Sergey Gorban. Dismissal due to loss of "people’s trust" 

Sergey Gorban. Dismissal due to loss of "people’s trust"
Mayor of Rostov Sergey Gorban

The recent initiative of the Rostov-on-Don residents, who tried to collect signatures in support of Sergey Gorban’s resignation, brought zero results. Rostov is a unique city, and its mayor is only a cog in the machine, a system with joint responsibility. In such conditions, the list of those in power comes down from the very top of the chain. A change in it is possible only if high-ranking officials in Moscow, who stand behind certain regional rulers, lose their own seats.

The recent initiative of the Rostov-on-Don residents, who tried to collect signatures in support of Sergey Gorban’s resignation, brought zero results. Rostov is a unique city, and its mayor is only a cog in the machine, a system with joint responsibility. In such conditions, the list of those in power comes down from the very top of the chain. A change in it is possible only if high-ranking officials in Moscow, who stand behind certain regional rulers, lose their own seats.

One of such fateful resignations has recently received country-wide coverage. Following a smuggling case, the head of the Economic Security Service of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Viktor Voronin decided to leave his post. Informed sources believe that this is a wake-up call for the Rostov-on-Don Mayor Sergey Gorban, who had friendly relationship with Viktor Voronin. In private, Gorban repeatedly spoke about his support. The FSB general more than once came to Rostov-on-Don, where the two friends participated in a joint hunt organized specifically for the high-ranking guest.

So, what did Sergey Gorban do to anger the Rostovites? The chief complaints against the official are as follows: loss of people’s confidence, autocratic decisions on socially important matters, and disregard of the city’s expert community and activists. In this context, the case of the paid parking is particularly illustrative.

According to a survey initiated by the city administration, 72% of residents are against the construction of paid parking. However, the mayor’s office did not take their voices into account and set up a controversial tender, which was won by the Rostov Parking Space Limited Liability Company, established only six months ago. For the time being, the company has equipped only a quarter of the 6000 planned parking spaces. In fact, it turned out that former free city parking spots had been fenced with signs of "Paid parking." Could this really cost 150 million rubles? Hardly. It is just that shady schemes became more elaborate, and the chain of strawmen - longer. The main defendants can be singled only by using the general logic of kickbacks. For those who know nothing of this kickback system, we should name the real value of the conducted work - 2 pennies. All the difference between this number and the submitted millions goes into the pockets of the lobbyists at all levels. The parking construction is a modern bureaucratic business area, where they make profit not directly but through intermediaries across the country.

Сергей Горбань в молодости
Sergey Gorban in youth

Gorban was originally from the village of Peshkovo, Azov district. In his younger years, certain people knew him by the nickname "Gorb." Even while the new Russia was still growing, he already had close ties with criminal groups from Rostov-on-Don, which he retained and used in his career later. That is why when he returned to the region, any attempt to achieve justice and to call someone to account ended up with frame-ups in the regional investigative committee and subsequent arrests. There was a notable case when a novice investigator tried to enter the Rostov-on-Don Mayor’s Office with a search warrant, without telling his superiors. As the story goes, at the entrance to the building, he received a phone call: the young man was strongly advised to forget the road there. The investigator was then fired for non-compliance.

Sergey Gorban has often said in private that he hates this city, and that he is not going to stay here for long. This attitude is as clear as day, judging from his actions and the people he appointed on his team. It seems that he has decided to gut the Rostov Region of all the resources and take revenge for some kind of grudge he has from his youth.

Sergey Gorban’s deputy for architecture and construction is Oleg Markitantov. There is little information about his past on the Internet, but it is not surprising. It is worth a lot of effort and money to clean the world-wide web from compromising materials, and Markitantov happens to have the means, which are quite impressive by the way. Since 2007, he worked as Deputy Director of the Sochi Municipal Unitary Enterprise Vodokanal. After that, he became the official assistant of the Sochi Mayor, then the deputy head of Investments and Project Support Department of the Krasnodar Region.

In 2011-2013, thanks to the success in the implementation of investment projects, Markitantov worked as the deputy and acting head of the Territorial Directorate of the Federal Agency for State Property Management in the Krasnodar Region.

Олег Маркитантов
Oleg Markitantov  

Prior to current appointment, Oleg Markitantov worked for a few years as the deputy chief of the North Caucasian Territorial Directorate of Property Relations under the Russian Defense Ministry in Rostov. In his CV, Markitantov mentioned previous service in the Russian Interior Ministry. A CrimeRussia’s source learned that before Markitantov left for civil service, he had been a defendant in the criminal case initiated at the request of a Rostov businessman, a nightclub owner, who is now deceased. The relevant search process took place right in the Markitantov’s office, in the Main Directorate of the Russian Interior Ministry for the Southern Federal District. The unit was later disbanded, but back in 2006, this had been an influential power structure. After that, the case was hushed up, and Markitantov moved to work in Sochi with clear conscience, where he remained until the next appointments. There is a theory that he solves all shady urban development issues, because he is the person recommended by the people from the Southern Federal District Prosecutor's Office.

According to the declaration of income for 2015, the deputy mayor for construction and architecture Oleg Markitantov earned not so much (for a state official) – 1.044.478.71 rubles. However, his wife worked a hundred times harder - her revenue for 2015 amounted to approximately 182.5 million rubles. The family has 12 residential houses and apartments, more than a dozen other real property items, and the VAZ-21011 and Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG cars.

Sergey Gorban’s team includes two other notable deputies - Sergey Razdorsky (a relative of the Southern Federal District prosecutor Sergey Vorobyov) and Sergey Kuznetsov. Both appointees came from the team of the governor Golubev.

