Russian Iron Man: Russia's Special Forces soldier and Kosovo war veteran fights debt collectors wearing exoskeleton, gets pardoned 

Russian Iron Man: Russia's Special Forces soldier and Kosovo war veteran fights debt collectors wearing exoskeleton, gets pardoned
Anton Maltsev Photo: Life

The Pushkinsky District Court (Moscow region) made an unprecedented decision and pardoned former USSR Main Intelligence Directorate and SOBR Special Forces soldier Anton Maltsev charged with arms trafficking. Debt collects tormented him with relentless chasing to the point where he developed a paranoid disorder, the court ruled.

The court stated Maltsev did not understand what he was doing due to debt collectors’ persecution, according to Life.

The story was published in August 2016. The SOBR veteran had an armory of his own at his place. He possessed explosives, pistols, assault rifles, and even a handmade metal exoskeleton. The veteran needed the firearms to defend against Rosbank collectors, according to investigators. The veteran ran into a $118.000 debt to Rosbank that issued him a real estate loan.

Maltsev suffered from a paranoid disorder, according to a comprehensive assessment by psychologists and psychiatrists working for the Serbsky Center.

Debt collectors tormented Maltsev into having a psychological disorder that drove him towards building his own armory, according to the Court. The Court pardoned Maltsev, as he was suffering a physiological disorder at the time he committed his crimes.

Maltsev’s attorney Denis Shchipakin said his client can neither be found guilty nor innocent since he did not understand what he was doing due to the psychological disorder.

Maltsev is a Chechen and Kosovo wars veteran, according to the Court. After quitting service, 40-year-old Maltsev took a real estate loan from Rosbank in 2008. He used the money to buy an apartment in the Town of Pushkino. The apartment cost 3.4 million rubles ($60.000) initially. However, the price went up to 7.5 million rubles ($132.500) due to the financial crisis and decline in the value of the Russian ruble. He was to repay the bank in 15 years. The veteran had no way of paying off his debt.

Maltsev’s armory confiscated after police search

Maltsev’s armory confiscated after police search

Debt collectors began chasing Maltsev in the late 2000s. They would threaten him, ambush near his home, pour glue into key holes, and annoy him for several years. Maltsev’s wife left him due to his debt to the bank. He began building his armory. Fast forward several years, bailiffs and debt collected failed to evict Maltsev since they were not able to pry his door open.

They tried using a sledge-hammer to make a hole in the wall; a pepper-spray tripwire went off. 

After the raid

After the raid

Russian MIA bomb experts were called. They helped search Maltsev’s apartment. They learned Maltsev had turned his apartment into a fortress. He installed a shelter door instead of a regular one, planted tripwires around the entrance, and built an armory of his own. He possessed both legal – traumatic pistols and a Saiga semi-automatic rifle – and illegal – a commissioned AK assault rifle and lots of pistols (some with suppressors) – firearms. 

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8 kilos of explosives, about a dozen pistols, rifles, and even few grenades for rifle-mounted grenade launchers were found in Maltsev’s apartment. The apartment was littered with cans with metal balls, bullets, and screws. The floor was covered with bullet-proof vests, helmets, a home-made rifle, a crossbow, and firearm spare parts.

However, the one item deserving the most attention is Maltsev’s homemade exoskeleton that earned him the nickname 'Russian Iron Man'.

Maltsev welded the exoskeleton using titanium alloy and reinforcing rods and mounted a helmet on top. He made it so it could be outfitted with a bullet-proof vest. Once, Maltsev armed with the Saiga even chased a debt collector through the yard for all neighbors to see, according to the attorney.

Maltsev’s handmade exoskeleton

Maltsev’s handmade exoskeleton

Maltsev underwent mandatory treatment during the trial. He is still undergoing it. He will soon be assessed by a medical board again. It will judge how much progress the veteran has made in his struggle against the disorder. Maltsev is not going to go to prison, according to the attorney. The exoskeleton is to be destroyed, the court ruled.

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