Abduction of Ukrainian criminal ‘authority’ Yuri Vasilenko in Moscow masterminded by oligarch and victim’s former ‘colleagues’? 

Abduction of Ukrainian criminal ‘authority’ Yuri Vasilenko in Moscow masterminded by oligarch and victim’s former ‘colleagues’?
Yuri Vasilenko is likely dead Photo: The CrimeRussia

A few days ago, Ukrainian criminal ‘authority’ Yuri Vasilenko was abducted in a Moscow cafe. The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR) instituted a criminal case for abduction. So far, the law enforcement structures are unable to establish his location. Could one of the primary suspects in the murders of Evgeny Zhilin and Denis Voronenkov be involved in other crimes? Why was he hiding in Russia? What are the reasons behind his abduction? The CrimeRussia has reviewed the criminal past of Vasilenko and found out that Russian ‘authoritative’ oligarch Pavel Fuks could mastermind his kidnapping in the aftermath of criminal squabbles in Kharkiv. If so, Vasilenko has a very slim chance to survive.

On the evening of January 10, 2018, some unknown persons have abducted Yuri Vasilenko from Basilik Cafe located on Mira avenue in Moscow. The kidnapping was accompanied by gunshots: the bandits took Vasilenko out of the cafe, he attempted to escape, and they opened fire. Then the victim was put into the trunk of a silver Mitsubishi Pajero vehicle without license plates, and the abductors fled the scene.

Amber alert was imposed in Moscow – but in vain. The apartment not far from Alekseevskaya subway station rented by Vasilenko was searched; several dozen firearms, including sniper rifles and explosives, have been seized.



Yuri Vasilenko was abducted from this Moscow cafe   

It also became known that Yuri Vasilenko had resided in Moscow illegally and had a passport in the name of some Antonenko. He lived in hiding and was leaving the rented apartment pretty rarely – mostly to attend meetings held in Basilik Cafe. Vasilenko had no bodyguards and was normally accompanied by friends. That evening, they failed to resist the unknown abductors. Allegedly, Vasilenko had a handgun because he was fearing for his life.

Mysterious murder of Voronenkov 

The name of Kharkiv native Yuri Vasilenko was mentioned for the first time in relation to the murder of Denis Voronenkov, ex-Deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, committed in Kiev in March 2017.A few days after the crime, the ICR has instituted a criminal case under Article 12 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation enabling to prosecute persons who have committed offences against the interests of Russia or its citizens outside the boundaries of the Russian Federation.


Denis Voronenkov was gunned down in the center of Kiev   

In summer 2017, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine announced that Denis Voronenkov was killed by Pavel Parshov in conspiracy with the following Ukrainian citizens: Yuri Vasilenko, Aleksander Los’, Yaroslav Levenets, and Yaroslav Tarasenko. Los’ and Tarasenko have been captured, while Vasilenko and Levenets – put on the wanted list. Killer Parshov was fatally wounded by a bodyguard of Voronenkov and later died in the hospital. It is known that Levenets (Hunter) and Los’ were Kharkiv nationalists and served in a volunteer battalion, while Tarasenko was a Dnepropetrovsk nationalist (according to the investigation, he has driven the killer to Premier Palace Hotel where Voronenkov was gunned down). The criminal case against Levenets and Vasilenko has been severed from other suspects. The former common law partner of Maksakova – businessman and thief-in-law Vladimir Tyurin (Tyurik) – was named the mastermind behind this murder.


Tyurik is considered the mastermind behind the murder of Voronenkov   

“Yuri Vasilenko was designated a suspect and put on the wanted list in relation to the murder of Voronenkov. The true goal of this was to prevent the representative of Tyurik and Shakro Molodoy from entering Ukraine. Vasilenko is well aware: if he dares to come to our country, he would be immediately arrested and surely killed in a pretrial detention facility. Therefore, he is not going to leave Moscow,” – Ukrainian criminal journalist Oleg El’tsvov notes. 

Maria Maksakova, the widow of Voronenkov, said during the recording of Andrei Malakhov Live program in Germany that some Denis Panaitov was involved in the murder of her husband and continues stalking the diva. 

Pavel Fuks and shady Kharkiv trace 

The name of Yuri Vasilenko was also mentioned in relation to the murder of Kharkiv native Evgeniy Zhilin gunned down in September 2016 in Veterok (Light Breeze) Restaurant in the Moscow region. The CrimeRussia wrote earlier that, according to one of the versions, Evgeniy Zhilin had tried to ‘collect’ a debt of $6 million from Maksim Yurchenko, son of Kharkiv criminal ‘authority’ Vladimir Yurchenko (Seva). Seva was killed back in 1998 in the course of a criminal war with Crimea-based Bashmaki (Boots) organized criminal group. Maksim Yurchenko was a ‘shady’ businessman siphoning off large amounts of money from Ukraine and Russia to Europe. According to some information, he was ‘patronized’ by some Yuri Vasilenko. Russian oligarch Pavel Fuks, acting as the guarantor of that shady deal, was also involved in the ‘debt collection’.

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Pavel Fuks

The deal fell through, and the defrauded Kharkiv businessman addressed an old friend – Evgeniy Zhilin – for help. Zhilin started putting pressure on Maksim Yurchenko, Yuri Vasilenko, and Pavel Fuks. 

