Vadim Shamarin
Vadim Shamarin accused of taking 'particularly large bribe' as series of security figures dismissed or held
Head and shoulders shot of Vadim Shamarin in uniform
A court in Russia has ordered a senior general to be held in pre-trial detention on corruption charges as President Vladimir Putin shakes up his security team.

Vadim Shamarin, head of the communications department of the Russian general staff, faces up to 15 years in prison for allegedly receiving a "particularly large bribe", the court said on Thursday.

Shamarin is the fourth senior defence figure arrested in the past month, more than two years after Putin ordered the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman, on Thursday told reporters that "the fight against corruption [ . . .] isn't a campaign, it's work that is always ongoing".

Peskov denied there was a crackdown in the ministry and said the fight against corruption "will continue in every agency โ€” be that at the federal or the municipal level".

Though Russia has since slowly gained the upper hand against Ukraine's outmanned, outgunned forces, Putin is reshuffling his defence team: he appointed economist Andrei Belousov as defence minister last week and made his predecessor Sergei Shoigu secretary of the security council.

The surprise move was prefigured by the arrest of Timur Ivanov, a deputy minister close to Shoigu, on corruption charges late last month.

The Kremlin has said the changes are part of an effort to harness Russia's record Rbs10.8tn ($117.2bn) in annual defence spending more effectively.

Factories are working around the clock in multiple shifts to sharply ramp up production of weapons and ammunition, while Russia is also trying to sustain the imports of critical components for its defence industry from countries such as China.

Putin has continued to publicly back Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov, who he has said will remain in his role as chief of Russia's general staff. But the high turnover at lower levels indicates that a larger shake-up is still under way.

The corruption charges against Ivanov โ€” who is notorious for his opulent lifestyle and reported love triangle involving another deputy defence minister โ€” were widely interpreted as a sign that Putin wanted to make broader changes in the defence sector.

In subsequent weeks, Russia arrested Yuri Kuznetsov, a head of the ministry's personnel department, and Ivan Popov, another senior general best known for his criticism of Shoigu.

Other figures emblematic of Shoigu's 12-year tenure at the defence ministry have also been removed.

On Monday, Putin dismissed Yuri Sadovenko, another deputy minister. Sadovenko's replacement, Oleg Saveliev, is a former aide to Belousov who most recently was in charge of auditing the defence ministry at a government accountability body.

Rossiyana Markovskaya, a former spokesperson for Shoigu, also said on Wednesday that she was leaving for a new job.

Shoigu and Russia's top commander in Ukraine, Gerasimov, have become targets for ire among hardliners unhappy with their conduct of the war following a series of humiliating battlefield failures, as well as problems with supplying troops.

The anger eventually bubbled over into a failed coup attempt last year led by Wagner paramilitary group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin, who died in a mysterious plane crash two months later.

Prigozhin had channelled what appeared to be widespread anger at Shoigu's habit of wearing a general's uniform bedecked with medals despite never having served in the military, along with his family's opulent lifestyle and an apparent reluctance to tell Putin the truth about the war.

Comment: Evidently this anger wasn't as widespread as some had hoped, because it turned out to be the 'coup' that never really was.

Shortly after the failed coup, Shoigu dismissed Popov, who told his troops that "senior bosses" had "evidently sensed some sort of deadly danger in me" after he gave a dire assessment of the situation at the front.