Dagestan Ministry of Internal Affairs: business, crimes, and debauch?
Ordinary Russian citizens perceive the Republic of Dagestan as a zone where laws of the Russian Federation are perverted beyond recognition. Normally, republican watchdog authorities of all levels are just money-making places for their bosses. Apparently such a situation resulted in a unique socio-political phenomenon.
The Dagestan population has absolutely no trust in the local political elite and enforcement structures. Federal funds transferred to the republic to create new jobs and build enterprises are mostly embezzled. The local youth have either to move to other Russian regions for a better life or try to join enforcement structures, including the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Republic of Dagestan, which offer at least some wages and career perspectives. However, here lies the main source of corruption in the republic.
The Dagestan MIA is a structure where personal traits of a serviceman – education, decency, willingness to do good for the society – mean nothing. The main factors are the personal loyalty to the superiors and ability to ‘cash’ the powers provided by the service. Simply speaking: “You have got a service cap and pistol – now go making money”.
Amid the growing dissatisfaction among ordinary residents of the republic, fair police officers have stepped up against the corruption in the Dagestan MIA. For example Salikh Gadzhiev, ex-colonel removed from the Dagestan MIA in 2013, it trying to be reinstated in his former position and resume the service in order to continue defending citizens against unlawful actions by his colleagues. Gadzhiev was removed from his position and then dismissed for unflattering statements about Dagestan MIA superiors, which could not be left unnoticed.
In 2008 Salikh Gadzhiev and his supporters founded an ‘Officers against corruption’ public movement with the purpose to tell superior authorities and the Dagestan Government the truth about outrages in the Dagestan MIA. As a result, almost all police officers trying to purge their ranks from corruption were dismissed from the MIA.
In the beginning of 2013, Salikh Gadzhiev staged a press conference in Moscow, in the Memorial Society. He told that all his letters and reports to Vladimir Kolokoltsev, the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, describing the situation in the Dagestan MIA had no effect. His report has been sent through the instances back to the republic for an audit. It was like ordering the sponsors of illegal money-making to check themselves. Two months after the public whistle blowing, following an internal review, Salikh Gadzhiev was dismissed. And the situation with corruption continued worsening.
For example, Abdurashid Magomedov, the Dagestan Minister of Internal Affairs, while summarizing the work progress of the Dagestan MIA, announced on March 23, 2015 some very controversial anti-corruption achievements by his agency. People’s Deputies and the Head of Parliament adopted his speech, but on the sidelines and among public, the report of the powerful Minister was not appreciated so positively and unambiguously.
Salikh Gadzhiev, a former colonel and currently the chief expert in corruption inside the Dagestan MIA, believes that in his speech, Abdurashid Magomedov neatly avoided concrete facts of real anti-corruption struggle and prophylactics and provided only general theses, thus, concealing the true scale of issues in the major enforcement agency of the republic.
Below are some high-profile scandals that provide a general idea of deep junctions between the criminal and terrorist groups from one side and Dagestan MIA from the other side.
It is necessary to note that arrests of high-ranked law enforcement officers and governmental officials still occur in Dagestan from time to time only due to the efforts by central headquarters of the MIA of the Russian Federation and the Federal Security Service Directorate of the Russian Federation. For example, a special operation of July 27, 2015 resulted in arrests of a well-known official and the Head of the Kizlyar District of Dagestan. It has been revealed that Andrey Vinogradov, the Head of the District, was an active member of ‘Golodrantsi’ (Tatterdemalions) criminal network founded by Sagid Murtazaliev, former head of the pension fund, who was subsequently arrested in autumn of 2015. According to reliable sources, one of the key ‘Golodrantsi’ members was colonel Magomed Khizriev, Head of the Operations and Search Unit for Internal Security (OSUIS) of the Dagestan MIA. He got such an important post in the Dagestan MIA with support of Sagid Murtazaliev and was under his total control. Various sources estimate the cost of this position differently, but according to the inner circle of the former head of the Dagestan pension fund, several million dollars have been paid for the chair of the Head of OSUIS of the Dagestan MIA. Khizriev still remains the head of this unit. He makes demonstrational and meaningless arrests of officers having omissions, thus, showing his job performance. Basically, this includes arrests and dismissals of State Traffic Safety Inspectorate officers. He was directly involved into the creation of a ‘payment for employment’ system – both in the republican MIA apparatus and district MIA administrations.
