General Aleksander Trofimov transformed Ingush Police into criminal group?
Aleksander Trofimov, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ingushetia, is an illustrative example of a policeman discrediting the entire agency. Even his colleagues state that the lieutenant general had repeatedly covered illegal actions of his subordinates. A major scandal has recently erupted in the republic due to the arrest of operatives of the Center for Combating Extremism of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) for the Republic of Ingushetia. Experts believe that this high-profile criminal case would result in the termination of the Minister.
Minister damaged relations with everybody
The scandal in the Ingush Ministry of Internal Affairs might result in a replacement of its superior command. Numerous complaints on actions of Aleksander Trofimov, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ingushetia, are being received – both within the republic and at the federal level. Residents of the region are dissatisfied with the staffing policy of the lieutenant general, poor performance of the Regional State Road Traffic Safety Inspectorate, and lack of anti-corruption efforts.
According to the official biography of the Minister, his career has been skyrocketing since 1997 – after the graduation from the Academy of Management of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation. Aleksander Trofimov has started his service as an investigator in the General Administration of Criminal Investigation of the MIA. He has quickly advanced through ranks and became the Deputy Head of the Operative–Investigative Bureau № 1 of the MIA. In May 2009, Trofimov has become the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Dagestan. He holds his current position since June 2011.
In his speeches, Aleksander Trofimov often states that the terrorism threat level has considerably decreased in Ingushetia in the recent years. Minister credits himself for this – for example, he told deputies of the Republican Parliament that the criminal situation in the region has improved due to the active prophylactic work of the law enforcement structures carried out jointly with the public, leaders of the clergy, and municipal authorities.
However, there are much more reasons to criticize the work of the Ingush police rather than to commend it. For example, Yunus-bek Yevkurov, the Head of the Republic, does not make a secret from his dissatisfaction with the staffing policy of Aleksander Trofimov and his manner to resolve disciplinary issues. Yevkurov is also concerned with the unsettling statistics of road traffic incidents, law enforcement issues, clashes with enforcement structures of adjacent Chechnya, ineffective spendings, etc.
Yunus-bek Yevkurov, the Head of the Republic of Ingushetia, (on the left) and Aleksander Trofimov
The Lieutenant General of police has uneasy relations with Petr Nikolaev, the Prosecutor of the Republic of Ingushetia, as well. Allegedly, this is the reason why the republican police, in fact, does not combat corruption. According to some sources, Aleksander Trofimov had specifically instructed the Administration for Economic Security and Combatting the Corruption neither to identify, nor initiate criminal cases related to extortion and bribe-giving. This was done to taint the Prosecutor’s crime solving statistics – because the watchdog authority bears greater responsibility for the corruption crimes in comparison with the police.
The federal MIA headquarters also have issues with Aleksander Trofimov: the Lieutenant General was disobeying orders of Vladimir Kolokoltsev, the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, requesting to dismiss high-ranked police officers who had smirched esprit de corps. These people, including Akhmed Uzhakhov, the ex-Head of the Police Department for the Town of Karabulak, and Alaudin Nakastkhoev, the ex-Head of the Republican State Road Traffic Safety Inspectorate, were close to the Head of the Ingush MIA and enjoyed his patronage – although the federal command was dissatisfied with their performance.
In addition, the residents of Ingushetia had repeatedly protested against the corruption in law enforcement authorities and complained on the police brutality, extortion of bribes, and tortures of detainees.
Gangsters in uniform
The press service of the Republican Investigations Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR) has reported that Timur Khamkhoev, the ex-Head of the Center for Combating Extremism of the MIA for the Republic of Ingushetia, had been charged with a number of crimes.
The high-ranked police officer and an operative subordinate to him are charged under item (a), part 3 of Article 286 (Exceeding Official Powers committed by a person holding a government post of the Russian Federation or a government post of a subject of the Russian Federation with the use of violence or with the threat of its use) and item (a), part 2 of Article 163 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Extortion by a group of persons by previous concert).
Timur Khamkhoev, the ex-Head of the Center for Combating Extremism of the MIA for the Republic of Ingushetia
This scandal is expected to become the last straw and lead to the dismissal of Minister Aleksander Trofimov. According to the MIA regulations, direct superiors bear disciplinary responsibility for offences committed by their subordinates. Taking the severity of crimes committed by Timur Khamkhoev, the termination of Lieutenant General Aleksander Trofimov seems inevitable.
So, what has the former Head of the Center for Combating Extremism done wrong? According to Novaya Gazeta, on July 15, 2016, local resident Magomed Daliev died during an interrogation in the Center for Combating Extremism. He was arrested on suspicion of bank robbery that had occurred several days earlier in the town of Sunzha. It was a high-profile heist: some criminals have stolen 12 million rubles from a branch of Rosselkhozbank.
The official cause of death is heart attack – but the relatives of Daliev believe that the 50-year-old man died from beating and torturing with electric shock. Marem Tochieva, the spouse of Magomed Daliev, had also spent a whole day in the Center for Combating Extremism – the policemen tried to force the woman to confess that she had robbed the bank jointly with her husband.
Tochieva told later that the anti-extremism operatives put her on a chair and tied her hands with a scotch tape. They were beating her in the head with something heavy, attaching wires to fingers and shocking her with electricity, demanding to confess. Then they removed her socks and shoes and attached the wires to her feet. The electric shocks became even more painful; simultaneously, they were beating the woman in the head and face and holding an electric shocker against her stomach.
Still, Marem Tochieva managed to survive – unlike her husband Magomed Daliev.
