Downfall of Governor Golubev
The dismissal of Sergey Zhukov, the Deputy Governor for Combatting Corruption, “due to loss of confidence” might be remembered pretty soon not as an achievement, but as an obstacle in the career of the Governor of the Rostov Region.
On November 28, 2016, Vasily Golubev, the Governor of the Rostov Region, decided to demonstrate his ability to make arbitrary decisions. He has issued an order dismissing his deputy Sergey Zhukov, the Head of the Administration for Combatting Corruption, with the wording “due to loss of confidence”.
Such a high-profile termination was welcomed – out of public view – with champagne, but according to a CrimeRussia source, it was a very difficult decision for the Governor. In fact, the Commission of the Presidential Administration has forced him to sign the order after the seizure of documents related to the activities of the official – who had been working at this post less than a year. Numerous violations related to the conflict of interest at the previous workplace had been found.
Lands of Zhukov
According to the CrimeRussia source in law enforcement, one of the reasons behind the termination of the high-ranked functionary could be a video message recorded by the ex-Head of Fominsky Settlement of the Zavetinsky District where she addresses the law enforcement authorities and provides interesting facts about the work of Sergey Zhukov as the Head of the district. According to her, the official had attempted to force her to sign a fake credit contract with a bank for a loan of 1 billion rubles; unaccounted lands of the settlement “belonging to departed Chechen natives and having no relation to the municipality” had been used as the loan security. After her refusal, an operation has been planned and staged through intermediary persons, which resulted in her imprisonment for two years.
Sergey Zhukov, the former Head of the Administration for Combatting Corruption
Sergey Zhukov, the former Head of the Zavetinsky District, had earlier been mentioned in episodes involving land machinations and nepotism. Prior to his appointment the head of the district, Zhukov had been working in law enforcement authorities for 25 years and advanced to the Head of the Department of Internal Affairs of the Zavetinsky District. According to the CrimeRussia source, the spouse of the functionary, being the Director of Parus (Sail) enterprise, had been winning all the governmental tenders related to provision of office supplies for the last 5 years.
A mysterious appointment of a person from a peripheral steppe district with the population of 15 thousand people to the post of a Deputy Governor of the Rostov Region could not pass unnoticed by law enforcement agencies. According to the available information, the candidacy of Sergey Zhukov had been lobbied by Mikhail Korneev, the Deputy Governor, and his former Chief in the police. He used to be the Head of the Administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation in the Tyumen Region and was dismissed with a scandal after a letter to Vladimir Putin from officers of the Regional State Road Traffic Safety Inspectorate describing the bribery system introduced by the lieutenant general of police. Korneev had been openly accused of brining his smoothly-running bribery schemes from Rostov to Tyumen.
Kindergartens of Andryushenko
After his appointment the Governor of the Rostov Region in 2010, Vasily Golubev has started an unspoken confrontation with the regional enforcement agencies – which has nearly resulted in his resignation after an operation performed by the Regional Directorate of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation. The FSB operatives have uncovered a corruption scheme designed to embezzle budget funds allocated for kindergarten construction. There was a deficiency of pre-school child care institutions in the Rostov region at that time, and the officials have found a way to make some money on the regional issues.
On September 18, 2013, after a large-scale investigation, Aleksander Chebanov, the Head of Stroykom Limited Liability Company, was arrested. Aleksander Andryushenko, the General Director of the Rostov Mortgage Corporation Open Joint Stock Company and Deputy of the Municipal Duma of Novocherkassk representing Edinaya Rossia (the United Russia) Party, has also come in sight of the FSB operatives – although later he claimed that there were no investigative actions against him.
Aleksander Andryushenko, the General Director of the Rostov Mortgage Corporation Open Joint Stock Company
According to the gubernatorial program, 100 kindergartens had to be built in the region by the end of 2015. Most of those had to be built at the governmental expense, while several kindergartens – at the expense of investors. The municipality had to buy out these pre-school institutions later. The Rostov Mortgage Corporation was the customer who ordered construction of 10 such kindergartens. The financing for the construction was provided by developers, suppliers, and banks. The contracts had been awarded without tenders and auctions – because the funding was provided from non-budget sources. Later the regional government had to buy out these kindergartens for enormous money.
In 2014, the Federal Budget was supposed to transfer over 1.5 billion rubles to the region for construction of the next series of kindergartens – and the scammers were confident that law enforcement authorities pay primary attention to that transfer and overlook the scheme involving the attraction of non-budget funds with further buyout. But they were wrong.
Currently, the Rostov region, in the person of the Ministry of Property and Land Relations, owns 97% in the Rostov Mortgage Corporation Open Joint Stock Company where Andryushenko is the Director. Nobody had been charged in that criminal case. However, in April 2016, Andryushenko has become a suspect in another criminal case related to disruption of construction deadlines by the Rostov Mortgage Corporation with regards to the housing designated for orphaned children.
In the framework of the case related to swindling during the construction of kindergartens, a search has been performed in the office of a Deputy Governor. According to the CrimeRussia source, the traces were leading directly to Governor Golubev and his subordinates – but the investigation has stumbled. The accounting documents had been sent to Moscow for examination – but there were no reports on its results. According to CrimeRussia sources, only an intercession from Moscow had saved Vasily Golubev at that time.
After the Ukrainian events, refugees have surged to the region, and it was impossible to change the Governor. Because Vasily Golubev was a protégé of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the Moscow bosses have supported him and allowed to prove himself under difficult international circumstances.
Other protégés of Golubev
In 2015, Golubev was re-elected the Governor of the Rostov Region, but the law enforcement authorities still had lots of questions to him, including scandals with election technologies and weird reshuffles of senior staff. The appointment of his protégé Vitaly Kushnarev the Head of the Rostov Administration has also affected adversely the image of a governor unable to manage the region. The career of a former Gazel car driver in the Belokalitvinsky district – the small motherland of the Governor – has skyrocketed
In 2015, another protégé of the Governor has been arrested in Rostov-on-Don – young businessman Aleksander Khurudzhi, Director of Volgodonsk-based Energy power company. He was accused of embezzlement of 500 million rubles from the Interregional Distribution Grid Company of South. The spice of the situation was that, prior to the arrest, Khurudzhi used to be the Head of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives of the Southern Federal District.
According to experts, the situation in the region is truly absurd. The Governor states that conditions are being created for the regional development – while the businesses flee the region due to the pressure from Golubev. Organizations specializing in business support are being pressurized. For example, Yuri Molodchenko, the Deputy Governor for Property and Land Relations, has come into an open conflict with Natalia Krainova, Director of the Regional Agency for Business Support. Although, based on the results of 2015, the agency was inside the top three such centers, subordinates of the Governor are still trying to remove Krainova from that post and appoint their protégé to control funds transferred by the federal center for business support in the region.
Natalia Krainova, the Director of the Rostov Regional Agency for Business Support
According to well-informed sources, the dismissal of Sergey Zhukov might result in the resignation of the Governor himself – who, in fact, is unable to manage his team and whose staffing decisions raise eyebrows both in the region and in Moscow.
The inability of the Governor to manage a strategic region of the country is obvious. Furthermore, according to the sources in law enforcement authorities, his staffing policy results in even more gross embezzlements and collapse of the regional economy. The dismissal of Sergey Zhukov, the Deputy Governor for Combatting Corruption, “due to loss of confidence” might be remembered pretty soon not as an achievement, but as an obstacle in the career of the Governor of the Rostov Region.