Striving for the chair: How parliamentary candidates make ends meet 

Striving for the chair: How parliamentary candidates make ends meet
Renewal of the State Duma: Corruption, offshore companies, undeclared assets

According to Levada-Center, almost two thirds of Russians disapprove the work of the VI State Duma (41% rather disapprove, while 21% strictly disapprove). At the same time, 56% of people consider honesty and decency most important virtues of the future Deputies, putting their professionalism and competency to the second place. Are these public expectations justified? Below we present a corruption rating of candidates.

‘Panama’ candidates


Mikhail Slipenchuk

Parliamentary Candidate from Partia Rosta (the Growth Party)

According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) Mikhail Slipenchuk, a State Duma Deputy from Edinaya Rossia (the United Russia) Party, is the final beneficiary of EuroImpex Group Corp. – an offshore company operating since 2000. Officially, the company belongs to Gina Sandra Kilindo, a native of the Seychelles. By now, Slipenchuk has finished the discretionary management of these assets, but he was freely using them for two years since 2013 – i.e. after the enaction of the law prohibiting Russian officials to own foreign financial instruments. Although Slipenchuk claims that he sold the shares back in 2007, he had to withdraw his candidacy from Edinaya Rossia primaries after the publication of the Panama Papers. On September 18, 2016 he will run for Partia Rosta in the parliamentary elections as a head of a regional group uniting the republics of Buriatia and Tuva, Zabaikalsky Krai, and Amur and Jewish autonomous districts.


Viktor Zvagelsky

Parliamentary Candidate from Partia Rosta (the Growth Party)

Zvagelsky has shared the Panamian doom with Mikhail Slipenchuk. His name is linked with two offshore companies: Bariton Consultants LTD. in the British Virgin Islands and Delcroft Real Estates Inc. in Panama. The Deputy had a general power of attorney for the first company since 2007, but in 2009 it became known that he is its final beneficiary – then he signed an agreement to transfer his shares to the trust management. Although the official claims that he is not a company shareholder since 2012, the Panama Papers state otherwise. In particular, these include a letter of guarantee dated 2014, according to which the agreement is still in effect. In addition, the broker managing the assets on behalf of Zvagelsky stated in 2014 that the offshore company beneficiaries have not changed in the recent time. Zvagelsky claims that he never heard of Delcroft Real Estates Inc. – but according to documents from Mossack Fonseca law firm, he is in charge of this company since 2011. Based on the Panama Papers, operations of Zvagelsky contradict the Russian anti-corruption legislation. As a result, Zvagelsky, who initially was registered for Edinaya Rossia primaries, is currently running as a candidate from Partia Rosta.


Andrey Skoch

Parliamentary Candidate from Edinaya Rossia (the United Russia) Party

Represents Edinaya Rossia in a single mandate electoral ward in the Belgorod region. According to ICIJ, eight offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands are registered in the name of his father Vladimir, 83 years old. By the way, their co-owner is billionaire Alisher Usmanov. The declared income of Skoch for the year of 2015 was 276 million rubles, but according to Forbes, his total fortune is $5.3 billion. He is connected with Solnzevskaya organized criminal group.


Sergey Vainshtein

Parliamentary Candidate from the Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR)

The Panama Papers mention namesakes of the Deputy’s father Evgeny Vainshtein and his business partner Mark Leivikov. They are co-owners of a Bahamian Elmex Holdings S.A. company. In March 2016, an information has surfaced that Chelyabenergosbit, a hydro company affiliated with Vainshtein and Leivikov that purchases electric energy at the wholesale market and delivers it to customers, is transferring its assets abroad – the Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation has approved the sale of Zlatoustovsky and Orsky metalworks factories to Elmex Holdings S.A. offshore company. Vainshtein is running for the State Duma in the Zlatoust electoral ward of the Chelyabinsk region.


Igor Ananskikh

Parliamentary Candidate from Spravedlivaya Rossia (the Fair Russia) Party

Ananskikh failed to be included into the LDPR list of candidates and will head a Spravedlivaya Rossia regional group uniting the Republic of Karelia and Leningrad and Murmansk regions. According to Mossack Fonseca, the official is a beneficiary of Westquality Inc. – a company operating in the British Virgin Islands since 2000. Ananskikh used to be the principal general of two companies in Tula (before their transfer to his brother Vyacheslav Ananskikh) whose founder and major shareholder is the above-mentioned offshore company. In addition, in 2014 the Anti-corruption Foundation of Alexey Navalny found out that the official owns eight undeclared apartments in Miami.


