Anton Maltsev, an ex-member of Russia’s Special Forces and a Kossovo War veteran, was recently pardoned for turning his Moscow apartment into a veritable forces chuck full of traps, firearms and even a DIY titanium exoskeleton he used to fight off debt collectors.
Maltsev’s unusual story first made news headlines in 2016, when military bomb disposal experts were called to break down his apartment door, after debt collectors failed and triggered a pepper-spray trap in their attempt. Inside the apartment, the experts found several tripwire traps, reinforced doors, an AK47, several semi-automatic firearms, numerous pistols, a grenade launched, and eight kilos of explosives. But the most startling discovery was a home-made exoskeleton made up of titanium plates, aluminum, and featuring a bullet-proof helmet and vest. It was this contraption that earned him the nickname “Russian Iron Man”.
It was later revealed that Maltsev had turned his apartment into a fort in order to fight off debt collectors. The Chechen and Kosovo war veteran had taken out a real estate loan from Rosbank, but at one point became unable to make his monthly payments. That’s when Rosbank’s debt collectors started paying him visits. At first, the ex-soldier only had to deal with verbal threats, but that didn’t last long. The collectors started ambushing Maltsev near his home, pouring glue into the keyhole of his apartment door, even breaking his mailbox, in an attempt to scare him into making his loan payments.
At one point, the harassment got so bad that Anton Maltsev started fearing for his family’s safety, so he moved his wife to a rented apartment and started arming himself. As time went by, he turned his apartment into a fortified armory, complete with reinforced doors and tripwire-activated traps.
“One day my patience dried up – the debt collectors moved from words to deeds and broke my mailbox,” Maltsev told a Russian broadcaster, shortly after his arrest. “I hid my wife in a rented apartment in Moscow, and began to arm myself, just in case. I still wanted to live.”
Unable to cope with the constant harassment of the debt collectors, Maltsev’s wife eventually left him. His debt to Rosbank reached $118,000 and the bank decided to evict the ex-soldier and sell his apartment to cover its losses. However, in order to kick him out, they had to first access the home, which they failed to do, despite using heavy-duty sledgehammers. Anton had replaced his old door with that of a fallout shelter, so banging wasn’t going to do much good. That’s when they called the military bomb disposal experts.
After bypassing his traps and discovering Maltsev’s arsenal, the experts notified the local police, who had Maltsev arrested soon after.
The former Special Forces soldier was charged with arms trafficking, but a judge recently pardoned him, after a comprehensive assessment by a team of psychologists and psychiatrists concluded that he had been suffering from a paranoid disorder caused by the debt collectors’ harassment. He is still undergoing treatment for the condition.
Maltsev’s attorney Denis Shchipakin said his client could neither be found guilty nor innocent, as he did not know what he was doing at the time.
Photo: Ria Novosti
Talking about the famous home-made exoskeleton that earned him the nickname “Russian Iron Man”, Anton Maltsev said that it was supposed to give him an advantage over the aggressive debt collectors.
“Finding weapons and bulletproof vests is not a problem in the modern world, however, the numerical superiority of the bandits dictated another solution, after all, they could come themselves wearing vests and armed with rifles,” he said. I decided that the cheapest way (to protect myself) was to make a protective exoskeleton, together with silenced weapons. The suit could take away their advantage. To create it, I used aluminium and titanium, plus a little steel. It was most difficult to find titanium plates for the exoskeleton.”
Maltsev’s exoskeleton was kept as evidence in his trial, but it will now be destroyed.