‘Big men’ of Governor Vorobiev: Illegal garbage business flourishes in Moscow region 

‘Big men’ of Governor Vorobiev: Illegal garbage business flourishes in Moscow region

The miraculous landing of an Airbus A321 belonging to Ural Airlines on a cornfield raised a number of questions in relation to waste landfills in the metropolitan area. The airbus struck a flock of seagulls because an illegal dump site was established not far from Zhukovsky International Airport. The CrimeRussia performed its own inquest to uncover ties between the emergency landing of the A321 and Andrei Vorobiev, Governor of the Moscow Region. It turned out that dump sites, seagulls, officials of Ramenskoe, and detained thief-in-law Shishkan are links of the same chain that cannot be broken even by the law enforcement authorities. After the aerial incident, a criminal case was instituted under Article 263 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (violation of the rules for traffic safety and operation of the railway, air, sea and inland water transportation systems). But the question is: why no criminal proceedings were launched in relation to the corruption and establishment of illegal landfills?

‘Cornfield miracle' 

An aircraft with 226 passengers and seven crew members onboard performing a Moscow–Simferopol flight struck a flock of seagulls, and its engine caught fire. The pilots made the only right choice and landed the plane on a corn field in the metropolitan area. The emergency landing site is shown below:

Airbus crash-landing site (Photo: Komsomolskaya Pravda) Airbus crash-landing site (Photo: Komsomolskaya Pravda) Airbus crash-landing site (Photo: Komsomolskaya Pravda)
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The Ural Airlines crew performed a true exploit by landing the aircraft without the landing gear and with inoperative engines and full fuel tanks. The President awarded the titles of the Hero of Russia to pilot Damir Yusupov and second pilot Georgy Murzin; senior flight attendant Dmitry Ivlitsky and flight attendants Nadezhda Vershinina, Dmitry Goncharenko, Aliya Slyakaeva, and Yana Yagodina were awarded the Orders of Courage.

Дамир Юсупов и Георгий Мурзин

Damir Yusupov and Georgy Murzin

The field where the aircraft has landed is located not far from Ramenskoe and leased by Rusmoloko company; its diary farm operates nearby. 

"The absence of fatalities and injuries is most important for us... It is impossible to assess the damages yet; we are not permitted there, but I think that the losses are significant. We must figure out how to feed the cattle in winter," – Sergei Dolzhikov, Director of the Ramenskoe Branch of Rusmoloko, said to the media. He noted that the main damage to the corn field originates not from the landing – but from the forthcoming transportation of the aircraft from the crash site. 

The Airbus will remain on the field at least until the end of August: its disassembly is going to start after MAKS Air Show. Currently, the aircraft is closely guarded.


The Airbus will be removed from the field in the end of August at the earliest

It is planned to make a movie about the crew – its members definitely deserve this. But the main questions are: Who is responsible for the incident? Where are the seagulls from? And what do they have to do with Governor Andrei Vorobiev?

Whose birds are they?

A number of questions are directly related to Zhukovsky International Airport plagued by numerous flight safety issues. Its investor – Rostec – launched the airport in May 2016 on the basis of Gromov Flight Research Institute, but ‘forgot’ to resolve associated problems, including the liquidation of landfills around the strategic object. As it is known, dump sites attract birds posing a grave danger to aircraft. Annual losses of the world commercial aviation from collisions with birds amount to $1.2 billion. Modern aviation engines are able to ‘consume’ sparrows and chaffinches – but an adult seagull destroys it, thus, causing a crash.

It became known that the ornithological security system of the airport operates on the basis of Gromov Flight Research Institute Joint Stock Company, and it is ineffective. For some reason, this system is classified, which means its uncontrollability: funds are allocated to it, but the further fate of the money is unknown.

ЛИИ Громова

Zhukovsky Airport was launched on the basis of Gromov Flight Research Institute

The management of Zhukovsky Airport believes that Gromov Flight Research Institute is responsible for the presence of seagulls: there are plenty of internationally accepted bird deterrence techniques used worldwide and preventing their collisions with airliners. 

"The runway is examined in accordance with the established procedure, especially in the morning and in the evening. It is such a misfortune that the seagulls somehow decided to fly at that time! Of course, we are trying to reduce the chance of collision, but no one in the world can completely exclude it," – a representative of Gromov Flight Research Institute said to the media. 

According to ornithologists, seagulls are smart birds: they get used to the records of frightened bird cries – and such sounds start attracting them instead of scaring away. In other words, the ornithological security system does not fulfill its function. Furthermore, seagulls are not necessarily nesting on landfills; they just fly there to feed and adapt to the garbage truck arrival schedule. A logical conclusion is: no garbage – no seagulls; no seagulls – no collision risks.


