FSB investigates Murmansk MIA General Batalov on charges of malfeasance
Security agencies cannot agree on the assessment of the MIA Head in the Murmansk region. The FSB has information that Major General Batalov abuses a position of authority. In turn, the ICR sees no grounds for a criminal investigation. The regional Prosecutor’s Office has not approved the ICR decision, and so the investigators will have to do a check-over.
In October, the regional FSB department sent the materials on the facts of malfeasance by General Batalov to the regional ICR department.
The Head of the MIA department in the Murmansk region has attracted the attention of security officers with a habit to blatantly use state property as his own. In particular, the General is known to go fishing with friends on a service helicopter to remote places of the Kola Peninsula. According to some reports, the company of Batalov’s friends included Head of the region Marina Kovtun.
However, at the stage of pre-investigation, for some unknown reason, the ICR refused to see obvious violations of the law and denied the request to initiate a criminal case, FlashNord reported. The local Prosecutor's Office questioned the validity of the said decision and sent back the materials on Batalov for further investigation.
The reasons for this strangely warm treatment of the local MIA Head can be explained by his close ties with Governor of the Murmansk region Marina Kovtun. Batalov also got along well with her predecessor, Dmitry Dmitrienko, who resigned early in 2012 at his own request.
Tit for tat
Marina Kovtun and Igor Batalov
Murmansk media outlets report that the alliance of the Governor and the MIA Head is mutually beneficial. Marina Kovtun turns a blind eye to Batalov’s suspicious actions, using his personality as a deterrent against those, who disagree with her policies.
Marina Kovtun gone fishing
In particular, Marina Kovtun often openly scares stubborn opponents with the region’s chief policeman ("I will send you to Batalov, and he'll put you in prison"). According to FlashNord, such threats often come true.
The Murmansk region is the first one, where Batalov took over as the Head of the regional Interior Ministry. Previously, he specialized on the fight against economic crimes. Before coming to Murmansk in 2011, he oversaw the economic direction as the Deputy Head of the MIA department in Krasnoyarsk region. In his new role, Batalov still cares about combating economic crimes, personally overseeing the work of the relevant department.
However, sources familiar with the situation report that the Department for Combatting Economic Crimes works exclusively in commercial interests, which are really vast. FlashNord writes that custom-made criminal cases against businessmen have become a normal thing in the Murmansk region.
Igor Batalov was born in 1966 in the village of Tuim in the Shirinsky district, the Krasnoyarsk region. He graduated from the Omsk Police High School in 1987, worked in the Department against Misappropriation of Socialist Property of the Chernogorsk Regional MIA department. After graduating from the Academy of the Interior Ministry in 1996, he headed the Tuim Town Police Department of the Shirinsky Regional MIA department. Then he was a senior detective in the Department for Organized Crime Control of the MIA department in Khakassia. Since 1999, the Deputy Head of the Sovetsky police department of Krasnoyarsk, in 2000-2003 — the Head of the Kirov district police department, and then — the Deputy Head of the MIA of the Krasnoyarsk region. In 2004, he became the Head of the Administration for Combatting Economic Crimes. After 2011, Batalov moved to Murmansk.
General Igor Batalov
However, Batalov is equally strict with the subordinates in his own department. The general actively employs the carrot and stick policy. Those who disagree with him are fired by dozens, and neither their ranks nor their merits count. Those who behave, on the other hand, are awarded with multi-million dollar bonuses at the end of the year.
It is worth noting that Batalov’s habits and methods of pressuring businessmen through fear of endless checks, searches, and interrogations have remained unchanged for 4 years. His superiors have already expressed their dissatisfaction with his actions. In 2014, the general was issued a warning about incomplete official adequacy. Soon, however, the punishment was lifted for some unknown reason. Observers believe that this could not have happened without interference from Marina Kovtun.
Dacha in Thailand
The Head of the local MIA department looks and lives just like the rest of the common folk. According to some reports, Batalov often flies to Thailand and even has real estate property there, in addition to his other two apartments in Moscow. However, according to the income statement published on the MIA website, Batalov lives in modest, if not austere conditions. He has been earning even less in the last two years.
For instance, in 2013, Batalov earned 3.351 million rubles against 2.966 million in 2015. In the same year, his wife earned 1.052 million rubles. According to Batalov’s declaration, he owns one apartment of 98 square meters and a new car Lexus LX 470 (manufactured in 2002).
But such modesty does not fit with the image that the General created in Murmansk. Regulars of local elite restaurants often see the MIA head in pretty drunk state. The rumor goes that even his subordinates confirm that. It is said that Batalov especially loves the Meridian restaurant, which belongs to a friend of Governor Kovtun, Marina Kalmykova.
On September 22, 2016, Bloger51 media outlet reported that the FSB had been conducting investigation in Batalov’s office.
The investigative measures were allegedly carried out to verify information regarding the supply of crab and the use of a service helicopter for hunting and fishing. However, later the MIA press-service in the Murmansk region flatly denied the information. According to unofficial data, the check could have been conducted in search of the wiretapping devices possibly installed during the repair works in the office.