Underworld's own National Guard: how are Viktor Zolotov’s subordinates linked to Shakro Molodoy?
From whom to seek protection from criminals when law enforcers are themselves criminals, as is often the case? Former National Guard officers accuse their direct boss of relations with the thief in law. According to them, he took part in the shootout in the center of Moscow and created an OCG comprising of his subordinates, who provide security and power support to crime lords at thieves’ meetings, are involved in the transportation of thieves’ “common fund” and train criminal “infantry” directly at the base of an elite special forces unit.
“At the forefront of the fight against lawlessness,” this is the name of an article about the elite division Bulat in the Spetsnaz (‘Russian Special Forces’) magazine. According to the article, the Bulat SOBR special police created in the 1990s by the MIA Main Directorate in the Moscow region was one of the first to be hit by crime. It was “at the forefront of the fight against crime,” as the Moscow region had “the cruelest and most powerful organized crime groups of the end of the 20th century.” “Only the best of the best served in these units,” it says.
Employees of the unit have recently spoken in more detail about who could serve there and continues to do this. An appeal addressed to Head of the presidential administration Anton Vaino, Prosecutor General Yury Chaika, Head of the National Guard Viktor Zolotov, Director of the FSB Alexander Bortnikov, and Head of the Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin has been posted in the Ombudsman Politsii group. In the appeal, ex-soldiers accused Deputy Commander of Bulat, Police Lieutenant-Colonel Aleksey Kasyan and several other officers in relations with the main thief in law, Shakro Molodoy (Zakhary Kalashov).
In particular, it is reported that Kasyan took part in the notorious shootout at the Elements restaurant on Rodchelskaya Street in Moscow, which took place at the end of 2015. To recall, back then, Shakro Molodoy’s henchmen led by Andrey Kochuykov (Italyanets) extorted 8 million rubles ($124,120) from the restaurant’s owner, Zhanna Kim, who allegedly had underpaid this amount to her friend Fatima Misikova, a friend of Kalashov, for repairing the restaurant.
The SOBR special police (previously known as detachment No. 11) left the system of RUBOP (Regional Office for Combating Organized Crime), created back in 1993. The name “Bulat” was assigned to the detachment in 2000. SOBR special police's main task is power support of operational activities conducted by services of the criminal police unit. This includes the release of hostages, the neutralization and destruction of armed criminals, and the fight against OCGs and terrorist groups. Candidates for service in the SOBR were a separate caste of people. As a rule, they were already existing employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, mainly former RUBOP operatives, criminal investigation officers, as well as special forces riot police officers with higher legal education and army personnel serving in special forces.
Restaurateur’s side was represented by Head of the Diktatura Zakona law office, ex-KGB employee Eduard Budantsev and his subordinates. They were opposed by a gang consisting of inveterate criminals like Italyanets, militants acting on behalf of the private security company subordinate to Shakro Molodoy, as well as representatives of law enforcement agencies. Officers of the nearest police department who arrived on the call did not intervene in the situation and watched it from a distance.
The financial conflict quickly turned into a fight and a shootout, as a result of which two people were killed and several were injured, including Budantsev.
According to the authors of the letter, Aleksey Kasyan was one of Kochuykov’s guards.
In the video, he is entering the VIP-room for negotiations with Kim together with Italyanets and the rest of the group.
Outside, during the outbreak of a direct conflict between Italyanets and Budantsev, a person who is referred to as Kasyan is standing behind the lawyer. He is no longer seen when the fight and shooting begin.
In a commentary to the video that appeared at least a year ago, the man whom ex-Bulat employees subsequently called Kasyan was referred to as an employee of the Federal Drug Control Service. It is noteworthy that Kasyan really joined the National Guard after the dissolution of the Federal Drug Control Service in April 2016.
Policemen observing the conflict
However, as stated in this anonymous appeal, HR representatives and the internal security service did not have questions to Lieutenant-Colonel Kasyan. Moreover, according to the authors of the letter, Kasyan is still associated with members of Shakro Molodoy’s clan. According to them, the patronage of Bulat commander, Police Colonel Ruslan Sleptsov, and that of criminal groups representatives, who have extensive connections in the leadership of the National Guard, helped Kasyan avoid criminal prosecution and advance in his career.
Allegedly, Aleksey Kasyan aka Kasyashka himself has an OCG comprising of his confidant Bulat employees, such as Head of OTPSS and Police Colonel E.L. Chebotar, Chief of the 1st fighting department of police, Major A.V. Zhilnikov, Captain A.V. Konev, Senior Lieutenant V.A. Borid’ko, Senior Lieutenant R.A. Mikhaylichenko, and Senior Lieutenant I.A. Kochmin.