Seagulls are smart birds using landfills as feeding grounds

According to the airport management, representatives of Gromov Flight Research Institute had repeatedly addressed the Prosecutor's Office with regards to the dump sites located near Zhukovsky – but with no result. As the saying goes: don't have thy cloak to make when it begins to rain. The rain started – and numerous inspectors have been dispatched to examine the airport surroundings. They quickly found out that the vast nearby waste landfill is the home for numerous birds, and this problem is pretty old.  

Imbecility and courage?

After the aerial incident, the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resource Usage (Rosprirodnadzor) has officially announced that a number of waste landfills are located within a 2-km radius of the runway of Zhukovsky Airport. This includes an abandoned solid domestic waste landfill (Narkomvod) launched back in the 1930s. Currently, this site accommodates a waste transfer station belonging to Ekoservis Limited Liability Company (parcels with cadastral numbers 50:52:0020225:30 and 50:52:0020225:35) and an illegal garbage dump 6.4 ha in size (parcels with cadastral numbers 50:23:0000000:1183 and 50:23:0000000:1184) belonging to Vympel K Limited Liability Company. A portion of that land is used for “temporary storage of recyclable materials” – this is how the regional authorities ‘legalize’ the garbage.

Dump site near Zhukovsky Airport Dump site near Zhukovsky Airport Dump site near Zhukovsky Airport Dump site near Zhukovsky Airport
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Since May 2017, the Department for the Central Federal District of Rosprirodnadzor had received complaints about “the noncompliance with environmental and sanitary–epidemiological requirements in the course of waste management resulting in focal piling of waste of various fractions and origin on the ground in the open air within the water conservation zone of the Moskva River near Glushitsa Gardeners' Non-Commercial Partnership in the town of Zhukovsky”. The Rosprirodnadzor department has even instituted an administrative case against a group of unidentified persons under Article 8.2 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation (failure to meet ecological and sanitary-and-epidemiological requirements, when dealing with industrial and consumer waste or with other dangerous substances).

Back in May 2017, an administrative probe hasn’t confirmed the existence of an illegal landfill – although, according to the local people, it was there. The Ministry of Environment and Nature Use of the Moscow Region has interfered in the situation; as a result, a portion of the landfill was cleared – and garbage trucks continued unloading waste on the non-cleared area up until the emergency landing of the A321. 

On the day of the aerial incident, Dmitry Kurakin, Minister of Environment and Nature Use of the Moscow Region, has spectacularly demonstrated his incompetence by stating that there are no dump sites in the vicinity of Zhukovsky Airport, while Safonovo landfill, the closest to it, is located 14 km from the airport and was shut down seven years ago. 

Дмитрий Куракин

Dmitry Kurakin, Minister of Environment and Nature Use of the Moscow Region

In fact, the environmental minister has shown his imbecility and courage – he could not be unaware of the waste dump near the airport because, in the last five years, residents of Zhukovsky and Ramenskoe have submitted numerous complaints to the ministry about burning garbage located, by the way, only 200 m from the airport fuel depot. 

Circulation of companies in the ‘business environment’ of the Moscow region 

As said above, a solid domestic waste landfill – a true paradise for seagulls – is located less than 1.5 km from the runoff. Contrary to the words of minister Dmitry Kurakin, the ‘classified’ dump site is clearly visible on Yandex.Maps – it is located within a seven minutes driving distance from Zhukovsky Airport. Needless to say, this is a crime.

The landfill is shown on Yandex.Maps The landfill is shown on Yandex.Maps х The landfill is shown on Yandex.Maps
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Back in October 2017, after the inspection carried out by Rosprirodnadzor, Vympel K Limited Liability Company was notified of the improper use and pollution of the land and ordered to clear the bank – but failed to comply with the order.

It is necessary to emphasize that the Arbitration Court of the Moscow Region is currently examining a lawsuit filed by the Department for the Central Federal District of Rosprirodnadzor to recover from Vympel K “a compensation for damages caused by violations of the environmental legislation” in the amount of 25.2 million rubles ($383.7 thousand). However, Vympel K successfully withstands the legal attacks. The point is that the company belongs to businessman Rodion Kuzin affiliated – via his Liftservis company and Construction Materials Plant – with Konstantin Gornostaev and Pavel Zhermenev.

Rodion Kuzin is not only a businessman – but also a Municipal Deputy of Zhukovsky and member of the Commission for Improvement and Nature Use. With his permission, anybody may use the airport surroundings at his own discretion.

Родион Кузин

Rodion Kuzin

Gornostaev and Zhermenev have ties with Andrei Vikharev, Head of the Istra District; after the last year’s ‘garbage riots’, he had briefly held the post of the Head of the Volokolamsk District of the Moscow Region with the support of Governor Andrei Vorobiev.