Denis Voronenkov

Parliamentary Candidate from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF)

Mossack Fonseca files mention the name of Denis Voronenkov, a member of the Committee for Security and Combatting Corruption in the current State Duma, in relation to two offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands. A Deputy’s namesake owns Tarrington Real Estates S.A., which is still running its operations, and Kaul Engineering Ltd., which was operating in 2007–2012. The address of the namesake matches address of the apartment previously owned by the Deputy and his ex-wife Yulia (later the address has changed after merging with an adjacent apartment). Another threat to Voronenkov’s reputation, even more serious than violations of the anti-corruption legislation, is a scandal related to plagiarism discovered in his doctoral dissertation. It was reported that 60% of his work “Theoretical and regulatory bases of judicial control in the powers separation mechanism” have been taken from other works. A petition against the nomination of Voronenkov for the September elections has appeared in July. Kommunisti Rossii (the Communists of Russia) Party requested the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation to deprive the Deputy of the doctoral degree. While the matter is under consideration, the Deputy is running in the Nizhegorodsky single mandate electoral ward.

After the publication of the Panama Papers, some politicians had to give up hopes to be re-elected to the new Duma. For example, ex-members of Edinaya Rossia (the United Russia) Party Mikhail Yurevich and Oleg Savchenko attempted to become candidates from Partia Pensionerov – za Spravedlivost (the Party of Pensioners – for Justice), but unsuccessfully. According to the party leader Evgeny Artyukh, although initially the turncoats were included into the list of candidates for single mandate electoral wards, later the party presidium has decided to exclude them due to the negative plume trailing behind these people. Aleksander Babakov, another member of Edinaya Rossia mentioned in the Panama scandal and former owner of AED International Limited in the British Virgin Islands, decided himself not to run for the next elections. Communist Sergey Muravlenko will also abstain from the elections: namesakes of the Deputy and his wife Nina owned shares in Auger Int’l Ltd. offshore company that was operating in the Bahamas in 2000–2010.

Abusers of power


Olga Savastyanova

Parliamentary Candidate from Edinaya Rossia (the United Russia) Party

The winner of Edinaya Rossia primaries and a member of the All-Russian People’s Front, Olga Savastyanova is currently being audited due to possible swindling. This is related to an episode dated 2008: being a member of the State Council of the Komi Republic, she was allegedly registering her relatives as fictional residents in her apartment and then has privatized the apartment citing the need to improve her living conditions as the reason. According to media, the Edinaya Rossia candidate was already questioned by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (the FSB). The regional executive committee of Edinaya Rossia claims that this is a provocation.


Nikolay Parshin

Parliamentary Candidate from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF)

A criminal case against the communist candidate has been submitted to the Volgograd Regional Prosecutor’s Office in June. The investigation believes that his is the mastermind behind a fraud scheme with the school in Rakhinka village: he had initiated sale of the school to a private company for 250 thousand rubles, and four years later, in 2012, he has lobbied buying out the school by the Volgograd Regional Administration – but this time for 25 million rubles paid from the regional budget. The sale proceeds have been transferred to accounts of Sergey Chekunkov, a manager who assisted with the deal; Sergey Tikhonov, the Head of the district administration; the Head of the financial department of the town of Volzhsky; and Parshin. While his accomplices are already serving prison terms, the communist has been using his deputy’s immunity up until now.


Aleksander Migulya

Independent Parliamentary Candidate

The former mayor of the town of Blagoveshensk of the Amur region is a self-nominated candidate. He had to register himself as a candidate via an authorized representative because the politician remains in a pretrial detention facility for more than year already. The ex-mayor is accused of inappropriate expenditures and abuse of power that resulted in damages to the municipal budget for 20 million rubles. In particular, Migulya has arranged a sale of a land lot to a private company belonging to his acquaintance at a price 10 times lower than its market value and with violations of the Land Code. In 2011 he was put on the international wanted list and in in 2015 arrested in the Lipetsk region. In order to participate in the elections, he has to collect 20 thousand signatures.


