With all Ivanov's might: Fate of Prosecutor of Leningrad Region
The scandal with Stanislav Ivanov, the Prosecutor of the Leningrad Region, has marked a new situation in the agency. The regional watchdog authority is now like a Titanic that has already hit an iceberg – but does not understand yet that it is sinking. In the light of the above, the fate of Ivanov himself and his subordinates – district prosecutors – becomes even more interesting.
The official web site of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Leningrad Region looks desolate. The Senior Staff page shows only two portraits: Magomed Dibirov, the Acting Prosecutor of the Leningrad Region and his sole Deputy Vladimir Erofeev. In fact, only these two people have been left to hold the fort for now.
The staff reshuffles have affected district prosecutors’ offices as well. As the CrimeRussia wrote earlier, the following functionaries have lost their chairs: Oleg Minaev, the Prosecutor of the Vyborgsky District; Sergey Gromyko, the Prosecutor of the City of Luga, and Igor Chernov, the Prosecutor of the Vsevolozhsky District. The city of Luga has already recovered after the scandalous resignation – Igor Grishuk, the Junior Counselor of Justice, has become the city Prosecutor, and his name is shown on the official web site of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Leningrad Region without the prefix acting – i.e. he has been appointed to this post officially. Some Vasily Shilin manages the Prosecutor’s Office of the Vyborgsky District. The State Prosecutor Andrei Korchagin performs duties of the Prosecutor of the Vsevolozhsky District. Unlike the two other newly-appointed officials, this prosecutor had spent many years in courts and knows how to administer justice. However, the turnover of staff is not over yet. Dmitry Fedorov is the Acting Prosecutor of the Volosovsky District.
Some specialized prosecutors’ offices of the region are on the verge of major changes as well. For example, the Leningrad Inter-Regional Environmental Prosecutor’s Office is facing a changing of the guard: the Senior Counselor of Justice Sergey Petrichenko, the Acting Head of the institution, has exposed himself as an accomplice to shady sand and gravel mining in the Leningrad region. Investigators of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation have shared this information with the Prosecutor General’s office. Obviously, all these staff reshuffles are not pre-planned arrangements. Well-informed sources provide the following explanation for the recent events: “Nothing had been changing there for a long time; many functionaries were sitting in same chairs for 8–10 years, they have sent down roots and milked local businesses”. The sources also state that all these abuses were possible only with patronage from the Regional Prosecutor Aleksander Ivanov – who was well aware of the issues from numerous complaints filed by local residents. But it was convenient for him to take a hands-off attitude. The prosecutor was closing his eyes to faults of his subordinates who, in turn, quietly condoned the flourishing business – simple like sand – of their superior.
The resignation of Stanislav Ivanov is still full of mystery. To refresh background: on October 11, 2016, the prosecutor was rushed to the adult section of the R.M. Gorbacheva Scientific and Research Institute of Children’s Oncology, Hematology, and Transplantology suspected of poisoning with an unknown substance. Doctors could not rule out a radiation exposure as well and diagnosed Ivanov with acute leukemia. After receiving this medical conclusion, the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation has ordered to check the Ivanov’s office for traces of poisonous substances. On October 20, 2016, the Prosecutor submitted a resignation letter to Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation. On October 31, 2016, the President has signed an order removing Ivanov from his post. But instead of traces of poison, the investigators have found in the Ivanov’s office evidence of continuous bribe-taking. The investigation has charged the general with bribe-taking and submitted to the court a request for pretrial detention of the suspect. But because the prosecutor is currently receiving treatment, the request has been later withdrawn, and the court imposed a pledge not to leave town on Ivanov as a pretrial restriction. Currently the investigation of bribe-taking episodes committed by the Prosecutor of the Leningrad Region is ongoing.
The Prosecutor General’s Office has become aware of weird things occurring in the Prosecutor’s Office of the Leningrad Region back in summer thanks to an investigation carried out by the FSB against businessmen Aleksey Varichev and Semen Kuzmin. They told the operatives about appetites of the Prosecutor of the Leningrad Region who was receiving more than 500 thousand rubles per month for patronage. The information was so shocking that an audit of the Leningrad Region has started even earlier than the audit against Sergei Litvinenko, the Prosecutor of St. Petersburg, whom the auditors planned to dismiss back in the last year.
According to the media, the preliminary investigation against Ivanov continued for about two weeks. The operatives were just waiting for his official resignation to start searches and examinations. Two different versions attempt to explain the alleged poisoning of the Prosecutor’s Office.
