Funeral business in Moscow region to be turned over to person from FSB

Funeral business in Moscow region to be turned over to person from FSB
Roman Karataev

Moscow Region Government is going to devolve burial and funeral powers on the Directorate-General for regional security that is headed by a person who comes from the M-Directorate of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) - Roman Karataev.

Moscow Region's Government has developed a decree on devolving burial and funeral powers from the Department of Consumer Market and Services of the Moscow Region on the Directorate-General for regional security (GURB) that is headed by a person who comes from the M-Directorate of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) - Roman Karataev, reports Daily Storm. The official proponent of this initiative is the Department of Consumer Market and Services. 

The head of the Moscow Region’s GURB Roman Karataev had served in the M-Directorate of the FSB that deals with countering corruption within the government. The M-Directorate had dealt with a billionaire Colonel Dmitry Zakharchenko, a former Sakhalin’s governor Aleksander Khoroshavin, and a deputy director of the Main Investigations Directorate of Russia’s Investigative Committee Denis Nikandrov. Journalist Sergey Kanaev stated that Karataev did not resign from the M-Directorate. He was just placed on detached service in GURB. At the present time, he is in a post as a Safety and Anti-Corruption Minister of the Moscow Region government. 

The Department of Consumer Market and Services of the Moscow Region did not explain why the field related to funeral services is being turned over. The Department’s media office stated that minister Vladimir Posazhennikov is away on vacation now. As for Posazhennikov, he asked the media “to let him rest.”

Oleg Shelyagov, a co-owner of a Ritual-service company dealing with a funeral business in the Moscow Region, told Daily Storm that “this is the first time” he heard that a security-related Directorate is given powers related to a funeral business. 

“I believe that people from the Department for Safety are quite decent, however, their duties are different. Perhaps, the Ministry that owns the field is supposed to contact GUBR in case peculiar issues emerge. I would doubt there’s a reason to turn it over to security officials. This is nonsense if we talk about Russia.” Shelyagov said.

The media’s other source within funeral services in Podmoskovye said that the devolution may change the balance of power in the market. In his opinion, the reason for the powers to be devolved is that the Department of Consumer Market and Services of the Moscow Region is unable to cope with their tasks. According to Daily Storm, one of the Department’s high-ranking officials is really “on good terms” with a participant of the Podmoskovye funeral business. 

The source also didn’t exclude that as soon as the powers are devolved on siloviki (influential figures in law enforcement and security agencies), Moscow’s GBU Ritual will monopolize Podmoskovye. According to some of the Daily Storm sources, the memorial services in Moscow are really being headed by the FSB officials, however, this has not been directly confirmed. 

Another source believes that the fact that the memorial services are given to siloviki will end up with cornering the market. “The same what’s in Moscow where GBU Ritual is monopolizing the market is going to happen.” He said. 

The fact that Ritual is becoming the monopolist in Moscow’s funeral business had been discussed at hearings of the RF Public Chamber. “We have a situation that a publicly funded national institution Ritual got an illegal preferential advantage, and monopolized the field related to reception and processing of orders for the funeral arrangements and installation of memorial constructions at Moscow’s cemeteries - which contradicts the anti-monopoly legislation of the Russian Federation, and infringes on rights and legal interests of the market’s other participants.” Stated the Public Chamber’s recommendation letter that was sent to Russia’s PM Dmitry Medvedev, and the State Duma spokesman Viacheslav Volodin. 

Earlier, after Daily Storm had published its report on GBU Ritual activities, the Investigative Committee of Russia opened a criminal case for defamation (article 128 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) against unknown persons. Searches were carried out in the Daily Storm office. Ilia Yushkov, a reporter, was interrogated. After that, the case was suspended.

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