Воробьев Вихарев

Andrei Vorobiev and Andrei Vikharev are friends and partners

According to SPARK-Interfax database, Vikharev used to be the owner of Spetsstroyinvest company whose director was Zhermenev, which confirms the ties between them. Currently, Zhermenev is in charge of Construction Trust № 88 belonging to Rodion Kuzin. In other words, a circulation of companies administered by the same persons is ongoing in the ‘business environment’.


Everything is interrelated in the metropolitan area

According to the available information, Andrei Vikharev (up until 2006, his name was Asfan) is a bankrupt illegally owning Panama-based AFS Developer offshore company. Three thousand hoodwinked co-investors of Ramensky Residential Complex could not get their apartments for years because 2 billion rubles ($30.5 million) have disappeared without a trace with the involvement of Vikharev in the course of the construction of a 25-storey building in Zhukovsky.


overnor Vorobiev called Vikharev “an effective manager

"An illegal waste dump was established near the airport by people close to Andrei Vikharev, an accomplice of Governor Vorobiev. Seagulls live on this landfill, they fly to the airport and end up in aircraft engines. It is necessary to understand that the crooks appointed by Voroviev in charge of many districts are dangerous for human lives. Corruption kills... There are plenty of such dump sites with seagulls near airports! This accident with a happy ending indicates that the primary threat to national security is not the US State Department, or Soros, or Khodorkovsky. The clampdown on corruption must be at the top of the agenda. Neither Syria nor Ukraine – but corruption. The crooks whose greed kills people must be exposed," – Shulika (@kshulika) Telegram channel states. And it is absolutely right. 

All traces lead to the Governor 

For a long time, Yunus Shakhshaev, General Director of Ramenskoe Electric Grid Open Joint Stock Company and Deputy of the Ramenskoe Municipal Council, and his son Ruslan Shakhshaev, ex-Deputy Head of the Ramenskoe District, had administered waste landfills in the district. Then thief-in-law Oleg Medvedev (Shishkanov), also known as Shishkan, has driven them out of the garbage market. In 2016, Ruslan Shakhshaev was arrested for embezzlements on an especially large scale, and Shishkan appointed his loyal henchman Egor Esin to oversee quarries and landfills.

Юнус Шахшаев

Yunus Shakhshaev is a high-ranked official in Ramensko

Руслан Шахшаев 

Ruslan Shakhshaev, ex-Deputy Head of the Ramenskoe District

Shishkan had friendly ties with Vladimir Demin, Head of the Ramenskoe District in 1996–2016, and former district head Andrei Kulakov arrested in June 2019 for the murder of his mistress Evgenia Isaenkova. But because Governor Andrei Vorobiev is ‘the sovereign’ of the entire metropolitan area, including its dump sites and landfills, Shishkan has got so-called ‘mandatory partners’ in the garbage business representing the regional administration.


Thief-in-law Oleg Shishkanov was directly involved in the garbage business in the Moscow region

On June 15, 2019, the Basmanny District Court of Moscow has remanded Shishkan in custody for holding a supreme position in the criminal hierarchy. Interestingly, football trainer Valery Gazzaev, a Deputy of the State Duma from Spravedlivaya Rossiya (Just Russia) Party, was the first to offer surety for the crowned thief. Later, Yuri Semin, Aleksander Serov, and Lev Leshchenko have joined Gazzaev. In the meantime, businessman Egor Esin, the ‘right hand’ of Shishkan, went on the run and was put on the wanted list. 

Anyway, all traces lead to Governor Vorobiev: the ‘garbage agenda’ in the Moscow region is directly associated with him. Plenty of regional structures are supposed to deal with the problems threatening lives of aircraft crews and passengers – but in reality, they bear no responsibility for nothing.


Governor Andrei Vorobiev

The Moscow region generates good revenues for Andrei Vorobiev and his close circle. For instance, Governor’s mistress Ekaterina Bogdasarova lives in great style: the high-ranked ‘cavalier’ presented to her a penthouse with a living space of 347 square meters in Knightsbridge Private Park Residential Complex worth 400 million rubles ($6.1 million) and a Tesla Model X worth over 14 million rubles ($213.2 thousand).

Воробьев, Богдасарова

Andrei Vorobiev and Ekaterina Bogdasarova

Sources close to the Governor claim that the owners of the waste landfills surrounding Zhukovsky Airport – Asfan Vikharev, Head of the Istra District, and Ekoservis company – also sponsor the lavish lifestyle of this socialite, who is a graduate of a design school and Head of Istok Charitable Fund. 

Owners of Ekoservis Limited Liability Company have business and family ties with Oleg Kuleshov – he was mentioned in police reports on Ramenskie organized criminal group that used to control Zhukovsky and Ramenskoe in the ‘turbulent 1990s’ under the leadership of thief-in-law Shishkan. Oleg Kuleshov and his partner Dmitry Gusev have registered Ekoservis in the names of their female relatives.




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