Kuznetsov is a widely known figure in the region. For a long time, he served as the deputy governor for administration, staff management and local government at the time when the region was headed by a current senator Vladimir Chub. In Gorban’s team, Kuznetsov is considered "the gray cardinal" and "the brain" of the team.

Curiously, on June 15, 2010, Kuznetsov and other Chub’s deputies (Yuri Andriadi, Sergey Kurdyumov, and Ivan Budarev), as well as the governor’s head manager Lyudmila Logutina, were fired by Vasily Golubev, who came to replace the previous long-living governor. However, right before the election to the City Duma, Golubev reappointed Sergey Kuznetsov, betting on his vast experience in election campaigns, and won: Kuznetsov helped the governor from Moscow to form the desired composition of the lawmakers, who would vote for him. As a result, the local duma is now fully controlled by the manager from Moscow.

Kuznetsov has also been considered Vasily Chopa’s man, the former deputy chief of the FSB Department for the Rostov region. Chopa resigned after numerous corruption scandals, but still has a lot of influence. Unofficial sources and media have repeatedly pointed to Kuznetsov’s connection with this law enforcer.

A single example would be enough. Kuznetsov’s son was previously suspected of a serious crime. Once he rested with friends at the Pirs restaurant on the Rostov quay and sniffed too much cocaine. After that, the son of a former deputy governor of Rostov Region, Andrey Kuznetsov, got into an argument with another group of young people. Heated with dispute, Andrey Kuznetsov pulled out a knife and inflicted injuries to one of the brawl participants. One of the deputies of the head of Rostov Investigative Committee, Aslan Khuadu, witnessed these events and called the staff of the Investigative Committee and the police. The investigators appeared at the crime scene before the police. After this fight, murder suspect Andrey Kuznetsov was wanted, but still managed to move around in the city on an expensive SUV without license plates. Vasily Chopa handled the conflict with relatives of the deceased and helped to avoid the criminal case. Rumor has it that, for this purpose, a large sum of money was sent to the Regional Office of the Russian Investigative Committee in the Rostov Region. All local media outlets were silent about the case, because of a secret order received from the security forces.

Евгений Иванов
Evgeniy Ivanov  

Sergey Gorban and his team have completely usurped the power in the city. Many appointments are made with gross violations of legislation. City Council is under the full control of the city mayor, and it is no surprise. Some lawmakers, who have criminal past, maintain business relationship with Gorban. For example, a member of the United Russia party, the leader of a part of Zheleznodorzhny district of ​​Rostov, Evgeny Ivanov, was repeatedly considered by the Interior Ministry as a member of the Sobol-Ursalov organized crime group (the Fortuna market). Thanks to contacts with high-ranking officials and information attacks on the police officers, whose evidence had helped open the criminal case, Ivanov was acquitted, and later became a duma member. An investigator Natalya Tverdokhlebova, who led the process, eventually became Ivanov’s common law wife and gave birth to his child.

On May 27th, 2016, Rostov Mayor Sergey Gorban submitted a proposal to the City Duma to approve the appointment of Artur Grigoryan as head of the Pervomaisky District. Until May 2016, Grigoryan was the director general of JSC Rostov Vehicle Service Station No. 1 Donavtoservis. Since September 2015, Grigoryan was a member of the Rostov City Council of the sixth convocation. Before Gorban’s proposal, Grigoryan hadn’t had any experience and record of service in state and municipal structures, which meant that it was a gross violation of the current legislation. However, everyone turned a blind eye to this fact. Unofficial sources claim that Artur Grigoryan is on friendly terms with the son of Russian Attorney General, Artyom Chaika. Previously, his interests in Rostov were represented by a prosecutor Dmitry Demeshin, who now works in the headquarters of the Prosecutor General’s Office. Demeshin’s activities and means of protecting Artyom Chaika’s business in Rostov were repeatedly highlighted in our articles.

Gorban’s embezzlement schemes of budget funds in Rostov-on-Don are quite simplistic. Basically, it is the construction of housing and roads. In addition, during Gorban’s reign, raids on enterprises and commercially profitable land areas have become more frequent. The city mayor is also assisted by former criminal kingpins (now successful businessmen), who got into his team. They are Oleg Ursalov (Sobol-Ursalov organized crime group) and Yuri Sayenko nicknamed "Saenych," who also has influence in the criminal underworld and good relationship with Artur Grigoryan.

Олег Урсалов

Oleg Ursalov 

All major construction and road contracts have been given to structures related to the billionaire Samvel Karapetyan (the Tashir Moscow corporation). At the same time, local market players, who had previously successfully engaged in this business in Rostov, were excluded from contracts, which caused widespread discontent among entrepreneurs.

According to unofficial information, an investigation team from Moscow recently came to Rostov and took out a lot of documents related to municipal contracts of companies owned by Samvel Karapetyan. It is possible that in the near future we will see new high-profile corruption case.

Informed sources imply that Sergey Gorban feels that shadows are gathering over him, and that he could lose his mayor’s office in September 2016 after all. His appointment (as well as his reign) was in violation of the laws, which allow cities with more than a million residents to choose their own mayor. However, Rostov has always been a unique area of ​​lawlessness, where officials even have their own ways of letting off steam. A source close to the administration reported that after the hard work for the "good" of Rostov, a decent family man and an athlete Sergey Gorban relaxes in the Park Canyon elite country club. Girls, leather whips and white powder are a standard set of a standard official in the flawed system, which brings suffering upon ordinary people.



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