The Sandpit General: Crimean campaign of Prosecutor Demeshin
Stanislav Ivanov, the ex-Prosecutor of the Leningrad Region, has been charged with bribe-taking and would have to stand trial upon completion of the investigation – while his friend and patron Dmitry Demeshin is going to the sunny Crimea where great opportunities in his shady specialization are waiting for him.
The name of the Prosecutor Demeshin is associated with a number of corruption and departmental scandals. These scandals, however, do not hinder his climbing upon the career ladder. The next step in this ladder would be a superior position in Crimea. According to a CrimeRussia source, after the election of Natalia Poklonskaya the Deputy of the State Duma, Demeshin is expected to be appointed to the newly-vacant post – which Oleg Manakov, the Deputy Prosecutor of the Moscow Region, is also striving for.
The current position of the State Judicial Counselor 3rd Class (equals to the Major General) is also pretty high. Currently Demeshin is the Head of the Administration for the Defense and Industrial Sector of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation. Earlier he was the Deputy Head of another important subdivision of the Prosecutor General’s Office – the Administration for Supervision of Compliance with Law and Corruption Prevention.
The chair of Poklonskaya
The service record of the young and ambitious Prosecutor includes a number of key posts in municipal and regional Prosecutor’s Officers. At one time, he used to be the Prosecutor of Mytishi; later, after working a few years as the Prosecutor of the Kaluga Region, he was appointed to the Prosecutor General’s Office. Being a seasoned careerist, Demeshin uses each new chair as a launching pad to the next advancement. But the prosecutor’s post in Crimea – which is almost in his hands – surpasses all his previous achievements.
Crimea is an important step for prosecutor Demeshin – he has been keeping an eye on the resort peninsula for a while. As the CrimeRussia reported earlier, back in 2014, he performed an offensive reconnaissance in the newly-integrated republic of the Russian Federation when, being the Head of the Administration for Supervision of Compliance with Law and Corruption Prevention of the Prosecutor General’s Office, he had come there to establish local branches of the watchdog authority. On the prosecutor’s traveling allowance, Demeshin lived for a while in a prestigious Oreanda hotel in Yalta, has got to know the local environments, and met the right people.
Natalia Poklonskaya, the former Prosecutor of Crimea
In fact, Demeshin had some useful connections in Crimea even before the service trip. A person close to him and holding a pretty high position had been already waiting for him – Andrei Krasilnikov, Federal Inspector of the Apparatus of the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Crimean Federal District and husband of Natalia Poklonskaya, the first-ever Russian Prosecutor of Crimea.
In the past, Krasilnikov used to work in the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation and knew Demeshin very well. It was not a bid deal for him to assist an old friend in establishing contacts with Crimean officials and business elite. His support would be also useful for Demeshin after he takes the chair of Krasilnikov’s wife in the Republican Prosecutor’s Office.
In anticipation of his official appointment, Demeshin is actively preparing to the new capacity. According to the CrimeRussia source, he has even started creating a team of people to be deployed to key positions in the Crimean Prosecutor’s Office.
The source also stated that the Prosecutor carries out consultations with the regional business community. Positioning himself a representative of top circles of power, Demeshin claims that the son of Sergey Kiriyenko, the First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office, is his friend.
The reasons why Demeshin is so eager to become the Prosecutor of the Russia’s exclave on the Black Sea are simple. First of all, Crimea has a population of almost 2.5 million people; it is a full-scale subject of the Russian Federation. The Kaluga region where Demeshin used to work as the Regional Prosecutor is not a match for Crimea: although Kaluga is closer to Moscow, Crimea is visible better from the capital. The career of the cutie Prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya confirms this.
Based on the words by Vladimir Putin – who has recently emphasized the importance of the integration of Crimea into the legal and administrative framework of Russia – the Crimean Prosecutor’s Office will be attracting even closer attention of the Kremlin in the nearest future. From the career point of view, the significance of Crimea means a good chance to get another star on the strips. And then – a streamlined path to Moscow, in the footsteps of Poklonskaya. This is all about charisma, efficiency, and right connections in the Prosecutor General’s Office – and Demeshin has plenty of those.
There is a nuance, however. Although the Prosecutor General’s Office considers Demeshin the main candidate for the Prosecutor of Crimea, bitter struggle is inevitable. The competitor – Oleg Manakov, the Deputy Prosecutor of the Moscow Region who also used to work in the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, – is a powerful rival: according to the CrimeRussia source, he is a protege of Yuri Chaika, the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation.
