The ‘Criminal Russia’ Party Meduza summarizes Ilya Yashin's new report on corruption in Russia's ruling political party
Ilya Yashin, a prominent member of the anti-Kremlin opposition, has released a new report, titled “The ‘Criminal Russia’ Party,” examining corruption in Russia's leading political party, United Russia. Yashin focuses on party members who have already been prosecuted for various crimes and members he suspects are involved in illegal activities. Meduza summarizes his findings.
The 60-page report covers four general categories of officials: governors, federal ministers, members of the State Duma, and mayors. Yashin's report relies on open sources, without any new investigative work.
The report begins with the story of Vyacheslav Gayzer, the governor of the Republic of Komi, who successfully led the region starting in 2010, until five years later when it suddenly turned out that he was the head of an organized crime group. In autumn 2015, nearly two dozen people were arrested along with Gayzer, including several senior officials.
Next comes Alexander Khoroshavin, who presided over the region of Sakhalin for eight years until spring 2015, when he was arrested for bribery.
In autumn 2015, Nikolai Denin, who had served as the governor of Bryansk for nearly ten years, was sentenced to four years in prison.
All of these governors were members of United Russia.
The report also mentions the head of the Pskov region, Andrey Turchak, and his alleged involvement in the attack on journalist Oleg Kashin in 2010. After an argument online, Kashin was severely beaten by the guards of a factory supervised by the Turchak family. There are, however, no formal charges against Governor Turchak.
Citing media reports, Yashkin accused former Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov of giving lucrative contracts to the company of his wife, Yelena Baturina. (Law enforcement agencies have not filed complaints against the couple.)
The report mentions two ministers: former Minister of Agriculture Elena Skrynnik and former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov.
Yashin accuses Skrynnik of signing fraudulent leasing agreements in which she earned $35,000, which she allegedly spent on a purse. He also claims she spent another 50,000 euros on a wristwatch. Today, Skrynnik lives abroad, though she did travel to Russia for questioning on charges of embezzlement at the Ministry of Agriculture.
Yashin says Serdyukov was involved in a corruption scandal at the Ministry of Defense. In 2012, it became clear that the agency sold property at reduced prices, and Serdyukov was dismissed and prosecuted only for negligence, and later pardoned. The main defendant in the criminal case was the head of the Department of Property Relations of Russia's Defense Ministry, Evgenia Vasilyeva, with whom Serdyukov had a close relationship.
State Duma members
Yashin suspects Duma member Vladislav Reznik of being involved in money laundering operations with the Russian mafia in Spain. Spanish police also believe that Reznik lobbied the interests of Gennady Petrov, who is part of a criminal organization founded by former wrestler Aleksandr Malyshevsky.
Duma member Adam Delimkhanov is a close associate of Chechen ruler Ramzan Kadyrov. The report says Delimkhanov is believed to be the "executioner" behind the killings of Boris Nemtsov, Movladi Baisarov, and the Yamadayev brothers.
Russian authorities have made no official accusations against either Reznik or Delimkhanov, both of whom are members of United Russia.
The report argues that Sergei Tsapok—the leader of Kuban-based Kushchevsky criminal organization—was also a member of United Russia and even attended the presidential inauguration of Dmitry Medvedev in 2008. United Russia, however, refutes these claims. Tsapok died in prison several months after starting a life sentence.
Makhachkala Mayor Said Amirov was undisputedly a member of United Russia. He ruled the city starting in 1998 and was arrested in 2013 for—among other things—preparing a terrorist attack and ordering the murder of an investigator. Amirov is now serving a life sentence.
Yashin also mentions Yuri Lastochkin from Rybinsk, who is rumored to have become the focus of a criminal investigation after a dispute with Vladimir Putin, and the mayor of Vladivostok Igor Pushkarev, who was arrested June 1, 2016, on charges of abusing his authority and accepting bribes. Lastochkin and Pushkarev were also members of United Russia.
“The ‘Criminal Russia’ Party” is not Yashin's first such report. He issued a similar paper about Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov, and helped finished a report started by slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov titled "Putin: War" about Russian combatants fighting in eastern Ukraine.