Marina Gerasimova

Parliamentary Candidate from Volya (Freedom) Party

Marina Gerasimova is currently under home arrest. As many as three criminal cases have been initiated against her; the charges include swindling committed by a group of persons by previous concert on a large scale. Svetlana Lada-Rus (Peunova), the founder of Volya Party, is also a suspect in this criminal case, and an international arrest warrant has been issued against her. According to the law enforcement, the suspects created a swindling scheme: they were lending money to victims and then taking away their assets as debt settlement. According to Kommersant, there are 2 criminal episodes in the case, involving a car and a real property. However, the Samara police refuse to provide details due to legal reasons. Supporters of the party believe that the criminal case was framed-up and speak of political repressions.


Andrey Pivovarov

Parliamentary Candidate from the People's Freedom Party (PARNAS)

A decision of the Kostroma Court has put into question the participation of Andrey Pivovarov, co-chairman of the St. Petersburg branch of PARNAS and the head of a St. Petersburg regional group, in the election campaign. In June 2016 he was found guilty of giving bribe and unauthorized access to digital information. Aleksey Nikonov, a former officer of the Administration for the Kostroma Region of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation, has provided to Pivovarov access to the integrated data bank for a reward of 50 thousand rubles. The politician intended to use this information to increase the public support for his party. The court has sentenced Pivovarov to a fine of 1.5 million rubles and prohibited him to be employed in governmental structures for 1.5 years and run for elections for 10 years. The candidate believes that the case was framed-up and told Kommersant that he will continue his election campaign until the court decision comes into effect or until he appeals it.

Forgetful candidates

Candidates for the future VII State Duma experience difficulties in complying with the anti-corruption legislation while they are Deputies of the current parliamentary convocation. In particular, the Deputies sometimes fail to declare their own and relatives’ assets. It is known, however, that acquisition of real estate is one of the most commonly-used ways to legalize funds obtained illegally.


Vladimir Zhirinovsky

Parliamentary Candidate from the Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR)

When Galina Lebedeva, wife of Vladimir Zhirinovsky, has disappeared from his tax and assets declarations in 2012, suspicions arose that the LDPR leader violates the anti-corruption legislation. The last declaration dated 2011 showed her annual income of 71 million rubles as well as 16 land lots, 3 apartments, 2 homes, and 2 cars belonging to her. After the removal of the spouse, the Deputy declared in 2012 only 2.5 million rubles of income, 8 land lots, and a Volga car. A scandal erupted in April, when Ilia Ponomarev, a member of Spravedlivaya Rossia (the Just Russia) Party, accused Zhirinovsky of a fake divorce with the purpose to conceal real incomes. Zhirinovsky stated that his marriage was solemnized in the church and he does not intend to divorce, and then he filed a lawsuit against Ponomarev. Ponomarev had to pay Zhirinovsky 50 thousand rubles in moral compensation.


Igor Lebedev

Parliamentary Candidate from the Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR)

In 2014 the Anti-corruption Foundation has found that Igor Lebedev, son of Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Deputy Chairman of the VI State Duma, has an undeclared luxury apartment in Dubai. 442 square meters of living space, a Jacuzzi on balcony, seven washrooms – all this luxury is worth 86.7 million rubles. Navalny provided a photocopy of Lebedev’s passport, allegedly received from a Dubai real estate company, as a proof. The Deputy declined to comment on the accusation and called it a provocation.


Sergey Sobyanin

Parliamentary Candidate from Edinaya Rossia (the United Russia) Party    

In 2013 the Anti-corruption Foundation has found an undeclared apartment belonging to the daughter of the Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin. Olga Sobyanina, born in 1997, is the owner of 308.1 square meters of living space in Moscow since 2010. According to calculations by Navalny, the apartment is worth some 173 million rubles – this exceeds the mayor’s total income for the last 10 years.


Sergey Zhigarev

Parliamentary Candidate from the Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR)

According to RBK Information Systems, Sergey Zhigarev, who is currently running for the State Duma in the Shelkovsky single mandate electoral ward of the Moscow region, may have an undeclared apartment in Florida, US. The seaside apartment with living space of 347 square meters is worth $2.7 million. The real estate was purchased by Selfmount TOC 1604 LLC in 2010, but in subsequent years Zhigarev and his spouse have been paying real estate tax on this property. In addition, the Deputy’s wife Natalia was one of the company managers at the time of the purchase.



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