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Lovely meter maid Moscow awards multimillion-dollar maintenance contract to business run by deputy mayor’s brother

Source: Meduza
Kirill Zykov / Moskva News Agency

Across the city of Moscow, there are 954 electronic parking meters where motorists can purchase temporary permit slips to display on their dashboards. These meters are not popular; officials in the city’s Transportation Department told Meduza that just 1.3 percent of drivers bother with the electronic meters, while 89 percent prefer to use the dedicated mobile app “Parking in Moscow.” Unloved as they may be, the physical network of meters still needs maintenance, which means the city must spend money to keep these devices working. Meduza has learned that the latest multimillion-dollar contract went to a company run by Alexey Rakov, the younger brother of Moscow’s deputy mayor.

Last year, Moscow awarded a parking-meter maintenance contract for 283.4 million rubles ($3.9 million) to a Rostelecom subsidiary called Dataline. This year, a new 15-month, 238.2-million-ruble ($3.3-million) contract went to a business called “Tyumen Transport System.” In other words, Moscow is spending roughly 250,000 rubles ($3,415) on each parking meter.

As the company’s first state procurement contract outside the Tyumen region itself, the deal in Moscow is a big win for the Tyumen Transport System. In its home market, the business currently maintains just 36 parking meters for 6.4 million rubles ($87,400) per year. Last year, the company’s entire revenues totaled 91.6 million rubles ($1.3 million).

The Tyumen Transport System employs 28 people, including at least one individual with close ties to Moscow’s city government: CEO Alexey Rakov, the younger brother of Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova.

Alexey Rakov
Tyumen Regional Election Commission

Anastasia Rakova worked in the Tyumen region’s gubernatorial office for several years when Sergey Sobyanin (Moscow’s current mayor) led the region. “Alexey mentions his sister whenever possible; for some reason, it has a magical effect on state officials. She left a reasonably good impression behind in Tyumen, while he shames the family with his actions,” an anonymous source told in 2015 for an article about Tyumen Transport System.

The company’s main business is automated payment systems used in public transport. In part, this means supporting the operation of transportation cards, including the transportation passes issued to senior citizens and other special social groups.

Before he took charge of Tyumen Transport System, Alexey Rakov co-owned “Sibinformburo,” the biggest media holding company in Russia’s Ural Federal District, according to records available at the Spark-Interfax database. Previously, when his sister served as the chief of domestic policy in Sergey Sobyanin’s gubernatorial administration, Rakov worked as Sibinformburo’s financial deputy director.

In addition to his career as a businessman, Alexey Rakov is also a voting member of the Tyumen regional election board. (The “Patriots of Russia” political party nominated him for this position.)

At the time of this writing, Tyumen Transport System is listed as the winner of Moscow’s latest parking-meter maintenance contract, but the deal itself is still unsigned. Meduza is waiting for Moscow city officials to comment on the apparent conflict of interest.

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Story by Ivan Golunov

Translation by Kevin Rothrock