Stanislav Ivanov has been brought to court from the oncological department
According to the first version, Stanislav Ivanov had health issues for a while. The urgent hospitalization was a tactical withdrawal to buy some time. It is known that long before the resignation, he had submitted an application to travel abroad – which was declined by his superiors. Therefore, the illness could be faked by him in order to flee the country – because he understood that this place is about to get too hot for him any moment. It is not a coincidence that neither the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, nor the Prosecutor General’s Office provide any comments on his case.
Stanislav Ivanov was born in 1965; in 1991 he graduated from the Moscow Institute of Law. Since 1992 has been working in prosecution institutions. In the period of November 2004 – July 2005 was the Acting Prosecutor of the Zavodskoy District of the City of Grozny of the Chechen Republic. In 2006–2013 was the Prosecutor of the Western Administrative District of Moscow. In 2013–2014 was the First Deputy Prosecutor of the Kaluga Region. On August 6, 2014, Stanislav Ivanov has been appointed the Prosecutor of the Leningrad Region; removed from this post by a Presidential Order of October 31, 2016. The State Judicial Counselor 3rd Class.
According to the second version, all businessmen in the Leningrad region know that the Kingisepp Customs is a very special place – a junction of numerous commercial (and criminal) flows. The main cargo traffic from Finland and Baltics goes through Kingisepp. The detained billionaire Dmitry Mikhalchenko preferred to use the Kingisepp Customs for the smuggling of expensive alcohol (and maybe, something else). Some closed Internet forums dedicated to customs still provide information on actual fees for services of functionaries and enforcement officers and how to obtain up-to-date information on upcoming special operations, checks, and raids.
Allegedly, the ex-Prosecutor Ivanov wanted to escape abroad because he has become aware that people from Lubyanka expect to pull lots of interesting information from him, including the Kingisepp operations. Kingisepp is a former territory of Aleksander Drozdenko, the Governor of the Leningrad Region, where he used to be the Head of the municipal entity. Now his relative Viktor Geshele is in charge there. In addition, media have reported that Irina, the spouse of the Governor, and Zhanna Geshele are building there (near the Ust-Luga Port) an oil transfer terminal with capacity of 1.6 million tons per year. It is also known that Governor Drozdenko disliked the Prosecutor Ivanov and never tried to hide this. It is not known for sure what were the reasons behind such an antipathy – but Ivanov, like any other prosecutor, was aware about the real situation in the Kingisepp.
Intrigues or revenge?
Some information has also leaked on the true reasons behind such a dramatic change in the life of prosecutor Ivanov. It is not a secret that normally, the prosecutors leave their own kin – especially high-ranked generals – to be devoured by rival enforcement structures very reluctantly.
One of the possible reasons could be the excessive curiosity of Ivanov about assets and incomes of regional officials. Meticulous Ivanov had allegedly uncovered some information related to a sideline business of one of the Vice Governors of the Leningrad Region. A few years before, several Vice Governors and the management of the Vyborg Customs had been dismissed using the same mechanism. Ivanov has submitted many reports on violations committed by his colleagues. For examples, the regional functionaries still remember the famous road war of 2014–2015. The Prosecutor has expressed his grievances with the quality of road works at regional construction sites. The scandal has resulted in resignation of the Vice Governor Georgy Bogachev, who was responsible for the construction sector.
Georgy Bogachev, the former Vice Governor of the Leningrad Region for Construction
The Prosecutor Ivanov has made enemies among municipal functionaries as well. Following his initiatives, Aleksander Timkov, the Head of the Administration of the Tikhvinsky District, has lost his post – as well as Dmitry Vasilenko and Mikhail Kolomytsev, former Heads of the Kirovsky District.
Another speculation circulating behind the scenes in the Prosecutor’s Office of the Leningrad Region is related to shady incomes of Stanislav Ivanov. Allegedly, criminal bros have turned the ex-Prosecutor in because he had been milking them – although moderately, but without any return. The Prosecutor also used to settle issues with rival structures on his own and never shared his rewards with nobody – which has brought him a reputation of a lone wolf among other enforcement services. As a result, today Ivanov has no support among enforcement authorities. In addition, Ivanov was the one who decided the fate of suspects under investigation. It was only a matter of price: he had been quickly resolving such delicate issues as arrests and detentions at his the sole discretion. According to some sources, the prices started from 300 thousand rubles and depended on the severity of charges and personality of the suspect.
No one can say at this point whether this is true or not. But the most important question today is: Would the respected people from Lubyanka be able to talk with the ex-Prosecutor? And what practical staffing conclusions, arrests, or resignation would follow?
In less than three years, Vadim Potomsky, Governor of the Orel Region, became involved into so many scandals that rumors about his upcoming dismissal circulate persistently. Furthermore, the region under his rule has made a mark during the live teleconference with the President: a complaint made by Orel resident Klavdia Stavtseva became one of the most high-profile episodes of the broadcast. What could be the next twist in the career of Potomsky?