Nikandrov surpassed his mentor
The list of high-ranked patrons of Denis Nikandrov, the Deputy Head of the Main Investigations Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR) in Moscow, includes his former mentor Mikhail Muzraev, the Head of the ICR Investigations Directorate in the Volgograd region.
The case against high-ranked investigators caught taking a bribe from the main Russian thief in law Shakro Molodoy has shocked Russia. The more is the investigation progressing, the more outrageous facts are being uncovered: the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) is now confident that Denis Nikandrov, the Deputy Head of the Main Investigations Directorate of ICR in Moscow, Mikhail Maksimenko, the Head of the Main Directorate for Interdepartmental Liaison and Internal Security of the ICR; and his Deputy Aleksander Lamonov have a proven, long-term corruption record. All cases having any relation to the detainees are currently being reviewed.
However, it turns out that everything is related in this world, and the suspects are just products of the system that has raised them. For example, General Nikandrov used to work under supervision of widely known in private circles Mikhail Kanduevich Muzraev.
Muzraev is the perpetual Head of the Investigations Directorate for the Volgograd Region of ICR; he holds this post since 2007. Before this appointment, we was a Deputy Head of the Directorate for 10 years. He is called the senior political player in the region with the emphasis on political, because Mikhail Kanduevich is a master of covert intrigues, able to remove high-ranked regional officials from their positions at his will.
One of the most high-profile cases in the career of Muzraev (also involving the future General Nikandrov) is the case against Evgeny Ishenko, the former Volgograd Mayor. Ishenko was arrested on May 30, 2006 and charged under the following articled of the Criminal Code: 256 (Illegal Procurement (Catching) of Aquatic Biological Resources, 285 (Abuse of Official Powers), 286 (Exceeding Official Powers), and 289 (Illegal Participation in Business Activity).
According to the unofficial version, the main guilt of Ishenko was that he was striving to reclaim back municipal assets grabbed by local privatizers during the Perestroika period. The investigation, personally supervised by Muzraev, involved numerous scandals, pressure on witnesses and other violations. A young investigator Denis Nikandrov was an active accomplice to such investigative activities.
For example, an episode has recently become known when Nikandrov and three local FSB officers seized Larisa Emir-Suinova, the attorney for the mayor, right in the Volgograd Prosecutor’s Office and interrogated her in an extreme manner for two hours and half. Finally, the woman was taken to hospital by an ambulance. There were several other complaints on Nikandrov, who was, in contempt of all regulations and laws, literally beating out evidence from witnesses. All these offences were performed under the auspices of the regional Deputy Prosecutor. It is very unlikely that the boss was unaware of violations committed by his subordinate – i.e. all such incidents had been covered by the superior authority.
Another high-profile case, also handled by Nikandrov and supervised by Muzraev, was an investigation against Mikhail Tsukruk, the Head of the General Administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (the MIA) in Volgograd Region. Like many other Muzraev’s cases, it involved some weird episodes: witnesses were changing their evidence in court, stating that previous testimonies had been beaten out of them; some testimonies were provided by unknown people; charges were constantly changing during the investigation; the main witness, Florid Salimyanov, the Head of Volgograd Region State Road Traffic Safety Inspectorate of the MIA, died in hospital from ruptured spleen under unclear circumstances. The numerous weirdnesses have resulted in an intervention by Yuri Chaika, the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, who gave a reprimand to Mikhail Muzraev, the Deputy Prosecutor of Volgograd Region for an “improper execution of duties related to supervision of the criminal case against M.V. Tsukruk”.
In 2007 Aleksey Mitrofanov, the Deputy of the State Duma, submitted an inquiry to Yuri Chaika, the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, asking to investigate the scandalous situation in the regions. According to the State Duma Deputy, there was a total neglect of law in the Volgograd region: “People of Volgograd and the region are being forcibly involved into and used as witnesses in high-profile framed-up cases related to carving-up of assets, racketeering of large enterprises, larcenies, illegal seizures of companies, false bankruptcies, money laundering, and total corruption among Volgograd regional and municipal authorities”. A special paragraph in the Deputy’s inquiry was dedicated to Mikhail Kanduevich Muzraev.
Mitrofanov stated that the Head of the local Investigative Committee provides cover-up services for his businessmen by opening framed-up cases against their adversaries. At the same time, criminal cases against his people are being dismissed: the deputy’s inquiry mentioned closed cases against V.F. Zheltobryukhov, the former Head of Volgograd Region General Administration of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation; and T.M. Abrekov, the Chairman of the Krasnooktyabrsky District Court. The Deputy stated that the influential investigator was putting pressure even on Nikolay Maksyta, the regional Governor and his former patron. The letter described a budget funds embezzlement scheme, involving regional football clubs – and by an unbelievable coincidence, Muzraev was the Head of the Football Federation of Volgograd Region at that time.
In addition to everything else, Ivan Muzraev, a 25-year old son of Mikhail Muzraev, hit and killed a pedestrian, a 46-year old local resident Aleksander Cherekaev. The Volgograd police is investigating the accident, but preliminary conclusions are very predictable: the killed person was intoxicated and crossed the road in an unsuitable place – while the driver was sober and acted properly. No criminal case was initiated due to the lethal car accident. The investigation is still ongoing, so it would be premature to make any conclusions – but so far the whole situation looks pretty familiar.
This list of cases involving Mikhail Kanduevich Muzraev is not complete; it includes only a few episodes that have become known to the public. Apparently, we will never see a full list – unless the investigation against the high-ranked Investigative Committee officers takes interest in this aspect of general Nikandrov’s biography. Still, based on the available information, it is possible to say that Denis Nikandrov is a worthy successor to Muzraev and a true product of the system he was raised in. He has learned his lessons well: the criminal case must meet expectations of the boss. It would be weird to expect anything else from an investigator with such a biography and such mentors: if you have to live with a beast, you will learn to howl at least.