Classic dismissal or where head of MIA Main Directorate for St. Petersburg will go to “promotion”? 

Classic dismissal or where head of MIA Main Directorate for St. Petersburg will go to “promotion”?
St. Petersburg general is predicted not a promotion, but honorable resignation with subsequent loss of political weight Photo: The CrimeRussia

For several days now, the minds of the public in St. Petersburg are occupied with one piece of news – Lieutenant-General Umnov, head of the Main Directorate of the MIA for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, leaves his post and sets off for a promotion to Moscow. Sergey Umnov is allegedly designated for the position of deputy minister of the MIA Vladimir Kolokoltsev. However, on the sidelines of the ministry they expect not a promotion for the Petersburg general, but an honorable resignation with the consequent loss of political weight.

Vacant General

Hot days have come to the plenipotentiary of the president for the North-West Federal District. The office of Alexander Gutsan is urgently studying the papers on possible candidates for the replacement of Sergey Umnov. Documents on the general himself are currently in the presidential administration. They are closely studying the presentation of Vladimir Kolokoltsev to promote Sergey Umnov. So far he is being intended for the place of the deputy minister. However, the sources only shrug their shoulders, noting that the departure of the general to Moscow is not a promotion, but perhaps even a resignation.

In other power departments, sources say, Umnov was planned to be dismissed a long time ago. Such rumors have been circulating since last August. The reason is the long overdue purge of the ranks of the Main Directorate of the MIA. “He has been too long on his place” – this is how the story of Sergey Pavlovich’s transfer to the capital in other law enforcement agencies is commented. In general, his work in this position is not assessed as negatively as the work of his predecessors. So, they note that Umnov was principally engaged in cleaning up personnel, did not pity and did not cover unscrupulous employees. In his era, high-profile crimes by police officers were not hushed up, corrupt cops were no longer fired backdating, and the public could observe in detail the conviction of employees who violated the oath. 


Sergey Umnov began working in the MIA in 1986 as a policeman of the patrol and inspection service of the MIA Directorate of the Kuibyshev District Executive Committee of Leningrad. In 1992, he graduated from the Law Faculty of St. Petersburg State University. In the same year he went to work in the criminal investigation department. In 2001, he became the Deputy Chief of the Organized Crime Division, since 2004 – the Deputy Chief of the Criminal Police of the Main Directorate of the MIA for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region. In February 2012, Police Major-General Umnov was appointed Acting Head of the Main Directorate of the MIA for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, replacing Mikhail Sukhodolsky on this post. He was awarded the Order of Honor, the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, IV degree.

Nevertheless, neither the local authorities, nor the higher authorities were not satisfied with the results of the Main Directorate of the MIA for St. Petersburg. So, Umnov’s department didn’t manage to overcome the three-headed “Gorynych” of St. Petersburg crime – organized crime, drug trafficking and car thefts. Also, residents of the city were dissatisfied with the policy of the Main Directorate regarding criminal activity of migrants and even gathered rallies on this matter.  


However, in addition to the reasons for the resignation, the sources of our media believe that there are even more compelling reasons for such a major reshuffle. Both are political.

Moscow vs St. Petersburg

In order to fully understand the situation prevailing today around the chair of the Chief of the Main Directorate of the MIA for St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region, one needs to plunge into the past. For example, during the reign of (very short) Moscow protege Mikhail Sukhodolsky. 


