Professor and fraud 

Professor and fraud
Professor of the Department of Theory of Government and Law at the St. Petersburg MIA University attempted to pull off real estate fraud Photo: The CrimeRussia

General’s son Mikhail Sal’nikov, Professor of the Department of Theory of Government and Law at the St. Petersburg University of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation, has been detained for real estate fraud. Amid other corruption crimes hitting the headlines, this offense does not seem a high-profile one. But the point is that this is not the first criminal case instituted against professor Sal’nikov, and he is not the only relative of MIA general Viktor Sal’nikov having problems with the law.

Bribes and frauds

Ex-colonel Mikhail Sal'nikov, professor, tutor, and son of MIA general Viktor Sal'nikov, ex-Head of the St. Petersburg MIA University, was detained last week. Operatives of the Administration of Criminal Investigation of the MIA General Administration for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region arrested the former colonel in the framework of a criminal case instituted for attempted swindling. According to the media, three other suspects in this case were detained earlier.


It is known that Sal'nikov and his accomplices had leased nonresidential premises at 56 Nevsky avenue, in the center of St. Petersburg. Then the malefactors have produced fake ownership documents and passports of the ‘owners', leased out this space, and received 100 million rubles ($1.6 million) from Grant FinKom Management Company as a security deposit. Somehow, the law enforcement authorities became aware of this. The court still has to determine pretrial restrictions for Mikhail Sal'nikov – the investigation considers him the mastermind behind this fraud.

Little is known about Mikhail Sal’nikov. He is a retired police colonel, Doctor of Law, and Professor of the Department of Theory of Government and Law at the St. Petersburg MIA University. Reportedly, he was in charge of the Republican Scientific Research Institute of Intellectual Property (RSRIIP) for some time and became in September 2017 the General Director of Narvskaya Zastava – Transpornaya Bezopasnost (Narva Gateway – Transport Security) Limited Liability Company private security company. 

This enterprise is a part of Narvskaya Zastava Group of Companies specializing in the protection of private and commercial premises, transport and personal security, sentry services, video surveillance, control of access, and freight traffic escort. Narvskaya Zastava was established in 2004 and has a solid reputation on the security services market of St. Petersburg. 

According to sources, the real estate fraud on Nevsky avenue became possible because the security company had a contract with the property owners: the guards had the keys – so, the malefactors were able to show the premises to potential victims. 

It also became known that this is not the first legal proceeding initiated against the ex-colonel: in 2010, he was a suspect in a swindling case. 

Theory of government and fraud 

The first criminal case against Mikhail Sal’nikov was instituted on March 16, 2010. A day earlier, on March 15, 2010, operatives of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation have detained him for attempted swindling. The Doctor of Law and his accomplice, some Vladimir Ivanov, had tried to receive 1.5 million rubles ($23.7 thousand) from a St. Petersburg resident prosecuted for infliction of bodily harm. The fraudsters had promised him to mitigate the sentence. 

Sal'nikov and Ivanov had importuned that person for a long time offering to arrange the termination of the criminal proceedings. The case was heard in the Krasnosel'sky District Court. The MIA University, where the professor was employed and that used to be governed by his father, lieutenant general Viktor Sal'nikov, is located in the same district. Therefore, Mikhail Sal'nikov had claimed that everything was under his control in the Krasnosel'sky District Court. Initially, they had requested 2.5 million rubles ($39.5 thousand) for the settlement of all ‘issues' with the investigation, court, and district prosecutor's office. However, the investigation established that Sal'nikov and Ivanov had never planned to help the St. Petersburg resident to avoid punishment because they had no possibility to affect his sentence in any way. The victim was unwilling to part with the money – and the price was reduced to 1.5 million rubles ($23.7 thousand). The professor was arrested red-handed during the handover of this sum. The victim, tired of this extortion, has reported the ‘do-gooders' to the law enforcement authorities. It is known that the indictment was submitted to the prosecutor for approval – but then the story took a sudden turn.  


The charges laid against the primary prosecution witness – the victim of extortion – were suddenly reclassified under a more grievous Article of the Criminal Code: from “infliction of bodily harm” to “attempted murder”. No information is available about the trial of Mikhail Sal’nikov – all media articles state that the case file was submitted to the prosecutor’s office for approval of the indictment, and that’s it. The subsequent developments are unknown.


