‘Godfather’ of Kursk district 

‘Godfather’ of Kursk district
Photo: The CrimeRussia

The CrimeRussia continues its inquest into affairs of the ‘aristocracy’ of the Kursk region, including those successfully evading prosecution using their ‘invincibility’ and patronage of local law enforcement functionaries. This material is dedicated to prominent civil servant Vladimir Mikhailovich Ryzhikov. The Head of the Kursk District of the Kursk Region has left a long ‘trace’ of evident and latent crimes, and it is really surprising that he still remains at liberty.

According to The CrimeRussia source in law enforcement structures, "it would be good to suspend the moratorium on capital punishment for Ryzhikov". Of course, it was a joke – 10 years behind bars would be sufficient for him. However, so many financial flows and interests are tied with this person that, in case of his conviction, at least, one-tenth of law enforcement officers from all regional policing structures would share his fate and relocate to penal colonies. Our exclusive material provides some insight into the personality of Vladimir Ryzhikov and briefly characterizes the ‘old guard' of the district ruled by him. 

Ryzhikov does not ‘work' alone. To ascend to his current level of power, he has created an ‘efficient' team consisting of heads of rural councils and officials of the district administration. Members of this team have pretty diverse mentalities and moral ‘virtues'. The methods used to control them are also different. Take, for instance, Aleksander Lobkov, ex-Head of the Klyukva Rural Council of the Kursk Region. During his rule, cottages of local ‘power brokers' were actively built in elite chernozem areas and best landscape locations of Klyukva, Yakunino, Zvyagintsevo, and Durnevo villages, while the most lucrative pieces of land were seized by relatives of members of the Kursk Regional Administration and other power holders. Interestingly Lobkov had mostly acted as a ‘ceremonial bystander' – everything was decided without him, and the rural official only had to sign the required papers. Lobkov had never disobeyed his ‘almighty boss' – district head Vladimir Ryzhikov.

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Vladimir Ryzhikov, Head of the Kursk District, Kursk Region

In fact, this is weird. Lobkov is a former military officer, has extensive commanding experience, and never was a coward. So, what is the reason behind his actions? This reason has a name – Maksim Aleksandrovich Lobkov, son of Aleksander Lobkov. According to sources, compromising materials against Lobkov junior had enabled Ryzhikov to rule Lobkov senior with a rod of iron. 

Maksim was involved into numerous scandals, including testifying against Dzhemal, a local criminal ‘authority’ from M. Zhukovo township, charged with rape of two girls, gang beating of a police officer, car-jacking, etc. All these stories resulted in sentences – pretty lenient up to a certain time. A fine for perjury, a restriction of freedom for car-jacking, a conditional term for battering an off-duty policeman, etc. Even the Administration for the Kursk Region of the Federal Penitentiary Service was unable to lock up the ‘unruly boy’ – the courts had turned a blind eye to his deeds. But his father had always obeyed orders of the supreme ‘bosses’. Was he blackmailed? Or threatened to put his son behind bars? In any event, Lobkov hasn’t resigned voluntarily from his post – and left the office only after losing elections. Ryzhikov – who was ‘inherited’ by the new Governor of the Kursk Region from the previous one – is not going to resign, too.

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Aleksander Lobkov, ex-Head of the Klyukva Rural Council, Kursk Region

Another member of Vladimir Ryzhikov's ‘retinue' is Zhanna Georgievna Tarasova, Head of the Mokva Rural Council, Kursk District, Kursk Region. This is not her first term in charge of the rural settlement. In the past, she was a Deputy Head of the Mokva Rural Council. Tarasova is not a poor person at all. Having initially just a ‘nominal' hut on Priluzhnaya street, 1st Mokva village, she managed to acquire two large land lots (both purchased from the Mokva Rural Council), two apartments owned jointly with relatives, and two real properties belonging to son Artem. In addition, her husband, who used to be unemployed for a long period of time and had no official income, became the owner and co-owner of several land lots, two homes, and two apartments. In fact, this is not uncommon taking the ‘shady' aspects of the life of district officials. Some of their ‘shady deeds' haven’t gone unnoticed by the police. For instance, Vladimir Ryzhikov, boss of Tarasova, became a frequent target of police checks recently. Tarasova had come into the spotlight several times, too. In 2013, the police and Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR) had instituted a criminal case against Ryzhikov in relation to the allocation of a land lot to I.V. Tomakh by the Mokva Rural Council – but all the suspected officials have got off the hook. A similar story occurred with an earlier criminal case № 3921 instituted in relation to the seizure of land from O.A. Mosalova, a resident of the Mokva Rural Settlement. Both Tarasova and Ryzhikov still hold their positions and do not care about the possible punishment for their past wrongdoings. Their carelessness is partially justified: for many episodes, the periods of limitation have already expired. However, there are still some stories that can be successfully ‘dug up’.