All of them provide all kinds of assistance to representatives of criminal groups at the direction of Kasya. For example, Chebotar organizes training in firing, combat, and tactical and special training of criminal security-controlled private security companies, which take place directly at the Bulat SOBR base. Other employees of the 1st fighting department provide power support to criminals. For example, they periodically accompany and ensure the safety of crime lords at thieves’ meetings, engage in the transportation of thieves’ common fund with official vehicles, participate in raider seizures, extortions, robberies, and thefts in the interests of criminal world representatives. All this happens with the use of official vehicles, service weapons and ammunition, which are on the balance of the Bulat SOBR.
Well, if this is true, then we can say that Bulat is indeed “at the forefront of the fight,” but not against crime; rather, on its side.
Publicizing such a blatant case, of course, is very important, since no other methods in our country can influence compliance with the law. However, as reasonably noted in one of the comments under the publication, “why now?”
“Upon learning of the violation of the law and committing of a crime, any person, especially an employee, even a former one, must immediately take measures to prevent crime and detain offenders. Why did it take them 4 years?” one of the Internet users wrote.
It turns out that one particular event prompted the former special forces officers to talk about their boss’s links to the underworld.
It took place on September 19, 2019 during a conflict between two soldiers, Kochmin and Borid’ko, in the locker room at the Bulat base. The latter was wounded in the leg with a Glock pistol. Kasyan covered up this shootout and did not report it to the Investigative Committee or the command, despite the fact that a criminal offense was committed. His immediate supervisor Ruslan Sleptsov did not take any measures either.
According to the information available to the officers, one of his deputies, Police Colonel A.M. Medvedev, helped him resolve this issue in a positive way. In turn, Medvedev is friends with Head of the department of special police units of the Russian Guard, Police Lieutenant General Vladislav Ershov. Nevertheless, a service check was initiated into the incident.
Although, the fact that some fighters of the National Guard are engaged in commercial activities, guarding representatives of the criminal underworld, is no news. Previously, it was the prerogative of the special unit of the Russian National Guard’s FSUE Okhrana Special Guard Center, but it is clear that the unit’s employees working specifically for organized crime are more convenient to do this, because this is a direct sphere of their interests and their owners are well aware of their duty.
Last month, users in social networks discussed pictures showing National Guard officers carrying packages with purchases of some nouveau riche individual and his companions of leggy-model appearance. However, we cannot say for sure that National Guard officers were hired to protect someone in this case; perhaps, their only responsibility was to carry packages. As one of the users noted in the commentary: “Some people’s job is to carry bags.”
“Some people’s job is to carry bags.”
In August this year, the Preobrazhensky District Court of Moscow handed down a sentence for Roman Egorov, former commander of the Russian National Guard’s FSUE Okhrana Special Guard Center. The court decided that he had exceeded his authority by organizing the protection of Pavel Breev, a member of the M.Video board of directors, and his family members, using subordinates. As a result, the lieutenant-colonel was convicted under part 1 of Art. 285 of the Russian Criminal Code (Abuse of Official Powers) and sentenced to three and a half years’ imprisonment.
According to the investigation, in February 2017, Egorov concluded an agreement with Breev to protect his property, but in fact the special forces carried out the functions of 24/7 bodyguards for the businessman and his family. Egorov received 250 thousand rubles ($3,887) a month for his services, thus earning 2.5 million rubles ($38,875) in ten months.
However, the most high-profile case (as of recently) of the “misuse” of National Guard officers was revealed as a result of a shootout in the Moscow International Business Center in November 2017. To recall, back then, bodyguards of gangland businessman Gavril Yushvaev (aka Garik Makhachkala) and National Guard officers, who guarded also a gangland businessman, Dmitry Pavlov aka Pavlik, had a fight.
The conflict took place near the Oko tower when Pavlov was celebrating his anniversary there. By the way, such thieves in law as Oleg Shishkanov (Shishkan), Sergey Aksenov (Aksen), as well as the leader of the Podolsk OCG, Sergey Lalakin (Luchok) and gangland entrepreneur Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov (Tayvanchik) came to congratulate him.
The shootout scene
According to the investigation, the conflict arose after Yushvaev went up to the restaurant, and his guards blocked the entrance to the tower with his Maybach car. As a result, they and the guards of other guests had a verbal conflict, which escalated into a shootout. It resulted in one dead and five wounded, including two employees of the Russian National Guard’s FSUE Okhrana Special Guard Center, Dmitry Yakobson and Dmitry Ivanchev.
At first, the ICR concluded that the conflict had been initiated by Yushvaev’s guards, namely, two-time world kickboxing champion Magomed Ismailov and Eldar Khamidov. They were charged with Attempt at Murder (part 2 of Art. 30 and Art. 105) and Illegal Sale of Arms (Art. 222). But later, the version of the investigation changed dramatically. Wounded Jacobson and two other private security officers who guarded Pavlik – Kirill Titarenko and Platon Koyda, who died during the shootout – became suspected of starting the conflict. Nevertheless, the criminal case against them was terminated.