According to The CrimeRussia sources, after sorting out the situation, Fuks has taken the side of the businessman and Zhilin and allegedly demanded Yurchenko and Vasilenko to return the money

In the course of the inquest into the murder of Zhilin, the operatives have established that, a day before the assassination, a relative of Yuri Vasilenko was spying on Zhilin and had reportedly supplied firearms and car to the three direct perpetrators of the crime (the assassin, woman, and driver). The supposed killer, Ukrainian citizen Nikolai Didkovsky, believed to be hiding in an EU country has also been put on the wanted list. Later, media wrote that Didkovsky was killed as well. The investigation of the murder of Zhilin has been stalled: neither the motive nor mastermind behind the crime could be identified. Still, the Russian operatives concluded that these two high-profile murders have a common originator. 

Rosbalt.ru reported, citing its sources, that, a day before the abduction of Yuri Vasilenko, some “prominent representative of ‘Russian mafia’” was seeking a meeting with him – but Vasilenko had tried to avoid it being well aware of possible fatal outcomes of such meetings. Apparently, above-mentioned Pavel Fuks wanted to see Vasilenko – who was likely abducted by oligarch’s henchmen. The CrimeRussia can neither confirm nor dispel that information yet. But this version seems pretty plausible – especially taking that Vasilenko and Fuks had a conflict resulting inter alia in the assasination of Zhilin. Furthermore, the $6 million ‘lost’ with the direct involvement of Yuri Vasilenko were not found after the murder of Evgeniy Zhilin. 

Selection of killers for Maksim Kurochkin 

Yuri Vasilenko is mentioned not only in relation to the murders of Voronenkov and Zhilin. It is known that in March 2007, Vasilenko was involved, jointly with his business partner – 45-year-old Kharkiv native Eduard Akselrod (Lepa), in the murder of authoritative Russian–Ukrainian businessman Maksim Kurochkin (Maks Besheny (Maks the Frantic)) shot by a sniper at the entry to the Svyatoshinsky District Court of Kiev. The bullet passed through the victim’s body and severely wounded one of the guards. 

Maks Besheny made a fortune in the ‘turbulent 1990s’: he and his partner Aleksander Babakov, leader of Rodina (Motherland) Party, had owned Luzhniki – the largest wholesale and retail market in Moscow. Kurochkin also had businesses in Ukraine, was mentioned in relation to the poisoning of President Viktor Yushchenko, financed Russian–Ukrainian Union political party, and was the leader of the high-profile storm of Ozerko market in Dnepropetrovsk. 


Yuri Vasilenko is suspected of complicity in the murder of Maks Besheny   

In November 2006, Kurochkin was arrested by Yuri Lutsenko, then-Prosecutor General of Ukraine, and put in a pretrial detention facility in Kiev. He was charged with extortion of a ridiculous – by standards of Kurochkin – sum of $10 thousand. Apparently, this was just a pretext for taking the over-active criminal ‘authority’ willing to join the Ukrainian politics down a peg.

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The assassin knew where to shoot: Maks Besheny had no chance to survive   

Only 4 years later, the investigators have announced the name of the killer – it was some Timofei Ratyshny (Zhora Armani). The perpetrators of the murder have been put on the international wanted list – but in vain. Zhora Armani is supposedly hiding in Russia under a false identity. The investigation believes that Yuri Vasilenko and Eduard Akselrod were involved in the organization of this crime and selection of assassins for it. In November 2017, Akselrod was found dead in his car in a Kharkiv yard. Shortly before that, he started collaborating with the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) that has designated thief-in-law Tyurik the mastermind behind the murder of Voronenkov.



Eduard Akselrod

Yuri Vasilenko had ties both with Tyurik and Zakhary Kalashov (Shakro Molodoy). Kalashov has been recently sentenced in Russia to a lengthy prison term and currently remains in a pretrial detention facility in Moscow. According to some sources, Shakro Molodoy has introduced Yuri Vasilenko and Tyurik to each other and appointed Vasilenko to coordinate operations of all Ukrainian organized criminal groups and control the thieves’ pooled cash fund. Tyurik, in turn, had tried to make Vasilenko a crowned thief and overseer of the Kursk and Belgorod regions in Russia – but Kursk thief-in-law Viktor Panyushin (Vitya Pan) managed to disrupt these plans.


Vitya Pan

Interestingly, the criminal nickname of Yuri Vasilenko – so typical for representatives of the thieves’ world – is not mentioned in the operative documents. It is also necessary to note that none of the above-mentioned high-profile murders involving him were solved so far. 


Another version of the abduction of Vasilenko was suggested recently: he could be kidnapped by emissaries of the criminal society of the Kursk region. Furthermore, one of the assassins of Evgeniy Zhilin, leader of Oplot (Stronghold) nongovernmental organization, was allegedly spotted among the abductors of Vasilenko. Sources in the law enforcement structures claim on condition on anonymity that after the neutralization of Zhilin, the criminal ‘authority’ had a financial conflict with Kursk bandits; in addition, they were concerned that, if captured, Vasilenko could turn in his accomplices to the police.




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