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Zhanna Tarasova, Head of the Mokva Rural Council, Kursk District, Kursk Region

Ryzhikov has generously granted many beautiful lots in his district to supreme functionaries of various governmental agencies – and now he feels himself nearly ‘invincible'. But this was not always the case. At some point, the all-mighty official was on the verge of a catastrophe. In late 2012, Lyubov Shatokhina, Deputy Head of the Kursk District and a close confidante of Ryzhikov, has got into a tangle with her boss and started sharing information compromising him with Narodny Zhurnalist (People’s Journalist) newspaper opposing the district head. In the past, Shatokhina also had a conflict with this newspaper – but ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’. The editorial board gladly accepted the high-profile materials from Shatokhina and launched a series of sensational publications.

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Mansion of Lyubov Shatokhina, Deputy Head of the Kursk District

Lyubov Shatokhina had shared with journalists more and more information; she was not even afraid to attract the attention of law enforcement structures to her own luxurious real estate. Her goal was to destroy Ryzhikov – and she has nearly succeeded. However, ultimately, all her efforts turn out to be fruitless – reportedly, Ryzhikov has paid enormous bribes to the Prosecutor's Office of the Kursk Region and Investigations Directorate in the Kursk Region of the ICR. Details of that battle are still available on the Internet; it is sufficient to type in a search engine: Ryzhikov, land, construction, Narodny Zhurnalist, Kursk. 

There was also another episode that could cost Ryzhikov his career and even liberty – a conflict with the Prosecutor’s Office of the Kursk Region, which ceased to be 100% loyal to Ryzhikov after the resignation of Vladimir Mikhailovich (Moiseevich) Gufeld. According to the sources, new district prosecutor Anatoly Kolousov has also received plenty of money from Ryzhikov – for instance, for ignoring for several years a high-profile scandal with the allocation of conservation lands to a pig breeding farm belonging to Miratorg. However, Kolousov apparently received less than his predecessor and, therefore, let certain things slide, which has nearly put Ryzhikov in a tight spot. Junior Counselor of Justice Dmitry Annenkov, Deputy Prosecutor of the Kursk District, hadn’t even tried to criminally prosecute the powerful malefactor; instead, he has initiated the issuance of several mandatory submissions to the district administration by the Prosecutor’s Office – and identified a number of glaring violations in its work that could easily result in a criminal case.

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Dmitry Annenkov, Deputy Prosecutor of the Kursk District

Too bad, but the deputy prosecutor hadn’t taken into consideration the number of people affected by his actions and their possible implications. Ultimately, he had to leave the position – while the illegally built properties identified by him still remain in place. In fact, this is not surprising for a feudal country: ‘squire’ Annenkov did not understand that he had infringed on interests of ‘dukes’ and ‘earls’ who, in turn, had access to supreme prosecution officials. A few years later, the uncompromising deputy prosecutor was transferred to another place. Prior to this, Annenkov was severely scolded for his ‘initiative’ – the lot illegally designated a ‘garage complex’ was, in fact, a base of heavy trucks belonging to Vladimir Polin, nephew of Aleksander Polin, a deputy of then-almighty Governor Aleksander Mikhailov. For such an ‘insolence’, the Governor’s team patronizing Ryzhikov could easily frame-up a criminal case against the whistleblower.

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Base belonging to Vladimir Polin

Furthermore, people close to the supreme command of the Kursk district police procure chernozem soil not far from that lot, dump it near the local cemetery, and openly sell it.

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This story is not over yet. It cannot be ruled out that, ultimately, it ends in the most logical way: arrest, investigation, and fair public trial in another region of the Russian Federation – because, according to the sources, many local judges and their relatives have already been bribed by the generous malefactor.


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