Unsinkable Guseva: Henchwoman of Volgograd criminal world runs for State Duma again
Irina Guseva, the former Volgograd Mayor and member of Edinaya Rossia (the United Russia) Party is making a trip to the heroic city to run her election campaign. She hopes to use votes of Volgograd region residents to be elected to the State Duma again. However, local residents remember her from the dark side as well – as a henchwoman of the criminal world.
Irina Guseva, the member of Edinaya Rossia (the United Russia) Party and Deputy of the 6th Convocation of the State Duma (that has finished its work), is standing for election again. She is running in the Volzhsky single mandate electoral district № 84 in her native Volgograd region.
Guseva has been living in Moscow for 2 years by now, but she hopes that the city of Volgograd, where she was the Mayor in 2013–2014, and its whole region, which she represented as a Deputy, have not forgotten her. Of course, it is not about ordinary voters whose support is optional, but about her former colleagues – so-called comrades in arms during her mayorship.
Talks about links between Guseva and the regional criminal world became especially loud after her election the head of the municipal parliament and Mayor of the city (these 2 positions are combined in the Volgograd region). The elections to the Municipal Duma were marred by numerous scandals, while their results caused a wave of public anger and several protest rallies against falsifications in September 2013. Immediately after her election, Guseva requested Aleksandr Kravchenko, the Head of the General Administration for the Volgograd Region of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation (MIA), to “bring offenders to administrative and criminal liability and ensure prevention of recurrence of similar actions”. However, the law enforcement authorities haven’t found crimes in protesters’ actions and did not prosecute them.
39 Deputies of the Municipal Duma out of the 41 voted for Guseva at the mayoral election. Nothing could affect their decision in favor of Guseva: neither machinations with absentee ballots uncovered by the prosecutor’s office; nor a widely publicized audio record where somebody with voice very reminiscent of Irina Guseva discusses with people whose voices sound like voices of Deputies and Candidates for Deputies some very delicate aspects of the election campaign. Guseva claims that this was a ‘play’ performed by actors – but Andrei Popkov, a Deputy of the Regional Duma from Edinaya Rossia (the United Russia) Party, has later admitted his participation in that conversation in a interview to a Volgograd news agency.
Shortly before the election day, on September 8, 2013, the Central Election Commission had to annul all absentee ballots printed for the Volgograd Municipal Duma elections. According to Leonid Ivlev, the Deputy Chairman of the Central Election Commission, this decision has been made following an application from the Prosecutor’s Office. An audit performed by the Prosecutor’s Office has found that the Territorial Election Commission of the Kirovsky District of Volgograd – which was handling the Municipal Duma elections – had illegally printed 7 thousand additional absentee ballots. The prosecution also found that the voters, whom the ballots – according to Territorial Election Commission documents – were allegedly printed for, haven’t received those.
In the audio record made in a restaurant, Guseva, not mincing her words (after all, a company of loyal friends and alcohol predispose to a relaxed atmosphere), tells that Segey Neverov, the Secretary General of Edinaya Rossia (the United Russia) Party, who had recently arrived with an inspection, has left Volgograd fully satisfied. As per Guseva: “There is no such a man in the world whom I could not satisfy”. Guseva also admits that she uses a completely different technique in her communications with voters: “I tell them (the voters): Here is the deal: if you don’t vote for Communists but vote for Edinaya Rossia, I will arrange a roof for you, 15 million will be assigned for the roof... Here is the voting station; I will come and check: if you vote for Communists – I won’t give you nothing”.
During the same restaurant feast, Guseva talks with somebody by phone and asks how everything is going with the distribution of absentee ballots (apparently, the ones found by the Prosecutor’s Office). Later she is convincing her companions that, despite comments made by Neverov, they should continue following the earlier-approved strategy. Because “Neverov does not care of their squabbles (inter-party disputes – the CrimeRussia), and only needs the result”.
The overall tone of the conversation is victorious – as if the elections have already been won. Guseva provides sinecures right in the restaurant. For instance, she promises to appoint her competitor Candidate for Deputy Vadim Linnik head of one of the city districts – simply because he is a good guy. He will lose the vote anyway and never become a Deputy.
We will abstain from comments on the moral portrait of a former teacher who, having a husband, harangues which male from this company would fit her best as a lover.
ZLO (EVIL) Group
It is interesting to look how Guseva came to politics – or, more accurately, who brought her there. This story began long before the elections of the 2013, when a group of authoritative businessmen in Volgograd decided to nominate one of their own kind for the mayoral post. To do so, in 2011 the management structure of the regional capital has been altered. Direct mayoral elections – that were in effect since 1993 – have been replaced by a voting by municipal parliamentarians. Now only they could elect the Mayor, who concurrently was the Chairman of the Volgograd Municipal Duma.
