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Companies linked to Putin’s friends scored $6 billion in government contracts for waste removal

Source: IStories

The main beneficiaries of the garbage reform that Russia’s initiated in 2019 are people from President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, reveals a new report from the investigative outlet Istories. 

According to the investigation, companies linked to Putin’s friends received nearly a quarter of all government contracts for garbage collection across the country — contracts with a total value of 423 billion rubles (about $6 billion). 

Companies linked to Rostec CEO Sergey Chemezov received contracts worth 165 billion rubles (approximately $2.4 billion). Another 107 billion rubles (more than $1.5 billion) worth of contracts went to companies connected to Igor Chaika, the son of Russia’s former attorney general, Yury Chaika. 

Companies linked to billionaire businessmen Arkady Rotenberg and Yury Kovalchuk signed 88 billion rubles (approximately $1.3 billion) and 63 billion rubles (worth about $905 million) worth of waste removal contracts, respectively.

“The Garbage Kings of Russia” — a documentary investigation by IStories

Meanwhile, companies associated with local political elites — governors, city mayors, and deputies from the ruling party, United Russia — snagged garbage disposal contracts in about 30 of Russia’s regions.

83 percent of tenders for choosing regional operators in all of the country’s regions were concluded without competition. Contracts with [these companies] were concluded at prices close to the maximum, which means that garbage tariffs for Russia’s citizens will be close to the maximum.


New regulations for the treatment and disposal of waste came into force in Russia at the beginning of 2019. In accordance with the new rules, all of the country’s regions had to establish territorial programs and choose operators for garbage collection and disposal. In addition, 250 new landfills will be constructed in the coming years. The authorities explained that the reforms were necessary due to the lack of control in the waste disposal industry.

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