A well-known Russian judge known for being “independent-minded and incorruptible” was one of at least four people killed in the Oct. 8 explosion on the Kerch Bridge that links Russia to Crimea, according to news reports.
Sergey Maslov, 42, a judge of the Moscow Arbitration Court, was in a Cadillac Escalade with three others when the explosion occurred, according to the U.K. Mirror. Maslov “had investigated family members of Putin’s cronies as well as energy company Gazprom, which has close links to the oligarch,” according to the news outlet.
Initial reports had suggested that the explosion originated from a truck on the bridge, though the new information about the identity of the blast victims has led some to question that theory.
Others riding in the vehicle were identified as Eduard Chuchakin, 53; his wife Zoya Sofronova, 33; and fitness instructor Gleb Orgetkin, 26; according to Moscow newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets, which first reported Maslov’s death.
MK reported that the couple was long-time friends of Maslov, who was apparently taking time off to visit Crimea, where he owned property.
The Mirror quoted an unnamed legal source who said Maslov was an “‘unusually independent-minded and incorruptible’ [judge] who ruled on ‘sensitive cases’ involving business disputes.”
Because he was involved in many high-profile cases, his death has caused some to wonder whether the explosion was a targeted attack.
5) According to telegram channels, Maslov had a reputation of “unbribeable” judge. And had many really controversial cased behind him. Maybe he was a nuisance to someone?
— Sumimoto (@SumimotoZero) October 11, 2022
Russian authorities have described the bridge bombing as an “act of terrorism” and pointed the finger of blame at Ukraine.
Was this a targeted killing?
Yes: 92% (1292 Votes)
No: 8% (114 Votes)
According to The Mirror, former Kremlin president Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of Russia’s security council, claimed, “The failed state of Ukraine is the mastermind and perpetrator of the crime.”
Alexander Bastrykin, who heads the Russian Investigative Committee, also accused Ukrainian intelligence agencies of being behind the attack.
However, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry has denied such claims, with a spokesman saying: “The entire activity of the FSB and the Investigative Committee is nonsense,” Fox News reported.
Meanwhile, traffic on the bridge has been partially restored.
Repair work on the Crimea bridge pic.twitter.com/6OYYugtcTq
— NOËL (@NOELreports) October 14, 2022
Although the explosion caused part of the roadway to collapse, two lanes are now already open for cars.
Russian news agency TASS reported that train service has also resumed on the bridge’s railways.