Support The Moscow Times!

Russian Traffic Cop's Golden Toilet Steals the Show in Uncovered Police Bribe Scheme

One photo — that of the residence's golden toilet bowl — quickly spread across Russian social media. Alexander Khinshtein / Telegram

Russian investigators said Tuesday they have uncovered a multi-million ruble bribery scheme run by dozens of senior traffic police officers, with the top cop’s golden toilet bowl stealing the show.

In what looked more like a luxury real estate ad, the Investigative Committee published footage of police colonel Alexei Safonov’s opulent residence in southern Russia’s Stavropol region following his detention.

					Alexei Safonov.	
Alexei Safonov.

It said in a statement that Safonov and six of his subordinates were detained on allegations of receiving 19 million rubles ($255,000) in bribes “for several years” in exchange for illicit grain transportation licenses. Safonov faces between 8 and 15 years behind bars if found guilty.

Pro-Kremlin United Russia party lawmaker Alexander Khinshtein said more than 35 members of the Stavropol traffic police department were apprehended as part of a large-scale operation. 

“A real mafia was operating in the region,” Khinshtein, who shared photos of the baroque interior of Safonov’s mansion, said on his social media page.

One photo — that of the residence's golden toilet bowl — quickly went viral and triggered memories of the “Wild East” opulence of post-Soviet capitalism in the 1990s.

News agencies reported that the Stavropol region police chief was sacked after the high-profile raids ensnared what Khinshtein referred to as “the entire top echelon” of traffic police.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more