In 2012 Sergey Bozhenov, the Governor of the Volgograd Region, decided to eliminate the Mayor’s dependence on the Municipal Duma and reinstate direct elections. However, Municipal Duma Deputies wanted to preserve the supremacy of the city parliament and delayed the incorporation of the new amendments into the Charter by all means. The further conflict – related to attempted replacement of the First Deputy Chairman of the Municipal Duma – has brought to light the group acting as an intermediary between governmental authorities and the criminal world and lobbying interests of the organized crime.
Deputy Fedor Litvinenko had designs on the Deputy Mayor post. Together with Deputies Aleksey Zverev and Andrei Osipov they formed the ZLO (EVIL) Group (local journalists nicknamed it so as the abbreviation of first letters in their last names). Deputies Evgeny Shur and Evgeny Glazkov (was sentenced in 2013 to 2.6 years behind bars for swindling) have also joined this group.
But the ZLO members were only henchmen for more authoritative persons in the region – Vladimir Kadin and Stanislav Galkin.
Vladimir Kadin – a prominent criminal authority. Was born on December 22, 1964, secondary education, no criminal record. Was a Vice President of the Regional Boxing Federation. Was involved into restaurant and hotel businesses, used to sell oil products and real estate. According to some sources, Kadin was so-called night governor, supervisor of the region, and keeper of the criminals pooled cash fund. Started his career in the 1990s; his gang used to control pop-up markets and construction complexes (so-called Youth Residential Cooperatives). Killed on August 18, 2011.
Stanislav Galkin used to be the right hand of Vladimir Kadin for a long time. Was born on April 13, 1966. Sentenced to 2 years behind bars in 1984 for theft. Later was sentenced to 9 years for rape. Released on parole. Was repeatedly arrested by the MIA Directorate for Combating Organized Crime on various suspicions. Killed on October 26, 2009.
Photo: Murdered Vladimir Kadin
Deputies Osipov and Litvinenko were linked with Kadin via Information Technologies Plus Limited Liability Company. Fedor Litvinenko was linked with Stanislav Galkin via Agrofirma Voskhod (Sunrise Agricultural Firm) Limited Liability Company. In addition, Osipov and Litvinenko interacted with each other via Volgograd Agency of Advertisement and Information Technologies Limited Liability Company. Kadin, Galkin, and Litvinenko were members of Sporting-Volgograd Sports Club, whose president was Osipov.
The Deputy Aleksey Zverev, another member of the group, was also affiliated with numerous businesses. Originally he was involved into advertising business, but after his election to the Municipal Duma, focused efforts on privatization of municipal real estate. Deputy Evgeny Glazkov and former Volgograd Mayor Roman Grebennikov provided support to Zverev. According to experts, almost 20 companies were registered in his name.
Finally, authorities in Moscow have heard about the weird friendship between governmental authorities and authoritative businessmen. Back in 2007, Aleksey Mitrofanov, the Deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, has submitted to Yuri Chaika, the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, a deputy’s inquiry “about the existing administrative-corruption system in the governmental authorities of the Volgograd region”. According to the Deputy, the “top Volgograd powers” were marked by “sustainable administrative-corruption system of authority, consisting of representatives of regional executive and judicial authorities and some top law enforcement officers, businesses, and the criminal community”. Mitrofanov named Kadin a key member of this criminal group.
Still, the mechanism of criminal henchmen infiltration into the municipal authorities continued to work steadily. And even deaths of Galkin and Kadin haven’t stopped its work. Furthermore, after losing their criminal roof, Litvinenko, Zverev, and Osipov had to strengthen their positions in the governmental structures on the urgent basis.
By 2013 only Aleksey Zverev and Evgeny Shur – out of the whole ZLO Group – still remained in the Municipal Duma, but they managed to complete their job and appoint (literally – Shur was personally controlling filling out ballots by the Deputies of the Municipal Duma) Irina Guseva the Mayor. Of course, Guseva could be chosen by authoritative businessmen randomly – especially taking that the main beneficiaries (Kadin and Galkin) were already dead by the time of her appointment. Still, Guseva could not be unaware that the criminal world intended to rule the city through their own persons in power and her role was to be such a person.
Do you remember how it all began?
People living in the Volgograd region had plenty of opportunities to learn a lot about Guseva: interesting news involving her name were leaking to media on the regular basis.
