uses the phrase “relieved of his post” (not “fired”) — though a source told the newspaper Novaya Gazeta that dismissing a general so young often indicates that criminal charges are pending. Meanwhile, a source told the newspaper Kommersant that Gabdulin might be planning a new career as an attorney.

As a major crimes senior detective, Rustam Gabdulin oversaw the investigative teams that responded to a deadly fire in Kemerovo in March 2018 and a school shooting at Perm State University in September 2021. He also led corruption cases against former Vladivostok Mayor Igor Pushkarev and former RusHydro CEO Evgeny Dod.

Additionally, Gabdulin managed the “money laundering” case against Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, in which official froze the bank accounts of roughly 90 of the group’s members. In 2012 and again in 2019, Gabdulin led major cases against opposition demonstrators in Moscow, charging protesters with rioting.

In October 2019, President Putin honored Gabdulin with the Order I class “For Merit to the Fatherland” medal.

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