Similarly with Demeshin, the biography of Manakov is not untarnished. His skeleton in the closet is even more recent. Amiran Georgadze, the Krasnogorsk shooter, who had shot four people dead in October 2015 – including Yuri Karaulov, the Deputy Mayor of Krasnogorsk, and Georgy Kotlyarenko, theHead of the Krasnogorsk Electrical Grids Enterprise, – was a close friend of Manakov who used to work as the Prosecutor of Krasnogorsk for a year. And the wife of Manakov owns a luxury three-storey mansion in the Moscow region built by a company belonging to Georgadze and sold to Manakov’s father-in-law at a suspiciously low price of 27 million rubles.
Amiran Georgadze, the Krasnogorsk shooter
When this fact became known to the media, the Deputy Prosecutor of the Moscow Region – who used to handle the case of Georgadze – has recused himself from the proceedings due to a conflict of interest. The investigation has not found any corruption elements in the case of Georgadze – but a cloud on Manakov's reputation still remains.
The Island of Crimea
Contenders to the post of the Crimean Prosecutor understand very well the significance and perspectives of the geopolitically-isolated part of Russia. By its financial and economic potential in the next 25 years, Crimea surpasses any other Russian region. The free economic zone established by a special decree of Vladimir Putin in November 2014 determines the investment opportunities of the republic for the next quarter of a century.
Crimea is waiting for investors
According to the law, zero tax and customs charges will be in effect in the peninsula during this period. And then, should everything go as expected, the law can be extended. According to Valentin Demidov, the Minister of Economic Development of the Republic of Crimea, 114 investment projects are currently being implemented in the region; at least 128 billion rubles have been already invested in the regional economy in the framework of these projects that cover the whole spectrum of investment areas: various agriculture clusters – from wine production to sea-farming; high-tech IT parks, industrial complexes and relevant transport infrastructure, etc. The launch of the Kerch Strait Bridge – the automobile component of which should be put into operation as early as in 2018 – would become a powerful economic boost for the whole Southern Federal District, which has recently incorporated Crimea and Sevastopol.
Active tourism development is supposed to restore the old-time fame of Crimea as a health resort of national significance.
The popularity of Egypt and Turkey has drastically decreased among the Russians after the suspension of air travels – which attracted tourists to domestic seaside resorts. This year, 5 million Russian tourists have already vacated in the federal health resort; this number is expected to increase by 1 million by the end of 2016.
The region is also of special interest from the governmental career point of view due to the possible amalgamation of Crimea and Sevastopol into a single subject of the federation, which, according to some Deputies of the State Duma, would eliminate the excessive administration issue. The idea is up in the air at various levels of the federal government since March 2016. And despite the statements by Sergey Aksenov, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Crimea, that the merging of the two adjacent Russian territories into a single region after their integration into the Southern Federal District is not actual, this idea is alive. According to some political experts, the future merging of Crimea and Sevastopol is inevitable – although the government does not provide any comments on this yet.
But apparently Dmitry Demeshin, who already sees himself in the chair of the Crimean Prosecutor, has made a decision on that issue.
According to the CrimeRussia source, Demeshin is seriously discussing the amalgamation of Prosecutors’ Offices of Crimea and Sevastopol – foreseeing himself in charge of the new watchdog authority. Therefore, his motivation to become the Prosecutor of Crimea is really strong – especially taking his tarnished reputation.
Career on pits
Dmitry Demeshin started his service in watchdog authorities in 1997, after graduation from the Saratov State Academy of Law. Unlike most of his fellow alumni, the native of Tashkent has received a job not in a distant periphery, but in the prestigious Moscow region – thanks to his useful connections, he was appointed an Assistant to the Prosecutor of Kolomna.
As the CrimeRussia wrote earlier, since the very beginning of his career, Demeshin has got a reputation of a Prosecutor, who may work out a deal in certain circles. In that period, the corruption specialization of the enterprising prosecutor has been formed – protective racket of sandpits. According to the CrimeRussia source, Demeshin was purposively looking for sandpits in the districts under jurisdiction, initiated audits, identified violations – and then settled the conflicts with business owners peacefully.
This shady business had never affected the successful career of Demeshin. As a result, after working for 9 years as an assistant and deputy to municipal and district prosecutors in the Moscow region, Demeshin was appointed the Prosecutor of Mytishi. Two years later, after a service trip to the North Caucasus, he became the Deputy Prosecutor in the large and rich Rostov region.
Honey for the prosecutor
The Rostov period was, perhaps, most marred by scandals in the whole career of Demeshin.
