Prosecution victims and gratitude 

Prosecution victims and gratitude
Beglov has little love for the head of the St. Petersburg Prosecutors' Office Photo: The CrimeRussia

Today, St. Petersburg tensely awaits two important political events for the city. Election of the governor and the rotation of the heads of power structures. The prosecutor of the city Sergey Litvinenko is again named the first in the line of generals. The CrimeRussia is trying to find out whether there are any compelling reasons for this.

For freedom and unexpectedness

This week there was a reporting meeting of the board of the prosecutor’s office in St. Petersburg, which turned out to be a surprise. The prosecutor of St. Petersburg, Sergey Litvinenko, received thanks from the representative of the State Duma of the Russian Federation. Rewarding and incentives for prosecutors at the anniversary of the department in general is not new. But usually it is confined to some round anniversaries. This week, there were no round anniversaries for the city prosecutor's office. Therefore, giving Litvinenko thanks for “contributing to strengthening the constitutional system and ensuring the rights and freedoms of citizens of the Russian Federation” made many raise eyebrows in surprise. The second point, which made the old-timers of the political life of the city wonder, is that next to the State Duma awarding diplomat Mikhail Romanov there was no acting Governor of St. Petersburg Alexander Beglov.


Acting Governor of St. Petersburg Alexander Beglov

However, the chief official of the city was also present here, but as noted by many, he contemplated the awards ceremony with a very unusual expression on his face. 

It is not a secret, however, that Beglov does not feel special love for the head of the prosecutor's office of the northern capital. 

In the prosecutor’s office, the whisper started immediately. The fact is that in the office of Yuri Chaika there is one peculiar tradition – to keep the incentives for better motivation of employees. To put it bluntly, to other exemplary workers various awards can be delayed over the years. If, all of a sudden, they suddenly begin to pour on some leader, or a deputy it is a wake-up call. Another moment that caused surprise was the wide media coverage of the reporting board and the actual awarding ceremony. Usually such meetings are held without pathos. 


Rewarding of St. Petersburg Prosecutor Sergey Litvinenko 

Nevertheless, the fact of press coverage of the extended meeting of the board of the St. Petersburg Prosecutor’s Office “On the outcome of the work of the St. Petersburg prosecutor’s office in 2018 and the tasks of strengthening the rule of law and order” is already a done deal. Despite the fact that there were people who do not usually appear in front of journalists. So, the event was attended by: Deputy Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation Yuri Ponomaryov, Advisor to the Prosecutor General Tatyana Vasilyeva, Head of the Federal Security Service of Russia for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region Alexander Rodionov, Head of the Main Investigation Directorate of the ICR for St. Petersburg Alexander Klaus, etc.

In addition to the gratitude, representatives of the supervisory authority listened to the speech of Mikhail Romanov, in which he expressed satisfaction with the quality and efficiency of responses to parliamentary inquiries, strict control over the expenditure of budgetary funds.

The latter can even be called an achievement for the dialogue between the parliament and Sergey Litvinenko, because in 2015, Yury Chaika received a collective complaint from the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg. They complained about the fact that the city prosecutor ignored federal anti-corruption legislation. The Directorate for the Supervision of the Enforcement of the Legislation of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation immediately gave Sergey Litvinenko instructions on taking measures to develop the city’s Legislative Assembly on the procedure for organizing and conducting independent anti-corruption expertise. 

Flying in a dream and in reality

But despite the classic and loyal political tone of the speech, there was no particular favor with the city prosecutor among his colleagues. However, people from unfriendly security forces were present here in the overwhelming majority. The conflict between the high leaders of the ICR and the Prosecutor General’s Office has already gone very far, the heads of the FSB and the Federal Customs Service of Russia are traditionally in opposition. Colleagues from the Prosecutor General’s Office turned out to be just from the part that does not have any piety for Prosecutor Litvinenko. For example, Tatyana Vasilyeva, Chaika’s adviser and his representative in the Constitutional Court. On the whole, the situation was not atmospheric, although it ended with thanks.  

But based upon today's political realities the starting point for the fate of the main prosecutor’s chair in St. Petersburg will of course be the future elections of the governor of the city and the rotation of the security personnel, which will affect not only the prosecutor’s office. 

The change of leadership of the City Prosecutor's Office, as we have already written, has been awaited for a long time. And the last two years have not been easy for Sergey Litvinenko. Yury Chaika declared reprimands to him, a confrontation arose, which eventually led to the landing of a powerful assault force of the checking commission in St. Petersburg. But, contrary to all expectations, Litvinenko managed to stay in his chair. On the sidelines of the prosecutor's office of St. Petersburg, they still gossip about why this happened. There are a lot of versions. As we have already noted, the first version was that Litvinenko could have contributed to the investigation of the case of the Leningrad region prosecutor Ivanov, who was tried for a large bribe. As it was said, Litvinenko, in order to save his position, shared compromising information on the colleague with the top leadership.  