Three employees of the Okhrana Special Purpose Center were located at the Moscow International Business Center under an agreement between Okhrana FSUE and Intourist Holding Company (‘ITK’) OJSC. Allegedly, the National Guard officers guarded only the “transported property,” which was ITK’s Lexus. The squad was armed with Makarov pistols. To perform the task, the “guards” were given a Toyota Land Cruiser 200. As Advisor to the Director of the National Guard Alexander Khinshteyn told Novaya Gazeta, the agreement between Okhrana FSUE and ITK did not contradict any laws or regulations. Especially since the blocking shareholding, or 26.8% of ITK’s shares, belong to the Federal Property Management Agency (‘Rosimushchestvo’). But Okhrana FSUE had no legal reason to refuse a company with state participation to conclude an agreement. However, the advisor to the National Guard Director did not explain how the Lexus owned by ITK could be at the disposal of Dmitry Pavlov, who had nothing to do with this company. In turn, Okhrana FSUE Spokesperson Valery Gribakin said that a person with a criminal past and, all the more, a thief in law cannot get any protection, since each client is carefully checked.
However, this phenomenon has a long history. For example, it became known from the materials of the criminal case about the 2000 murder of Novaya Gazeta journalist Igor Domnikov that the leader of the hitmen’s gang Eduard Tagiryanov was guarded by employees of the Moscow riot police. Later, it turned out that the Tagiryanovskie OCG, which operated in the period from 1995 to 2003, was responsible for more than 20 murders. It is unclear how those who were supposed to catch criminals guarded them instead.
In 1997, the Moscow Central Internal Affairs Directorate’s Internal Security Service completed an internal investigation in the Saturn special unit, the officers of which guarded Vasily Naumov, the leader of the Koptevskaya organized criminal group (Naum Mladshy).
So the National Guard took up this beautiful 90s tradition to provide “services” to criminals. Apparently, the president’s personal guard, numbering about 340 thousand people, which so far has been particularly distinguished only by dispersal of the opposition, had to make itself useful during the time out of rallies. Moreover, a man who once worked as a security guard was appointed to command this structure.
After serving in the border troops, and then at the 9th KGB Directorate in charge of protecting politicians, Viktor Zolotov became Boris Yeltsin's personal guard shortly before the coup in 1991. In 1992, the president sent Zolotov to work in St. Petersburg to protect the first person of the “capital of the North,” Anatoly Sobchak. After his dismissal from the Federal Protective Service in 1996, he got a job at the Baltic Escort security company, which was created by well-known St. Petersburg crime lord Roman Tsepov. According to media, Tsepov provided security services to a number of crime lords, in particular, to the family of the Malyshevskaya group leader, Alexander Malyshev, and some leaders of the Tambov group. Despite the fact that Tsepov used to servedin the Ministry of Internal Affairs, he was a defendant in a number of criminal cases. He was first arrested in 1994 on charges of Illegal Storage of Firearms. Since 1993, survived five assassination attempts on his life. The last case against him was initiated in March 1998 on charges of extorting $70 thousand.
In the fall of 2004, Tsepov suddenly died as a result of unknown poisoning. Later, radiation sickness was called as a possible cause of his death. The press noted the similarity of the symptoms of Tsepov’s disease and that of fugitive FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned with polonium. During the funeral of Tsepov, a picture that later became infamous was taken, which shows Head of the Central Internal Affairs Directorate in St. Petersburg, Mikhail Vanichikn, leader of the Tambovskaya criminal group Vladimir Barsukov-Kumarin (Kum), and the future head of the National Guard of Russia.
1)Zolotov, 2)Kumarin, 3)Vanichkin
So the appeal of the Bulat fighters to Zolotov (among others) was totally not misdirected. He knows how and who to protect and will surely figure it out, as he did many times before. For example, after being accused by the Anti-Corruption Foundation of purchasing food products for the National Guard at prices that were 2-3 times higher.
As a countermeasure against publicizing such unpleasant facts about this power structure, various conspiracy theological versions began to appear in the media. Some said that it was FSB playing games against Zolotov. Allegedly, this anonymous letter dealt the third blow at the National Guard head. The first was Navalny’s investigation, which led to the resignation of deputies close to Zolotov – Sergey Melikov and Sergey Mileyko – and FSB officers Igor Ilyash and Oleg Plokhoy joining the National Guard leadership. Then came the scandalous case of actor Pavel Ustinov, who was first unreasonably detained, then sentenced to 3.5 years for nothing, but eventually released anyway. As a result, Zolotov’s subordinates (and himself) were exposed as aggressive and easily vulnerable, and – most importantly – inconsistent idiots. Now, according to some analysts, the case of Kasyan is deliberately being hyped, dragging along other high-ranking employees of Bulat.
However, should ordinary citizens be worried about who is digging into whom and for what purpose? Much more important is the fact that even the leaders of an elite unit specially created to fight organized crime turn out to be members of organized crime groups... However, is anyone even surprised?