On August 1, 2008, Yuri Chaika, the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, signed an order appointing Demeshin a Deputy Prosecutor of the Rostov Region. It can’t be ruled out that Demeshin, using his connection in the Prosecutor General’s Office, was involved into the dismissal of his direct superior Valery Kuznetsov – who was deeply respected in the region and openly protested against the candidacy of Demeshin prior to his appointment.
Valery Kuznetsov, the Prosecutor of the Rostov Region
After the dismissal of the battle-hardened Prosecutor, the veteran of Chechnya, corruption fighter, and justice seeker for keeping a personal blog, his deputy Demeshin has summoned a press conference where he sharply criticized the former chief. In particular, he accused Kuznetsov of breaching the investigation secrecy, self-promotion, and overstatement of his rule in the Regional Prosecutor’s Office. It is known that Demeshin was the first to inform Kuznetsov of his dismissal – after which the former Prosecutor has been hospitalized with stroke.
After a smear campaign against Kuznetsov, Demeshin, in fact, has taken over his chair by becoming the Acting Regional Prosecutor and finally revealed his true colors.
A very strict boss (any subordinate to Demeshin coming a minute behind time faces inevitable sanctions), perfect family man, boxer, and mountain climber turned out to be a fan of night life.
Med (Honey) is one of the most expensive and prestigious night clubs in Rostov-on-Don
After familiarizing with the new place, Demeshin quickly acquired (according to the CrimeRussia source – via third parties) a share in one of the most popular and expensive night clubs in Rostov-on-Don. Med (Honey) club is a posh and pricey establishment; it provided a good supplement to the Prosecutor’s salary.
Demeshin has also exposed himself as a lobbyist for businessmen and corrupt officials.
It is known that he was receiving regular payments for general patronage from Aslanbek Dzhioev, the head of Rostovgorgas Joint Stock Company, also known for his financial assistance to a more prominent regional figure – Sergey Gorban, the Rostov Mayor.
Demeshin has also provided invaluable assistance in terms of legal coverage to his close friend Artem Chaika. As the CrimeRussia wrote earlier, the Prosecutor had participated in the consolidation of the Rostov business in the hands of the Prosecutor General’s son after the redistribution of spheres of influence between local organized crime groups – Bortsovskie (Wrestlers), Boksery (Boxers), and Volki (Wolves). But this is a different story.
The Anti-corruption Foundation of Alexey Navalny links Dmitry Demeshin with the winning of structures affiliated with businesses of Artem Chaika in an auction for development of the Vorobievskoe salt deposit in the Kaluga region.
Chronologically, the appointment of Demeshin the Regional Prosecutor was simultaneous with the beginning of the struggle launched by the Tyretsky Solerudnik – according to the Anti-corruption Foundation, controlled by Artem Chaika – for a perspective salt deposit near Kaluga with known reserves of at least 1 million tons of salt.
Shortly after the auction for development of the Vorobievskoe Salt Deposit (was conducted on December 16, 2013), the Federal Agency for Mineral Resource Use (Rosnedra) has named the Tyretsky Solerudnik the winner – and Demshin was promoted to a general and summoned to the Prosecutor General’s office for assumption of a new position.
Some time later, the Anti-corruption Foundation published a documentary of its investigation into that story. The situation was not very good for Demeshin because he was shown in the documentary as a prosecution cover for schemes used by Artem Chaika to win profitable governmental tenders. However, the issue has been resolved in a most unexpected way.
Yuri Semin, theState Judicial Counselor 2nd Class
Demeshin has been promoted to the Head of the Administration for the Defense and Industrial Sector of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation – while the Administration for Supervision of Compliance with Law and Corruption Prevention, where Demeshin used to work as a deputy to Yuri Semin, the Head of that Administration, was disbanded. Semin had to retire with honor.
The Sandpit Generals
The Kaluga period of Demeshin’s career is closely linked with the name of Stanislav Ivanov, the former Prosecutor of the Leningrad Region, who has recently become a suspect in a high-profile corruption case. According to the CrimeRussia source, the previous career of Ivanov was successful largely thanks to Demeshin – who used to promote Ivanov through ranks as his henchman.
Stanislav Ivanov, the Prosecutor of the Leningrad Region, in his office
Demeshin and Ivanov have met each other during their work in Moscow and the Moscow region. Demeshin has always been the leader of their duo, while Ivanov acted as a supporting partner. Later, when Dmitry Demeshin was the Head of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Kaluga Region, Ivanov had been appointed his deputy.