Late prosecutor of the Leningrad region Stanislav Ivanov 

The second version is that he personally managed to resolve the conflict with those persons who called for his resignation. According to sources, his weekly trip to Moscow after the visit of the auditors was devoted to this. However, high leadership required sacrifice. As they say, the deputy prosecutor of St. Petersburg, Igor Rezonov, who was dismissed in the fall of 2017, became a bargaining chip in this political situation. As the media wrote, the reason for this was the presentation of the head of the supervisory authority of St. Petersburg Sergey Litvinenko to Yury Chaika. Rezonov supervised the investigation in the prosecutor’s office, and, as the old residents say, worked “without screw-ups,” regularly pulling out the indicators of the city prosecutor’s office to the proper level. But after another check, he was suddenly taken away from the influential functions of supervising the entire procedural unit of the investigation and overseeing the Main Directorate of the MIA for St. Petersburg and Leningrad region, and later he retired.  

Proven path

This was followed by other dismissals. Moreover, as Litvinenko’s subordinates note, he began “to beat his own so that others would become afraid.” He dismissed people in two days, sometimes not giving a damn about clear violations of the labour law. As a result, even those who initially supported him at the very beginning of his career in the chair of the head of the structure suffered. For example, one of them was the head of the public relations department Elena Ordynskaya, who was respected by all journalists of St. Petersburg and who spent many years to create a positive image of the public prosecutor’s office. 


Prosecutor of the Northern capital Sergey Litvinenko 

Elena Sidorenko, who oversaw the prosecution’s criminal-judicial bloc, lost her post. Her department of state prosecution also regularly showed high performance.

By the way, in the current gratitude from the representatives of the State Duma there was a phrase about "a high sense of duty and an uncompromising attitude of St. Petersburg prosecutors to any violations of the law."

The public now has the opportunity to contemplate the unprecedented expression of a “sense of duty” in the form of a lawsuit of the city prosecutor Sergey Litvinenko in defence of interests of St. Petersburg for 11 million rubles ($166,000) for trampled grass in the Admiralty Garden and in the garden at the Winter Palace. On the defendants' bench there are the participants of the rally on May 5, 2018 "He is not a king to us." Previously, the organizers of public events have never been punished for any damage that participants inflicted on land and lawns. As the public observers present at the trial wrote, the prosecutor’s office did not find any clear evidence of this “damage,” but only a screenshot of the tweet and the act of the improvement committee, which the court spent studying for two whole days.

But this is public affairs. At the ministry itself, things are now at first glance successful and smooth, judging by the indicators voiced at the college. Nevertheless, knowledgeable people say that Litvinenko achieved a neutral attitude towards his personality, again, with the help of sudden dismissals of district prosecutors, and in 2018 there again were several of them.

Konstantin Yuryev was “asked to leave” the post of the prosecutor of the Kronstadt district. Before the next reassignment, he was suddenly reminded of the army respite, which no one had previously recalled, and they had given him the opportunity to work one more year till the retirement. In May 2018, the prosecutor of the Vyborg District, Dmitry Burdov, resigned at his own request. In November, Yury Chaika by his order dismissed the prosecutor of the Moscow district of St. Petersburg, Vladimir Rebo. Officially, this happened due to some identified deficiencies. Not officially – the long-time conflict with Litvinenko served as the impetus for dismissal. 


Ex-Prosecutor of the Kronstadt region Konstantin Yuryev

In January 2019, Prosecutor Yury Odintsov, who worked in the so-called 37th department of the city prosecutor’s office, lost his position. Odintsov was not planning to resign from the prosecutor's office. However, the fact of his departure was initiated by Litvinenko and associated with a document on the presentation of a new candidate to the position of the Head of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for St. Petersburg and Leningrad region.

The only prosecutor, who the city has lost recently not for professional reasons, was the prosecutor of the Petrograd district, Denis Tsarev, who died from a disease.  

Look ahead

Thus, despite the indicators voiced at the board meeting, the working atmosphere in the city prosecutor’s office cannot be called healthy.  

For example, it is no secret that many people hoped that Litvinenko’s resignation would take place and the employees who left “of their own accord” could return.

Today, the ministry is tensely awaiting a new wave of rotations of the heads of power structures, with the hope that the change of generals will affect Litvinenko. The fact that this person is treated with hostility in the city and district has been discussed for a long time. On the sidelines of the office it is underlined that a significant signal is how Alexander Gutsan left his post. It did not simply happen so that leaving his post in connection with his appointment as plenipotentiary in the North-West Federal District, he just did not sign the presentation to Sergey Litvinenko. He did not even offer him anything. As they say, "he did not want to see him in this position."


How the situation will develop with the chair of the Chief Prosecutor of St. Petersburg is a very big question now. But the old-timers of Smolny claim that no one is going to change anything until the autumn elections of the governor. All personnel shifts will begin later, unless nothing happens. The logic of the system employees is clear. Alexander Beglov, the acting governor, now needs an even palette of power generals, with whom he knows how to communicate. In the future, the head of the city, whoever he is, needs key people with whom it will be comfortable to work. But unlike the former head of the northern capital, Georgy Poltavchenko, Beglov does not have such extensive connections in power structures and will not be able to actively influence the choice of candidates. Here everything will depend on the high will in Moscow.



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