2016's top road scandals
The relationship between road users tends to represent the society trends. At any rate, Russian roads have documented all the 2016's patterns with remarkable precision. Unpunished recklessness goes side by side with ostentatious circus-like efforts to stop the offenders. Here is an overview of the top road scandals that defined the passing year according to the CrimeRussia.
Rich kids prefer Gelandewagen
It is this ‘public flogging’ that has dominated road news this year. The silver-spooners have become the subject of the country’s inexorable justice indeed. Presumptuous kids born to wealthy families annoy the public almost as much as their parents. Besides, the offspring is forever violating the laws.
It all started with an hours-long chase of the son of Lukoil vice-president Ruslan Shamsuarov, who was zipping through Moscow driving his Gelandewagen. The young man must have thought too high of his position and to top it all, insulted the officers. Shamsuarov got 200 hours of compulsory labor, and the ruthless Mercedes Gelandewagen was confiscated. The chase itself cost him 15 days in jail. Abduvahob Madjidov, who was the driver, got 10 days. Viktor Uskov and Mara Bagdasaryan, who were also in the car during the chase, got a 10-day imprisonment each.
This all made Mara Bagdasaryan a real boon for peace officers. The young lady turned out to have committed much more traffic violations. The police, who had not paid attention to her before, were eager to catch up. As it turned out, the forgetful street racer had 51 outstanding fines for various traffic violations. The entire month of November Bagdasaryan would appear at hearings and received a total of 24 days in jail and 595 hours of compulsory work.
Another Gelandewagen story involving FSB Academy graduates evaporated into irrelevance much sooner. The ride in the spirit of Brigada [Russian crime miniseries that debuted in 2002] although accompanied by some traffic violations, did not harm anyone. In fact, graduates of elite Russian universities are well known for this kind of behavior on the road. The shadow soldiers made quite a fuss when they decided to post a selfie in social media that cost them a service in the province. Well, that might teach them a lesson.
The 18-year-old son of Evgeny Prigozhin (‘the Kremlin chef’) Pavel also enjoys the speed but not so much the traffic rules. On December 17, the young man was driving his Gelandewagen at 180 km per hour, when he suddenly rammed a BMW. The accident happened at the intersection of Piskaryovsky Prospekt and Bestuzhevskaya Street of St. Petersburg. Both drivers were safe, but a female passenger in the BMW got clamped in the wrecked car.
However, Prigozhin Jr. did not rush to help the victims and chose to quickly remove the SUV’s number plate instead. A little later, the Kremlin-related family dealt with the car itself, quite prudently registered on a certain company named ‘Olympus’. They brought the ill-fated vehicle back to the showroom. No check findings have been reported yet.
Kirill Romanov, the grandson of Professor Shumakov and son of a Tretyakov Gallery employee paid a price for his bold ride through Muzeon Park and the stairs of Moscow State University building: he was jailed for 10 days. It is unlikely that the wealthy kid who was devouring croissants during the arrest had a clear idea of what had happened, yet he deleted his Instagram page. Although even when arrested, the offender claimed that he had not been driving the BMW through the park.
When the police arrested Aleksey Smagin in December for driving a cherry-colored Hummer H1 across the lawn near the Moscow State University, he told them that he just wanted to have some fun and test the SUV’s driving performance. The young man, keen on car racing, apologized and admitted that it was a rash act on his part. The video featuring the SUV forcing its way though the snow-covered lawns near the University went viral. Initially, the police suspected a certain Dinara, who was the one to post the compromising video as dinarka070. However, the woman threatened to sue anyone who was "trying to defame and slander" her good name. Nikulinskiy Moscow Court jailed Smagin for 14 days. He was found guilty under Art. 20.1 of the Administrative Code (Disorderly Conduct).
On June 25 an incident involving businessman Erast Mataev occurred in the center of Moscow: he drove his BMW on a pedestrian street angering people around. Evgenia Khrapova, who got injured by the driver, started videotaping everything on her phone. Then Mataev jumped out of the car, snatched the phone out of her hands and hit it against a wall, then kicked the woman several times. The businessman had held a post in the Moscow government some time before, but was never a City Hall official, said Leonid Pechatnikov, deputy Mayor for Social Development. Yet, Mataev’s car was moving along Arbat Street with a low-numbered license plate for motor vehicles used primarily by officials and deputies. A criminal case under part 1 of Art. 167 of the Criminal Code was initiated (Willful Destruction or Damage of Property), which was then re-qualified as a graver crime under part 2 of Art. 167 of the Criminal Code, with Mataev facing up to five years in prison. Later, he was charged under one more article, part 2 of Art. 116 (Battery). After the incident, the entrepreneur was going out of his way to hush up the loud case, offering the victim a settlement of 10 thousand dollars, then he publicly apologized to the woman. At first, Khrapova would refuse the money, claiming it was a matter of principle. In October, however, Presnensky Moscow Court finally dismissed the case against Erast Mataev. The woman had asked to drop the charges as he had "apologized and compensated both moral and material damage".
Early in May, another video got on the social media featuring Kamilla Kumehova aged 27, the daughter of North Ossetia ex-prosecutor, who was violent against the police. The video shows the woman, obviously under the influence, taking out a knife and threatening one of the officers, saying: “even if I kill you [the officer], I’m not going to jail.” Then she moved on to an even more terrifying threat: called her dad. “Ok hun, let me just call my dad and he’ll deal with them... Isn’t it great that I left the gun at home!" Kumehova is saying. Initially, the Investigative Committee was not going to initiate a criminal case on those grounds, but later the case file was returned to the court. "As part of the verification of the verdict lawfulness, the decision of the interdistrict investigative department has been canceled. All the files have been passed on for additional verification", stated North Ossetia Investigative Committee.
