Arrested Vladivostok Mayor writes letter to Putin

Arrested Vladivostok Mayor writes letter to Putin
Igor Pushkarev

Igor Pushkarev has presented his version of the criminal case and told about 1-billion-ruble ($16.9 million) donation to the city.⁠

Suspended Mayor of Vladivostok Igor Pushkarev, who is currently under arrest in a pre-trial detention center in Moscow, has written to President of Russia Vladimir Putin. In the letter, he drew attention to his case, since, according to Pushkarev, “the information [about the case] is either misrepresented, or is not represented at all.”

“I fully devoted myself to working for the benefit of my motherland for many years, without accommodating my own anxieties and those of my family,” the 3-page letter says (Znak.com has a copy of it). “In September 2008, you personally instructed me to promote order in Vladivostok and prepare it for the APEC-2012 summit. Being encouraged by your trust and my personal respect for you, I did everything that you had assigned me, while doing it to the detriment of my family, which donated construction materials worth almost 1 billion rubles to the city (at my request). […] Today, I am accused of inflating the prices of construction materials that my family donated to the city. […] I believe that mistakes do occur, and the law enforcement bodies will sort out the situation and release me. However, despite the fact that all the circumstances are in plain view, the investigation takes no interest in them. Moreover, I realized that the investigation representatives already know that I am innocent. The culmination of all events was an open statement by one of the investigators that my whole problem was far from legal; my problem was that I ‘smoked the peace-pipe with the wrong people’ (quote),” Pushkarev says.

“The second charge is even more absurd than the first, although it is closely related to it,” the arrestee continues. “They say I bribed my subordinate so that he received those building materials free of charge from the company headed by my brother Andrey. The third charge is that my brother Andrey also gave me bribes for this, taking money from my wife and mother […] Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, the purpose of this appeal is to draw your attention to my problem. I haven’t done anything illegal — I’ve always acted in accordance with the interests of our country, trying to justify your personal trust, placed in me back in 2008… You are the guarantor of the Constitution of Russia, therefore I seek not your loyalty and condescension, but protection for the sake of justice,” Pushkarev concludes.

To recall, Head of Vladivostok Igor Pushkarev and Director of Dorogi Vladivostoka municipal enterprise Andrey Lushnikov were detained on May 31, 2016. They were placed in the pre-trial detention center as part of the investigation into the criminal case under part 3 of Art. 285 of the Russian Criminal Code (Abuse of official powers entailing grave consequences) and part 3 of Art. 204 (Commercial bribery). Later, the brother of the head of Vladivostok Andrey Pushkarev was detained. He is currently under house arrest.

The Pushkarev family has for many years owned the large enterprise Vostokcement, which in fact is a monopolist in the region. Pushkarev is accused of patronizing the business using his official position. The investigation believes that in the period from 2009 to 2016, Vladivostok Mayor Igor Pushkarev ensured the purchase of construction materials by Dorogi Vladivostoka Municipal Unitary Enterprise, subordinated to the city administration, and companies belonging to the Vostokcement group of companies, controlled by his close relatives. For this, according to the investigation, Pushkarev received (personally and through intermediaries) bribes in the form of money and illegal services for a total of more than 75 million rubles ($1.27 million) from his brother, Director General of Vostokcement Andrey Pushkarev.

According to the defense, the materials supplied by Vostokcement were cheaper than those of the competitors from Siberia or the Urals. In addition, Vostokcement supplied the materials on credit; later, this debt of about 1 billion rubles was forgiven.

Earlier, in an interview with Znak.com, Igor Pushkarev’s lawyer Konstantin Tretyakov pointed out to the numerous inconsistencies that the defense saw in the actions of investigators.

“The group of companies had supplied contraction materials to Dorogi Vladivostoka Municipal Unitary Enterprise for eight years,” he said. “Doing it almost free of charge. It even exceeded the statute of limitations for the debt, which was eventually forgiven. Vostokcement never tried to recover this money through court. Whereas, the investigation says that Dorogi Vladivostoka Municipal Unitary Enterprise has suffered damage. What kind of damage? Was the company not pleased with receiving free rubble and other building materials worth almost 1 billion rubles? According to the investigation, an indebtedness thus occurred… But we’d never attempted to recover it, and subsequently forgave it, even! So what’s the damage?”

Head of Political Expert Group Konstantin Kalachev believes that the purpose of Pushkarev's letter to Putin is not in direct interference of the president in the criminal case investigation (especially since the head of state always publicly denies such requests), but in the expectation that all interested parties will read the letter.

“Appeal to Putin is an excuse,” Kalachev says. “It is obvious that there will be no direct interference of the president in the matter. But the former mayor is ready to do anything to highlight the absurdities of this case. Of course, it is the court that must deal with it, but in actuality, the esprit de corps is often a factor of pressure. There’s no damage, the injured party refuses claims, but the investigators can’t play it back. It is to the credit of Pushkarev that of all high-ranking prisoners of recent times, he defends the most actively. Having tried everything, he appeals to Putin in the hope of an impartial trial,” the expert concludes.

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