For example, many people still remember the scandal related to an overseas trip of almost all top authorities of the Volgograd region. Irina Guseva participated in this voyage as well.
In 2012 Sergey Bozhenov, the Governor of the Volgograd Region, decided to celebrate his birthday in Italy. But what a jolly celebration could be without friends and colleagues? Therefore, 46 people in total – Deputies, Regional Ministers, their family members – flew with Bozhenov to Italy by a charter flight and checked in a five-star hotel. The cost of the round-trip flight alone was some 70 thousand rubles per passenger. The mass absence of the officials at work was labeled a work trip. Allegedly, the Volgograd region had to make a presentation of its economic potential in Italy. However, the officials were unable to meet with Italian authorities – the whole Europe was celebrating Easter Holidays. The Volgograd delegation stayed in Venice (this city was chosen for the experience exchange) during holidays – on April 7–8 (including Monday that was also a holiday).
Upon return, journalists approached the delegation with difficult questions, but Guseva rushed to defend her boss. In particular, she said that she managed to visit 2 tomato processing plants within the two days and even brought Italian technologies to Volgograd farmers. “Literally, the whole day yesterday – training, seminar, learning course,” – Guseva lamented how tired she was. This looked especially ridiculous after the further acknowledgement by the officials and Deputies that they had a recreation trip, indeed, but at their own expense and in their common ‘synchronized’ vacation days.
Being a Deputy of the Regional Duma, Guseva had also attracted public attention more than once. In 2013 Segey Neverov, the Secretary General of Edinaya Rossia (the United Russia) Party, received a letter from Mr. Pivovarov, a member of this party (copies had also been sent to Sergey Ivanov, Head of the Presidential Administration, and Vladimir Churikov, the Prosecutor of the Volgograd Region). According to Pivovarov, in the period of 2012–2013 Guseva was continuously lobbying interests of businesses providing school meals. She recommended to relieve the companies operating in schools from paying rent.
This initiative – that resulted in losses to the budget for almost 7.5 million rubles – was pushed through the Municipal Duma in April 2013. According to Pivovarov, Guseva was actively putting pressure upon Deputies of the Municipal Duma. The paradox was that not only the education institutions have lost an article of income, but also had to request additional budget funding to pay for water, hydro, and other utilities used by their lucky commercial tenants.
Guseva is also well-remembered in Srednyaya Akhtuba settlement – the starting point of her career. After her election to the Regional Duma in 2013, she was overlooking the sphere of public and social services. By a nice coincidence, Irina’s husband, Vladimir Valentinovich Gusev, became the head of the State Institution ‘Center for Social Security of the Srednyaya Akhtuba District’.
During the election campaign of 2011, Candidate for Deputy of the State Duma Irina Guseva openly declared her assets: shares in two small apartments. However, Srednyaya Akhtuba is not as big as Volgograd, and it is difficult to hide the obvious there. Therefore, any local resident knows the home of the Gusev family.
Photo: Home of the Gusev family in Srednyaya Akhtuba
According to the portal Sredneakhtubinez.rf, the market value of this home with the living space of 260 square meters was some 8 million rubles in 2012.
But apparently Irina Guseva does not care much about all these facts and sincerely believes in her power and talents. Of course, after moving from Volgograd to Moscow and becoming a Deputy of the State Duma under the wing of Edinaya Rossia (the United Russia) Party, Guseva feels herself invincible. But it is not that easy to leave the past behind – and the unavoidable trip to the place of birth can take all the old skeletons out of the closet. Because local people remember very well shady economic schemes used by Guseva, her dirty election, and her links with the criminal world.
Irina Guseva was born May 20, 1972 in Elton settlement of the Volgograd region.
In 1994 graduated from the Volgograd State Pedagogical University as a Teacher of History and Socio-Political Sciences.
Worked as a teacher and vice-principal for pastoral work.
In 1999 became the principal of Ozerskaya General Education School Municipal Education Institution.
In 2000 became the principal of Sredneakhtubinskaya General Education School № 3 Municipal Education Institution.
In 2001 was appointed the Chairwoman of the Committee for Education, Youth Policies, and Sports of the Administration of the Srednyaya Akhtuba District.
In 2003 was elected a Deputy of the Volgograd Regional Duma from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. In 2009 was re-elected in the regional parliament – but this time from Edinaya Rossia (the United Russia) Party.
In 2013 became the Chairwoman of the Volgograd Municipal Duma and Mayor of Volgograd.
In July 2014 was elected a Deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation. Was a member of the Committee for Civic Associations and Religious Organizations.
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