In addition, the investigative authorities have determined the involvement of Timur Khamkhoev, the ex-Head of the Center for Combating Extremism, and an investigator of this police subdivision into a crime committed on November 9, 2016 in Karabulak. Armed persons introduced themselves as law enforcement officers, assaulted a citizen of Azerbaijan, and seized his Audi-А6 vehicle and mobile phone. Then they released the victim and demanded 800 thousand rubles from him for the return of the stolen property. The man was supposed to pay the required sum to the police officers within a month.
Residents of Ingushetia, human rights advocates, and social activists, had repeatedly notified the MIA in the Republic of Ingushetia about numerous violations and crimes committed by operatives of the Center for Combating Extremism and its Head – but Aleksander Trofimov had never reacted to such signals. Perhaps, the lieutenant general had been receiving his slice from illegal profits of the policemen practicing robberies and extortion.
Ordered not to combat corruption
Of course, such activities of the Ingush police have caused numerous questions in the Republican Prosecutor’s Office. The regional media had repeatedly noted a bitter conflict between Aleksander Trofimov and Petr Nikolaev, the Head of the watchdog agency.
Petr Nikolaev, the Prosecutor of the Republic of Ingushetia
The Prosecutor of Ingushetia had plenty of reasons to be displeased with the Republican MIA – everybody knew that that the local police were making money by harassing businessmen and extorting money from them. Officers of the Republican Administration for Economic Security and Combatting the Corruption were especially successful in this shady business. There were rumors that Aleksander Trofimov personally supervises such operations.
Another source of revenue for the enterprising Minister are budget funds allocated for technical maintenance of service vehicles. Ordinary policemen have to repair the service cars at their own expense – they are fully aware that the money assigned for this purpose would end up in the general’s pockets. Media call the Maintenance Center of the MIA in the Republic of Ingushetia a ‘personal feeder’ of Aleksander Trofimov.
The confrontation between the Minister and Prosecutor has escalated to the point of absurdity. Some sources state that the Lieutenant General of police decided... not to combat corruption – in order to taint the Prosecutor’s crime solving statistics. Allegedly, Aleksander Trofimov has specifically instructed the Administration for Economic Security and Combatting the Corruption and investigative subdivisions of the Republican MIA neither to identify, nor initiate criminal cases related to extortion and bribe-giving. This has been done to create an impression that the Prosecutor’s Office, responsible for combating corruption, is unable to perform this important duty.
Police officers investigating corruption crimes committed by high-ranked Ingush officials, have been fired by Aleksander Trofimov. The Minister demonstrates surprising loyalty to some subordinates – while quickly and easily dismissing others. Almost one hundred fired police officers had sought justice in court in the recent years and won their lawsuits. But Aleksander Trofimov ignored all verdicts requiring to reinstate the policemen in their former positions. Such noncompliance with court orders – similarly with other offences committed by the Minister – have attracted close attention of the Republican Prosecutor’s Office.
Another example of Trofimov’s questionable staffing policy is the story of termination of Alaudin Nakastkhoev, the Head of the Republican State Road Traffic Safety Inspectorate. This officer was close to the lieutenant general and continued his service despite a dismissal order signed by Vladimir Kolokoltsev, the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation.
According to Nasha Versia na Severnom Kavkaze (Our Version in the North Caucasus) Internet portal, the Investigations Directorate of the ICR in the Republic of Ingushetia has initiated a criminal case against Alaudin Nakastkhoev back in 2014. He was charged under part 1 of Article 286 (Exceeding Official Powers) and part 1 of Article 292 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Official Forgery). The investigation has found that officers of the Republican State Road Traffic Safety Inspectorate had been illegally registering vehicles not cleared by the customs. This has resulted in considerable losses for the federal budget. The machinations were allegedly supervised by Nakastkhoev. However, at that time, the high-ranked law enforcement functionary managed to retain his post, despite the tainted reputation.
Alaudin Nakastkhoev, the ex-Head of the Republican State Road Traffic Safety Inspectorate
Although Vladimir Kolokoltsev had signed the order dismissing Nakastkhoev on September 9, 2016, Trofimov has removed him from the post only on October 18, 2016. Apparently, it took Alaudin Nakastkhoev more than a month to ‘tie up loose ends’.
Another high-profile scandal related to the surprisingly loyal attitude of the Minister to an offender in uniform has erupted last year. It involved Akhmed Uzhakhov, the ex-Head of the Police Department for the Town of Karabulak and a personal friend of Aleksander Trofimov. They studied together in the Academy of Management of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation.
The Administration of Internal Security of the MIA in the Republic of Ingushetia has found that back in 2001, Uzhakhov had illegally obtained a certificate of disability to be able to receive pension and concurrently serve in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. After the discovery of this fact, the Acting Head of the Karabulak Police Department has submitted a statement waiving the disability pension – i.e. he had been illegally receiving money from 2001 to 2012.
The audit carried out by the Administration of Internal Security of the MIA in the Republic of Ingushetia has uncovered several other gross violations committed by Akhmed Uzhakhov, including forgery of a personal file, use of service vehicles for personal purposes, etc. The operatives had reported all these facts to the Minister back in 2012, but he quickly hushed up the case. Aleksander Trofimov had been always conniving at violations committed by his fellow alumnus – so it became clear for the police operatives that friends of the Minister are above the law.
Akhmed Uzhakhov has been terminated only in 2015, after his offences had been reported to Vladimir Kolokoltsev.
The public trust to law enforcement authorities has been considerably shaken in Ingushetia; the reasons for such a situation include inter alia actions of Aleksander Trofimov. It is quite possible that the terrorism threat level has indeed decreased in Ingushetia in the recent years – but not because of the effective work of the lieutenant general. The fact is that he has effectively failed all other functions of the Ministry and transformed the regional police into a criminal group.
The prosecutors want the former Russian Federation Council member to go to prison for 14 years instead of 9 and pay a 500-million-ruble ($8.8 million) fine instead of 70 million rubles ($1.2 million).