Former MIA officer, alleged killer of lawmaker, judged in Chita 11 years later
In Chita, a trial begins against former member of the MIA Internal Security Service Artem Shkedov, who ordered the murder of a lawmaker Vladimir Baranov in 2005. The perpetrators have already been sentenced, and one of them will soon be released. But the customer had long remained unknown until the ex-police officer was narced out by the leader of a large transbaikalian gang Metsenatovskie.
Member of the Chelyabinsk Regional Parliament Vladimir Baranov was killed on February 12, 2005, in the village of Novopavlovka, Petrovsk-Trans-Baikal district. The lawmaker was shot outside his own house. An unidentfied person knocked at the door of the house, and when Baranov went out — shot him with a shotgun. Baranov died from the wounds on the spot.
Law enforcers established the suspects rather quickly and arrested them. Among them was a bandit and a businessman Alexey Ryazantsev (Ryazanets was an active member of the Kashkoedovskie gang). Investigators believed that Validmir Baranov, while being a lawmaker, had also headed the largest wood-processing plant Rassvet Furniture Company LLC. He was trying to stop illegal logging in the Petrovsk-Trans-Baikal district, including in forest plots rented by his organization. At the same time, Ryazantsev was a business agent engaged in the procurement and sale of wood. Investigators decided that this conflict served as a motive for the murder.
Killed lawmaker Vladimir Baranov
To eliminate Baranov, a member of the Kashkoedovskie gang asked for help from his relative and Sergey Maltsev and a friend from Vladivostok Gora Zakharyan. Before committing the murder, they bought an IZh-43 shotgun of 12th caliber and cut down trunks. Then they purchased a Totota Corolla at the local car market and drove to the spot. Investigators believe that the fatal shot was made by Zakharyan. After that, he joined Ryazantsev and Maltsev, who were waiting nearby, and together they fled the scene.
All three were sentenced for the crime in 2007. They were found guilty of premeditated murder of the lawmaker, committed by an organized group, and other crimes related to illicit arms trafficking, in accordance with item (g), part 2 of Art. 105, part 3 of Art. 223, and part 3 of Art. 222 of the Criminal Code. For the totality of crimes committed and by partial addition of punishments, Ryazantsev was sentenced to 20 years in prison, Maltsev — to 16, and Zakharyan — to 19.
The court has taken into account Zakharyan's confession and cooperation with the investigation as a mitigating factor. As for Maltsev, the court took into account the fact that he had two dependent minor children.
In addition, in January 2013, Russia's Supreme Court reduced the sentence to Sergey Maltsev for 4 years. Thus this term is to expire early next year. The sentence for Gora Zakharyan was also reduced for 4 years.
An unexpected twist in the case that had long been considered closed occurred when the leader of the Metsenatovskaya gang Dmitry Vedernikov (Vedera) gave his testimony. According to the Vechorka newspaper, he told that in 2005, he was approached by two officers of the Regional Department for Organized Crime Control, Maxim K. and Artem Sh. They offered him money for the assassination of a Chita lawmaker Vladimir Baranov. When Vedera refused, the police officers decided to kill him, because he could give them up. After learning this, the gang members "struck his <Artem's> head with a bat." The police officer managed to survive, but was still intent on killing Baranov. Vedera claims that the policemen were protecting the Chinese nationals, who were engaged in illegal deforestation. They also allegedly received a bribe in the criminal case of robbery against "the black loggers."
Leader of the Metsenatovskaya gang Dmitry Vedernikov
Later it turned out that Artem Sh was a member of the MIA Internal Security Department in the Chita region, Artem Shkedov. However, there is no information about his accomplice, Maksim K. Vedernikov claims he is now working with Interpol. It remains unknown why the investigation has no questions to him.
Igor Osintsev's gang was the largest in the entire Trans-Baikal and remained in 1990s and 2000s. More than 10 people have been detained for the alleged participation in contract killings. Some 10 people are already serving their sentences, including Osintsev himself. Investigators have collected materials proving the gang's involvement in several contract killings, but this number may rise to dozens in the future. In April 2012, the only gang member that had remained at large was arrested in Moscow — Igor Melnichuk, nicknamed Krasny, who had been on the wanted list for 5 years. Vedera led the Metsenatovskaya gang, which acted as strong-arms for Osinovskie. He now actively cooperates with the investigation and his testimony serves as the basis for new criminal cases, including against high-ranking police officers.
The investigators established that Shkedov was the one, who had ordered Baranov's murder. The police officer protected those engaged in illegal logging and had a personal grudge against Baranov, who interfered with their actions. Shkedov offered Ryazantsev, who was also involved in illegal logging, to kill Baranov for 50 thousand dollars.
Shkedov was detained on January 28, 2015 in Irkutsk. Immediately after the murder, he resigned from law enforcement, registered himself in the Moscow region, and then went to live with his relatives in Irkutsk.
Even when a pre-trial measure was elected for Shkedov back in February 2016, he denounced all accusations. The former police officer claimed he had no grudges against Baranov. "There could be no motives," he told in court. In his defense, Shkedov said that since 2003 he had been on leave for child care and had no connections with law enforcement. To avoid being placed In jail, the ex-policeman asked to release him on bail of 1 million rubles.
However, investigators insisted that every month Shkedov had received a solid reward for the protection racket offered to illegal loggers. Vladimir Baranov started revealing perpetrators. For instance, he contributed to adopting a resolution on withdrawal of illegally harvested timber. Shkedov staged the assassination to avoid losing revenue.
The court agreed with the prosecution and placed the accused under arrest. In the final version of the indictment, Shkedov is accused of committing crimes under part 4, 5 of Art. 33, item (g), part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code (Incitement and Aiding and Abetting Murder committed by group of persons by prior agreement), and part 1 of Art. 30, item (h), part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code (Preparation for a Contract Killing). The investigation has been completed and the case has been transferred to court. It remains unknown if the verdict against Shkedov is going to somehow affect Ryazantsev, Maltsev, and Zakharyan.