According to the most recent information from sources in the Dagestan MIA, a high-profile scandal in the agency, that occurred in early spring of 2016, might result in removal of colonel Magomed Khizriev, Head of the OSUIS of the Dagestan MIA, from the current position and his arrest.
Following a comprehensive audit of Zamir Amirkhamedov, Head of the 2nd Department of the Administration of Internal Security of the Dagestan MIA, he was excluded from the service secrecy regime, mandatory for all officers of the 2nd Department of the Administration of Internal Security of the Dagestan MIA. The reason for the removal from position and audit of Zamir Amirkhamedov were his regular trips to the neighboring Azerbaijan. Being a high-ranked MIA officer, Amirkhamedov had access to personal files of senior state officials. Information contained in these files is classified because it could be used by foreign intelligence services to recruit and compromise the officials against Russia.
Amirkhamedov is an ethnic Azerbaijanian; he was planning to move to Azerbaijan for permanent residence after his retirement. He was building an elite cottage in a resort district near Baku. Needless to say that this would be impossible with his official salary and without a special permission from Azerbaijanian secret services.
In addition, it was found that the officially-married officer had same-sex relations and was nicknamed Zemphira. His orientation became known after a loud statement from wife of Bilal Ashikilov, an investigator in Makhachkala Administration of MIA. The woman found her husband in bed with Amirkhamedov. Her petition was addressed to Magomed Khizriev, Head of the OSUIS of the Dagestan MIA, who showed admirable tolerance and let the valuable subordinate to continue his service.
Dagestan media believe that such reaction of Khizriev to the alarming signal might indicate criminal links between Amirkhamedov and his superior, including jointly-established and actively running businesses: bribes for employment in the Dagestan MIA (cost of a position ranged from 500 thousand to one million rubles) and protection racketeering of numerous corruption crimes committed by republican officials. Police officers nicknamed Amirkhamedov ‘Koshelek’ (Wallet) due to his suspected role in transferring bribes from businessmen running illegal oil refineries to Magomed Khizriev in exchange for his patronage. Many moneymakers used tie-ins in pipelines going through the republic to steal state assets. A similar scheme existed in Rostov region, where the Dagestan community, in collaboration with the former Head of the Salsky District of Rostov region, used to steal oil from the Kuibishevsky pipeline under the patronage of enforcement authorities.
Because of his assistance in the stealing of the state oil, Magomed Khizriev became a friend of Sagid Murtazaliev, the former head of the pension fund and boss of ‘Golodrantsi’ criminal network, who planned to make Khizriev the head of the Dagestan MIA.
After the arrest of Murtazaliev in absentia, Magomed Khizriev is now using his powers to find a new candidate for the position of the Head of the Pension Fund of the Republic of Dagestan. It became known that he meets with people interested in getting this post. Candidates include Tagib Abdusamadov, former director of All-Russia State TV and Radio Company – Dagestan, who has links with the republican banking industry.
According to the media, on February 2, 2016, despite resistance from the Head of the OSUIS of the Dagestan MIA, Zamir Amirkhamedov, first deputy of Magomed Khizriev, was removed from his position. Khizriev is also expected to be removed from his post soon – unless his high-ranked patrons intervene. A complete personnel replacement and elimination of the ‘bribery for employment’ system in the Dagestan MIA are possible in the current situation.
It became known that an officer of the Kizlyar District MIA Administration said in a private conversation that district-level MIA authorities began holding policemen’s salaries – allegedly, “to collect money to settle Magomed Khizriev’s issues”. Policemen’s salaries were always paid only partially – authorities required their subordinates to sign for the full amount, while paid them 30% at best. Funds stolen from officers were used for personal gain and to pay bribes required for further career growth.
The underpaid policemen had to make money on the streets, thus, causing public anger.
The foregoing information allows to make a conclusion. If the General Administration of MIA of the Russian Federation, in collaboration with the Federal Security Service Directorate of the Russian Federation, does not perform a complete personnel replacement in the Dagestan MIA and eliminate the vicious corrupt system in the Ministry, there might be catastrophic consequences for the region.