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Why russians Steal the T-72B3 And T-90 Engines From Each Other, And What They Do Next

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russia's T-72B3 / Illustrative photo of pre-war times
russia's T-72B3 / Illustrative photo of pre-war times

This story can testify to the level of corruption not only in russia’s army, but also in the military industry as well

Propaganda resources of the aggressor country report the arrest of Colonel Aleksandr Denisov, head of the service of armored vehicles from the technical support department of russia’s Southern Military District. These sources claim that he stole seven B-92S2 engines for T-72B3 and T-90 tanks "as part of an organized criminal group" between November 2021 and April 2022. However, it is not revealed where and why Denisov stole these tank engines, and what direct interest he had in doing so.

It is interesting that some Kremlin propagandists also write that russia’s ex-deputy minister of defense for logistics, Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, a war criminal who is responsible for the brutal shelling of Mariupol. He lost his post because of such corruption.

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Why russians Steal the T-72B3 And T-90 Engines From Each Other, And What They Do Next, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Demonstration sample of the russian Demonstration sample of the Russian B-92S2 tank engine / Illustrative photo from open sources-92S2 tank engine / Illustrative photo from open sources

Focusing only on this episode of the theft of seven engines for T-72B3 and T-90 tanks on the eve and in the first months of russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Defense Express can make the following assumptions.

It is unlikely that the theft of the V-92S2 took place while transporting from Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant, otherwise the representatives of the military industrial complex would have already been accused. Most likely, Denisov and his companions stole tank engines directly from the warehouses of the russian army, and there could actually be a very wide range of potential buyers.

Why russians Steal the T-72B3 And T-90 Engines From Each Other, And What They Do Next, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
russia's T-90M / Illustrative photo from open sources

Formally, the V-92S2 diesel engine has no other application than the power plant for the T-72B3 and T-90 tanks. But in open sources we can find claims that among russian military there was a very common practice of stealing diesel engines for tanks, and selling them in the civilian market for turning them into diesel power generators, since the V-92S2 is a sufficiently powerful 1,130hp engine.

There may be another option as well: Denisov and his colleagues could have sold stolen tank engines to contractors from russia’s military industry, who might have needed to hide the fact of their own thefts "further down the technological chain".

Why russians Steal the T-72B3 And T-90 Engines From Each Other, And What They Do Next, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
T-72B3 in the Uralvagonzavod workshop / Illustrative photo

Regardless of which of these options will be confirmed, this whole story quite voluminously characterizes the level of corruption both in the russian army and in the russian military-industrial complex.

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