Rogozin’s niece appointed director of Sochi National Park bypassing Krasnodar siloviki
Darya Filippova has been appointed director of the Sochi National Park for the time of check in respect of the former leadership. The Chamber of Accounts had found violations in its work, including misappropriation of funds, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation noted.
The niece of Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin Darya Filippova has been appointed director of the Sochi National Park on the initiative of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation.
According to Kommersant, this was reported by the ministry itself, where Rogozin sought clarification with regard to the information that Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology Sergey Donskoy had coordinated with him the candidacy for the seat vacated by former director of the National Park Nikolay Penkovsky. The Ministry noted that the information shared by Penkovsky was not true.
Kommersant’s source at the Russian Government Office explained the details of the scandalous personnel reshuffle to the publication. According to him, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology had long complained of Nikolay Penkovsky’s quality of work, but the latter would not voluntarily resign.
In addition, over the 15 years as Head of the Sochi National Park, Penkovsky enlisted the support of high-ranking Krasnodar security officials, to whose opinion the ministry must bow. The appointment of any high-ranking official’s relative to replace Penkovsky would have demonstrated to the leadership of the Krasnodar region’s power structures that the decision to remove him was taken at the highest level and was not subject to appeal.
Moreover, several sources of Kommersant noted that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology had initially considered Filippova as a temporary director of the reserve — she was to prepare the administration for a comprehensive audit of Nikolay Penkovsky's economic activities. There was a need for her after the Accounts Chamber revealed a number of violations in the Sochi National Park’s activity, including signs of misuse of budgetary funds.
As Deputy Head of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology Murad Kerimov told the publication, the temporarily appointed administration serves as a crisis manager for the period of check in relation to the previous park administration.
In case of detection of unlawful facts during the departmental inspection, employees of the ministry will refer the materials to law enforcement agencies for a pre-investigation check.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology has yet to make up its mind as for the candidate to replace Penkovsky, however, Darya Filippova will soon take paid leave after childbirth, the ministry reported.
To recall, the personnel scandal in the ministry flared up after a sudden dismissal of director of the Sochi National Park Nikolay Penkovsky on June 7 and the appointment of Dmitry Rogozin’s niece Darya Filippova 5 days later; a journalist and decorator by training, the latter had no prior experience in the environmental field, except for three weeks as Deputy Minister of Natural Resources of the Crimea. Ecologists and former Director of the national park Penkovsky considered this an overt manifestation of nepotism, which might cause damage to the national reserve, since the new management team appointed along with Filippova does not have the proper experience to manage the most difficult, in the opinion of experts, national park of Russia.