Shadow Chairman of Investigative Committee
Top-rank officers of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation might be charged with creation of a criminal community.
Mikhail Maksimenko became the Head of the Main Directorate for Interdepartmental Liaison and Internal Security of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR) in January 2011. He was named the right hand of Alexander Bastrykin, Chairman of the ICR, and used to be one of the most influential ICR officers.
During the investigation of the criminal case related to a bribe given by criminal lord Zakhar Kalashov (also known as Shakro Molodoy) to high-ranked ICR officers, investigators of the Directorate M of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) have found that Maksimenko was, in fact, controlling many criminal investigations. In dozens high-profile cases, the investigators could not make important decisions without his unofficial approval; most of these cases had been ultimately ruined.
Although the official status of Maksimenko was lower than Vice-Chairman of the ICR, he wielded considerable influence in the agency. For example, Vasily Piskaryov, Vice Chairman of the ICR, was dismissed at his behest. Piskaryov was ignoring requests from Maksimenko, and finally their confrontation escalated to a conflict. In the end of April, Piskaryov was dismissed by a Presidential Decree – this decision had been lobbied by Bastrykin. Maksimenko managed to convince his boss that Piskaryov was intriguing against him and trying to become the Chairman of the ICR himself.
According to a CrimeRussia source familiar with the matter, Maksimenko has got this privileged status because of the friendship between his father and Bastrykin. Heads of ICR Investigations Directorates were reporting their cases to the Chairman of the ICR in accordance with instructions received from Maksimenko. Case files submitted to Bastrykin normally had remarks made by the Head of the Main Directorate for Interdepartmental Liaison and Internal Security of the ICR. Many files did not even reach Bastrykin at all. This allowed Maksimenko to distort the information and facts to his own advantage and achieve his goals.
The Head of the Main Directorate for Interdepartmental Liaison and Internal Security of the ICR had never made a secret of his top status in the agency and positioned himself as a person handling liaison with the FSB. He had close connections with Oleg Feoktistov, First Deputy Head of the 9th Directorate (Internal Security) of the FSB. Recently Feoktistov was removed from this post. There is no official Presidential Decree dismissing him yet, but according to the CrimeRussia source, he has been already transferred to the seconded staff of the FSB.
Currently the FSB investigators are clarifying the role of each detainee not only in the bribe-taking case but in other ICR files as well. The Prosecutor’s General Office is reviewing cases handled by Denis Nikandrov, the First Deputy Head of the Main Investigations Directorate for the City of Moscow of the ICR. The FSB asked Yuri Khokhlov, the Head of the Directorate for Overseeing Compliance with Laws Related to Federal Security, International Relations, and Combating Extremism and Terrorism of the Prosecutor’s General Office of the Russian Federation, to check the legitimacy and objectivity of all decisions made in the framework of these cases. The possibility to lay charges against all the detained ICR investigators under Article 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Creation of a Criminal Community (criminal organization) and Participation therein) is currently under consideration.
Charges against top-ranked officers under such an Article would be a serious blow to the image of a principal state power institution in Russia. Still, it is crucial to complete this investigation to the end. We would like to remind that the operation involving arrests of Nikandrov, Maksimenko, and Lamonov was performed with the knowledge and acceptance of the President Putin.
Personnel reshuffles and purging of ranks started in the Investigative Committee and other enforcement structures immediately after this operation. However, official representatives of the agencies claim that those are scheduled staffing changes having no relation to the case of investigators.
There were no such large-scale criminal cases in Russia in the recent years. The detained ICR officers claim that the FSB investigators are prejudiced due to interdepartmental conflicts, and this story may affect the whole interaction system between the enforcement agencies. Amendments to the relevant legislation might be required as well.
The speaker of the State Duma advocated a ban on the execution of American sanctions on the territory of Russia. Criminal responsibility may be imposed for violation of this measure, Vyacheslav Volodin did not rule out.