Ex-Head of St. Petersburg police Mikhail Sukhodolsky

The scandalous resignation of Mikhail Sukhodolsky took place with the direct participation of Sergey Umnov and his other deputies. The conflict between the Muscovite and the well-coordinated team of St. Petersburg people began almost immediately, in June, as soon as Sukhodolsky began his duties on the banks of the Neva river. The former omnipotent minister in St. Petersburg was disliked immediately. But despite all the shocking and monarchical management style, Mikhail Igorevich did not do anything contrary to the interests of the service. According to sources, his only mistake was an attempt to squeeze out of the Main Directorate people close to the former screwed up chief, Vladislav Piotrovsky. This group of close to the head officers continued, as they say, “by will” to oversee the business interests of the former chief and provide patronage to certain business circles, and even, as they said, to criminal clans. This was well known in Moscow, and therefore they appointed a “Varyag” to St. Petersburg. But “Varyag” Sukhodolsky faced a well-thought-out confrontation and was too politically weak to turn the tide in his favor. A group of deputies led by Sergey Umnov then won a decisive tactical victory. As you know, the situation has gone quite far, many even predicted a hand-to-hand fight, but in the end everything worked out.  


Sergey Umnov - still as Mikhail Sukhodolsky's deputy 

Everything remained in its place, and Sergey Umnov assumed his rights as head of the Main Directorate with the full support of all personnel. In Moscow they could not ignore such force and ceased their attempts to place the Moscow creature in the chair of the head of the Main MIA Directorate for eternally revolutionary St. Petersburg. It should be noted that in his position, Sergey Umnov spent a record long time – 8 years.

During this time, he managed to demonstrate his power position to all the authorities in the city without exception. The former head of the city, Georgy Poltavchenko, did not usually enter into direct confrontation with him, despite numerous complaints from the deputies. As we have already written, at one time, the people's deputies were pretty tired of the head of the committee on legality and law and order, Leonid Bogdanov. This long-liver of Smolny in tandem with Sergey Umnov became the main enemy of the protesters. Everybody has complained about hard detentions by the police – defrauded real estate investors, journalists, and the opposition. The deputies unsuccessfully fought the bad tendency, but failed to get the final victory.

According to sources, this trend, and especially its political consequences in the form of scandals and high-profile publications in the media, were very unfriendly evaluated in Moscow. The fact, that the current acting Petersburg governor Alexander Beglov has long disliked Sergey Umnov, can be added to this. The latter one, as they say, felt the same. Under the conditions of the future governor’s race, Umnov’s resignation, as they say, plays into his hands of Alexander Beglov. 


Alexander Beglov 

As we have already written, in case of election, Beglov will have to be very tough on issues with law enforcement agencies, and the support of a key security official in the city can be very useful to him in a future compromising war. It will be much easier to resolve support issues with a new appointee than to negotiate a parity basis with the old one. 

Train to Nowhere 

Today they say little about the fate that awaits Sergey Umnov in the capital. Despite the rosy messages from many media outlets, Smolny itself is very critical of Umnov’s ability to take the post of deputy minister. Firstly, because the positions of the Minister of Internal Affairs Vladimir Kolokoltsev himself are very fragile. Secondly, the St. Petersburg generals' farewell to Moscow “for a promotion” is a traditional, one might say, style of discharge that has already become a classic way of dismissal from the police department of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region.

All the predecessors of Sergey Umnov faced exactly the same fate. Vladislav Piotrovsky in his time, also retiring, transparently hinted at the prospects opening to him in the high offices of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. And where does he work now? Mikhail Sukhodolsky generally fell out, after exile from the banks of the Neva he departed for Israel, and his further fate was in no way connected with high positions. 


Ex-Head of MIA Main Directorate in St. Petersburg, Vladislav Piotrovsky

Leaving for retirement from the post of Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the former head of the Main Directorate of Internal Affairs, Mikhail Vanichkin, with the same pomp, once left for Moscow. His departure was again associated with a new high appointment. And at one time they even predicted that the police commanders in Moscow would follow the story of the major shooter Evsyukov. But everything remained in its place. Vanichkin now retires from the post of deputy minister. But let's say right away that the minister has many deputies, and Mikhail Georgievich was not the key one. Therefore, in the political field of St. Petersburg, it is considered not without reason that the new appointment of Sergey Umnov will not be a promotion, but only a logical path to retirement. In any case, he is unlikely to have the opportunity to influence the relationship between Smolny and the MIA.



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