Russia Detains Governor of a Province for Corruption

Authorities in Russia launched a criminal investigation against the governor of the Udmurtia region Alexander Solovyov for allegedly taking some US$ 2.5 million in bribes, the country's Investigative Committee said in a statement Tuesday.

Рабочая встреча с исполняющим обязанности главы Удмуртии Александром Соловьевым - 2Alexander Solovyov (Photo: The Presidential Press and Information Office, CC BY 4.0)Solovyov — who has governed the region in the Volga Federal District since 2014 — was taken to Moscow and the capital’s Basmanny district court ordered his arrest for two months "as a pretrial measure," according to state media.

From 2014 to 2016, Solovyov allegedly accepted bribes totaling 139 million rubles (US$ 2.48 million) from contractors constructing bridges in his region, as well as a 2.7 million ruble (US$ 48,100) share in a "profit-making organization," the Investigative Committee statement said.

In return, Solovyov allegedly helped the contractors receive "extraordinary and immediate" payment from the federal and regional budgets and to obtain licenses for the exploration and extraction of sand and gravel.

"In the near future, investigators plan to bring charges against him and apply for a remand," the Investigative Committee spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko told TASS.

Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed Soloyvov from his post due to "loss of trust," and later appointed Civic Chamber head Aleksandr Brechalov as the republic's acting head, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Soloyvov is the highest level official to be arrested since the March 26 anti-corruption protests lead by opposition leader Alexei Navalny.