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Anti-corruption activists uncover $1.6 million in Moscow real estate registered to acting governor’s family members

The parents of Mikhail Degtyarev — the former State Duma deputy from the Liberal Democratic Party who was recently appointed acting governor of Russia’s Khabarovsk Territory — own a large house and an apartment in Moscow with a combined market value of at least 125 million rubles (approximately $1.68 million), says a new investigation from opposition politician Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK).

“What Degtyarev is hiding from Khabarovsk”
Alexey Navalny

According to their tax returns, Degtyarev and his family shouldn’t be able to afford these kinds of purchases, Navalny says. Degtyarev’s total income for 2011–2018 was 31.5 million rubles (approximately $425,000) and his wife’s was three million rubles ($40,500). Until recently, both of Degtyarev’s parents worked as doctors in Russia’s southwestern city of Samara (for context, according to official statistics, doctors in Russian earned an average salary of 79,000 rubles per month in 2019 — that’s about $1,065). 

The FBK investigation reveals that Degtyarev’s father bought a piece of land two kilometers from Moscow Ring Road in October 2013, where a house worth between 70 and 100 million rubles (between approximately $945,000 and $1.35 million) was built not long after. This took place a month before Degtyarev ran in Moscow’s mayoral elections. 

Then in 2017, Degtyarev bought a 92-square-meter (990-square-foot) apartment on Dmitry Ulyanov Street from the Moscow City Property Department, which he registered to his mother. The FBK estimated the apartment’s market value at 25 million rubles ($337,500).

Degtyarev’s wife also has a Mercedes-Benz GLS 350 registered in her name — a large luxury SUV worth about six million rubles ($81,000).

Degtyarev responded to Navalny’s investigation on July 31. During a broadcast on the TV channel Guberniya (as quoted by Interfax), he said that he had seen the FBK investigation and confirmed that both the house and the apartment in Moscow belong to his family members. “Nothing interesting, as always, made up numbers. In fact, it’s true [that] there’s a house and an apartment, but what of it,” he said. 

Degtyarev maintained that his parents built the house (where they now live) with their own money, explaining that in order to afford it, they “sold all of the property acquired in their entire lives.” He added that his father, who is now 71 years old, “worked abroad a lot.”

Mikhail Degtyarev was appointed acting governor of Russia’s Far Eastern Khabarovsk Territory on July 20, following the arrest and dismissal of popularly elected governor Sergey Furgal. Since July 11 (two days after Furgal’s arrest), Khabarovsk has seen three weeks of sustained protests calling for Furgal to undergo an open trial locally, rather than in Moscow. The protests in support of Furgal have also included opposition to the new acting governor and Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Text by Eilish Hart