Viktor Sal’nikov is a retired MIA lieutenant general. In 2007–2008, was the Head of the Administration for the Northwestern Federal District of the Ministry of Justice. In 1996–2006, was in charge of the St. Petersburg MIA University. A Doctor of Law, professor, Honored Science Worker, Honorary Higher Education Worker of the Russian Federation, academician of the International Academy of Ecology and Human and Environmental Safety, Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, Russian Academy of Law, St. Petersburg Engineering Academy, and Russian Academy of Sciences. A member of the Expert and Advisory Council for the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation (2000–2012), Scientific and Expert Council for the Chairman of the Council of the Federation of the Russian Federation (2000–2011), Expert and Advisory Council for the Chairman of the Legislative Assembly of the Leningrad Region, Pardon Commission of the Leningrad Region, and the Council for the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Northwestern Federal District. In 2014, had run for the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation.

According to sources, Doctor of Law Mikhail Sal’nikov does not have a criminal record because his high-ranked father has taken every effort to save him from the penal colony. As a result, Sal’nikov junior continued teaching at the university after 2010 as if nothing had happened.

Poor relatives

The sources claim that, in the past, Viktor Sal'nikov, then-Head of the St. Petersburg MIA University, had to deal with numerous problems caused by his son Mikhail. Furthermore, in January 2007, a nephew of Viktor Sal'nikov was charged with drug dealing.


Viktor Sal’nikov

22-year-old Ilya Sal'nikov, a Criminal Investigator of the MIA Administration for Transport for the Northwestern Federal District, was arrested at nighttime in the Primorsky district of St. Petersburg in the course of a special operation of the MIA Administration for Combating Organized Crime. At that time, Viktor Sal'nikov was the Head of the Administration for the Northwestern Federal District of the Ministry of Justice. The general paid dearly for his love of relatives. Initially, the career of his nephew was very promising: in 2006, Ilya Sal'nikov has graduated from the St. Petersburg MIA University governed by his uncle and was appointed to a prestigious subdivision – the Operative Unit for Combating Property Crimes of the MIA Administration for Transport for the Northwestern Federal District. But later, contrary to the relatives' will, the young lieutenant has transferred to the Drug Control Unit.


In February 2007, operatives of the Administration for Combating Organized Crime of the MIA General Administration for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region have come into contact with a wholesale drug dealer shipping large consignments of hashish. They have negotiated with him the purchase of several kilograms of the ‘stuff’. Later, the dealer informed them that his ‘boss’ is going to come to the meeting instead of him. Operative Ilya Sal’nikov turned out to be this ‘boss’. The handover of the drug and receipt of the money took place right under Sberbank security cameras – so, no other evidence was required. During the arrest, the general’s nephew had behaved brazenly, presented his service ID, and threatened the operatives with reprimands and dismissals. Ultimately, Sal’nikov was charged with attempted illegal sale of narcotic drugs on an especially large scale using his official capacity. However, shortly before the trial, the former police officer absconded – and the criminal case against him was transferred in 2007 to the Department for Special Cases of the Prosecutor’s Office of St. Petersburg. Ilya Sal’nikov was put on the federal wanted list, and his portrait had ‘graced’ police search bulletins for a long time. 

In 2008, Ilya Sal’nikov was still on the run. 

The ‘sword of Themis’ has reached him only in 2012 – Sal’nikov was convicted for a number of crimes, including drug dealing and robbery. Back in July 2006, lieutenant Sal’nikov, senior lieutenant Viktor Saltan, and captain Sergei Sagalovsky, Criminal Investigators of the Drug Control Unit of the 1st Department of the Operations and Search Division of the of the MIA Administration for Transport for the Northwestern Federal District, had performed an illegal search of an apartment belonging to a local resident under the pretext of searching for drugs, stole 280 thousand rubles (some $11.2 thousand at the exchange rate of that time), and then released the victim. 

Eight years have passed – and now the son of general Viktor Sal’nikov is under investigation again. This time, the extensive connections of his father won’t help Mikhail Sal’nikov to get off the hook. Furthermore, the general is reportedly fed up with the debauched relatives tarnishing his reputation.



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