MOSCOW, August 14 (RAPSI) – On Friday, the Moscow Garrison Military Court sentenced former Army Commander Colonel General Vladimir Chirkin to five years in a maximum-security penitentiary and stripped him of his military rank, and state and departmental awards, RAPSI reports from the courtroom.

Chirkin was only allowed to keep the Order of Courage, which he received for service during the Chechen campaign. The court also ruled that the defendant should repay a 450,000 ruble ($7,000) bribe and over 34,000 rubles ($ 531) worth of court expenses.

After his release, Chirkin will not be allowed to work at state agencies for three years.

Chirkin’s lawyer, Roman Sklyar, said the defense team would appeal the verdict.

Prosecutors claim that Chirkin took a bribe to help Major Vladimir Lopanov of the reserves, who had served with the Moscow Military District, receive a one-room apartment to which he was entitled under law.

After paying the bribe, Lopanov was unable to move into the apartment, which was already occupied by another ex-soldier. Lopanov tried unsuccessfully to get his money back and later complained to a prosecutor’s office.

Chirkin pleaded not guilty in this case and claimed that the intermediaries deceived Lopanov. They allegedly extorted money from him, using the general’s name as a cover.