On June 2016, a man driving a Porsche Cayenne was trying to get away from Moscow police. Artem M. aged 20, with two young women inside the car, chose not to obey the inspector’s demand to pull over, drove through a red light and almost hit pedestrians. In Kolomenskoye Park parking lot, the reckless driver jumped out of the car and took off, but the police caught and arrested him. The driver offered resistance before threatening that his father the general would get the officers into trouble.
There have been more tragic endings to some of the games Russian elite youngsters were playing. In Podolsk, there was a car accident with victims involving the son of former Russian Sport Minister Boris Ivanyuzhenkov, Anton. He drove into a bus stop with people waiting for their transport. Two of them, a man and a woman, got injured. Although tragedy was averted, Ivanyuzhenkov’s statement claiming he was driving at 60 km per hour did not hold water. Yet, soon the parties settled and the charges were dropped. Ivanyuzhenkov’s family paid compensation to all of the victims, who no longer have claims against Anton, his lawyer said.
Meanwhile, Ilya Pereverzev, a 20-year-old son of a businessman, intentionally ran over a police officer who was trying to arrest him. He was going to get away from police afterwards. Initially, the traffic policemen stopped the Infinity because it had no number plate. When asked to produce documents, the young man hit the gas, knocked down the policeman standing on his way and sped off in Hollywood style. The fugitive was caught only when he crossed four blocks. It was revealed that Ilya’s driving license had been revoked three times, for drunk driving and gross violation of the rules.
In October 2016, MIA Main Investigation Directorate in Moscow closed the case of the ‘Diamond Boy’ Tomas Leviev who had been involved in a car accident. The charges were dropped as the parties had settled. The rich kid paid damages to all of the victims and offered them an apology. The accident itself occurred in October 2015, when on Moscow’s Krymsky bridge a Ferrari crossed into the oncoming lane at high speed and rammed a Volvo and a Ford, setting them into fire. The sports car was driven by Tomas Leviev of 18, who had never had a driver's license. Tomas Leviev was taken away from the accident scene by the security guards of his billionaire father Lev Leviev (Levayev), who chose not to help the victims. The Ferrari burned down. Witnesses said that before the collision the young man was ‘playing checkers’ (rapidly changing lanes) at a speed of about 200 km per hour.
Meanwhile, Stavropol authorities are trying to hush up a serious accident involving an official vehicle of Deputy Prosecutor General Ivan Sydoruk. The incident took place on December 14 near the city of Pyatigorsk. According to eyewitnesses, the Audi driver was driving around a traffic jam moving on the wrong side with the flashing lights on. Ignoring any obstacles that might come on his way, the man was picking up speed until a Lada Kalina suddenly appeared in front of him, turning off the highway from out of its lane. The traffic police have given no official statement regarding the victims (if any) or the accident itself. However, sources say that the Kalina driver was hospitalized.
Witnesses claim that Ivan Sydoruk was inside the Audi too, but then someone took him away on another vehicle. Besides, it was reported that right after the accident, the flashing lights were removed from the prosecutor's car.
People from the Stavropol region say that Sydoruk is no stranger to zipping along the wrong side of the road with the beacon light on and no regard to other motorists.
Traffic police officers came soon along with the North Caucasus Prosecutor General officers who report to none other than Sydoruk himself, the source said. Then they took all the DVR tapes where Sydoruk’s Audi was ramming the Lada Kalina, according to a CrimeRussia source. After that, the inspectors came up with a story that made it look like the Lada driver was the responsible one. They are trying to hush up the case whatever the cost.
Here we cannot avoid mentioning the accident that unfortunately was fatal. In April, in Kemerovo region’s Kemerovo-Yashkino highway, a Toyota Land Cruiser hit a Toyota Premio with a man and four young women inside. Two of the women died on the spot; the driver and the other two passengers were taken to hospital, but on April 24, one of the women died in intensive care. The SUV was driven by Yuri Movshin, the former Traffic Police Chief of the region. According to witnesses of the accident, before crashing into the Toyota Premio that had just slowed down before a turn, the Land Cruiser flew past another car at a speed exceeding 130 kilometers per hour. Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Kemerovo region opened a criminal case under part 5 of Art. 264 of the Criminal Code (Violation of traffic rules, which has, by negligence, entailed the death of two or more persons). The loud car crash is still under investigation. There are reports revealing that Yuri Movshin is responsible for another fatal accident in 2011, when he was Chief of the regional Traffic Police. No criminal case was initiated, as the investigation did not find him guilty.
Serpukhov, December 11. Police Lieutenant Anastasia Bulgakova, who served in the local MIA, was driving a Hyundai Sonata and killed two pedestrians. She was driving under the influence at a speed exceeding 100 km per hour and slipped into the oncoming lane, then lost control of the car, ran off the road and hit the Sharov couple. Both the man and the woman died on the spot. Both Bulgakova and her immediate superior lost their jobs. According to media reports, Bulgakova had frequented bars and seemed no stranger to the DUI. The ‘cleansing’ could well be rationalized by a simple willing to dissociate from the incident as soon as possible.
The Legal Initiative researcher Saida Sirazhudinova at the All-Russian Civil Forum asked the representative of the mufti of Chechnya about the "honor killings" in Caucasus. And soon after that, she found herself under surveillance.