Kaluga media wrote in 2012–2013 that upon taking the office, Demeshin has immediately shown himself as a crusader of environmental and nature use legislation and initiated numerous audits against sand and gravel pits in the region. His deputy Ivanov was supervising nature use control and directly contributed to the pressure put on mining enterprises. Then Demeshin has been transferred to Moscow, while Ivanov was appointed the Prosecutor of the Leningrad Region. During the last two years he had been working as a regional prosecutor – up until an audit initiated against him by the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation.
The prosecution of Stanislav Ivanov for bribe-taking has started in a mysterious way. On October 11, the Prosecutor was rushed to the adult section of the R.M. Gorbacheva Scientific and Research Institute of Children’s Oncology, Hematology, and Transplantology suspected of poisoning with an unknown substance. A radiation exposure was also considered a possibility. Doctors found that the Regional Prosecutor was in serious condition and diagnosed him with acute leukemia. According to officers of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Leningrad Region, this provided grounds for Yuri Chaika, the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, to initiate an inspection of the Ivanov’s office for traces of poisonous substances – because the Regional Prosecutor could step on many people’s toes while exercising his duties. The CrimeRussia source notes that Ivanov had been continuously struggling for customs flows and initiated anti-corruption audits of the customs and transport on a regular basis. The examination hasn’t found any traces of poison in the office – but 10 days after his hospitalization, Ivanov submitted a letter to Vladimir Putin asking for resignation.
The official reason for the resignation was the poor health. However, it turned out later that there could be other reasons. According to our source, Ivanov was a prominent figure in backroom intrigues in the Prosecutor General’s Office. With support of Aleksander Buksman, the First Deputy Prosecutor General, and powerful patrons of his old friend Dmitry Demeshin, he was considered a possible successor to Sergey Litvinenko, the current Prosecutor of St. Petersburg and old opponent to Yuri Chaika. A numerous prosecutors’ commission had recently been dispatched from Moscow to St. Petersburg with a sole purpose – remove Litvinenko from his post.
As the CrimeRussia wrote earlier, Litvinenko has not been favored by the Prosecutor General’s Office for a while because he dared to disobey orders from Chaika. Six months ago Litvinenko has got a black spot from him in the form of a severe reprimand. In order to gain legal grounds to dismiss Litvinenko, 30 Moscow prosecutors have checked thousands of criminal cases in one month and, based on the result of this audit, estimated the work of their St. Petersburg colleagues as poor.
Litvinenko managed to retain his post despite the pressure from Moscow prosecutors
But ultimately Litvinenko managed to retain his post – while the career of the Prosecutor of the Leningrad Region has been ruined by the Moscow inspectors. A former crown prince Ivanov has instantly become a suspect in a criminal case. According to MR7.ru St. Petersburg portal, FSB investigators have provided to the Moscow prosecutors materials showing that Ivanov was blatantly patronizing illegal sand and gravel pits in the Leningrad region, while Sergey Petrichenko, the Acting Prosecutor of the Leningrad Inter-Regional Environmental Prosecutor’s Office, was assisting him. Now Petrichenko also faces a resignation.
On the same day when the President has signed the resignation of the Prosecutor of the Leningrad Region, Ivanov has been charged with bribe-taking for the total of 20 million rubles. The investigators were insisting on his detention, but the doctors stated that such pretrial restriction would be harmful for his health – so Ivanov has been released on a pledge not to leave town.
Stanislav Ivanov has been brought to court from the oncological department in slippers and gauze facial mask
The investigation of bribe-taking episodes committed by the former Prosecutor of the Leningrad Region is ongoing, and the court will ultimately determine the degree of his culpability. At the same time, his friend and patron Dmitry Demeshin is packing bags for sunny Crimea where great opportunities in his shady specialization are waiting for him. Environmentalists and public activists warn that dozens of new gravel, sand, pebble, and lime pits would appear in the peninsula shortly – the regional development program requires large volumes of inexpensive local construction materials. Some tenders have already been carried out; dozens of new ones are coming soon.
In other words, everything is going fine for Dmitry Demeshin so far – unless the operatives investigating the case of the former Prosecutor of the Leningrad Region do not take an interest in him. The CrimeRussia source told that the FSB has some questions to the Demeshin–Ivanov duo due to their possible involvement into corruption crimes.
Vladimir Putin described the events of August 1991 as a "coup attempt" in the film Sobchak’s Case about the ex-Mayor of St. Petersburg, filmed by Ksenia Sobchak. Zolotov told how he had defended the White House.