Who takes the throne? Empire of ‘funeral king’ Igor Minakov (Adolf) to be redistributed? 

Who takes the throne? Empire of ‘funeral king’ Igor Minakov (Adolf) to be redistributed?
What can be the future of Igor Minakov's multi-billion business? Photo: The CrimeRussia

The Church of Saint Eugenia on Parashutnaya street was full of mourners – the funeral service for billionaire Igor Minakov, landlord and ‘funeral king’, was performed there. The business elite of St. Petersburg is now wondering about the future of Minakov’s multibillion business.

Former criminal investigator

Cars had literally crowded Parashutnaya street and neighboring gas stations. The memorial service was broadcast on two screens. The billionaire has built this church at his own expense. Many prominent persons well-known in the city came to pay the last respects to the businessman. An honorary escort of four Road Patrol Service vehicles was on duty. Igor Minakov was a very special figure for the business community of St. Petersburg.


The funeral service for the billionaire was performed in the Church of Saint Eugenia

He was the first law enforcement officer to build a business empire from scratch. In the mid-1990s, Minakov has retired from the police and switched to business. In 1998, he established Zashchita (Protection) Private Security Company. By the early 2000s, his sphere of influence included Bridge Construction Trust № 6, Karl Marx Plant, Red Triangle Factory, Kronstadt Marine Plant, Baltic Sea Steamship Company, and three research institutes: Sea Underwater Weapon–Gidropribor, Oceanpribor, and Granit-Electron. Later, some of these enterprises have unexpectedly gone bankrupt, and the business group of Igor Minakov gained numerous buildings and lands.


Igor Minakov

After the resignation from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), Minakov founded Zashchita (Protection) Private Security Company. It had provided the same ‘protection services’ as numerous gangs of bros – but perfectly legal and certified. Amid the criminal wars of the 1990s, St. Petersburg businesses had desperately needed high-quality protection for their top managers and enterprises. In 1998, Zashchita was the largest private security company in the city; its staff included over two thousand police officers. The MIA General Administration for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region and Regional Administration for Combating Organized Crime had actively supported the initiatives of Minakov. The businessman was pretty generous – he has even established the Fund for Combating Organized Crime that quickly transformed, with the support of former and acting operatives, into a security colossus. On the other hand, newspapers had frequently mentioned the name of Minakov in relation to raidership and high-profile corporate conflicts. However, this dubious distinction hasn’t prevented the security concern from taking the lead in the city and establishing close ties with the team of Governor Vladimir Yakovlev.    


Igor Adolfovich Minakov was born on June 22, 1960. Married, has a daughter. After the compulsory military service, had worked as a patrol policeman for one year. Then served for three years in the Criminal Investigation Department of Sestroretsk. Extramurally graduated from the MIA Academy of Russia. In 1982–1991, served in the Administration Against Misappropriation of Socialist Property – in the Department for Combating Foreign Currency Transactions and Department for Combating Organized Crime. In 1997, took charge of the Security Service of Lenenergo Electric Power Distribution Company.

The story of the business empire built by Minakov (Adolf) is pretty checkered. It includes inter alia his short-term detention on suspicion of the abduction of a person and an assassination attempt allegedly prevented by Minakov through ‘repurchase’ of the order to kill him for 400 thousand rubles ($5.8 thousand). Today, this episode is just a legend – although another St. Petersburg legend told by ‘authoritative' businessman Vladimir Barsukov-Kumarin states that the assassination attempt was real. In one of his interviews, Barsukov-Kumarin claims that a killer has approached him and told that he was retained to assassinate Minakov. According to Kumarin, he and Minakov were going to the same church – so, the vital information has been conveyed and the crime prevented. The only sustained loss was the mercilessly gunned down old Niva car belonging to Minakov.


Vladimir Barsukov-Kumarin

This criminal episode hasn’t affected the career of Igor Minakov – he quickly became a top manager of Lenenergo. By that time, the supreme management of the backbone enterprise have already gained significant personal wealth and feared for themselves and families. Therefore, they have retained Minakov and his Zashchita concern. For a long time, the protection of Semen Kazarov, then-President of Lenenergo, and his deputies Markar’yan, Zaitsev, and Chernyshov became the primary duty of Minakov’s company.

Funeral revenues 

Amid the toxic criminal situation in the 1990s, a true war was waged in St. Petersburg for the control over the funeral market. Its victims include seven orderlies of St. Petersburg mortuaries, two lawyers, and even the Rector of the Church of Righteous Martyr Elizaveta. The murders ended only after the arrest of ‘funeral king' Valery Burykin and members of his gang. Using his personal connections, Igor Minakov managed to win a governmental contract to guard city cemeteries. According to sources, then-omnipotent Aleksander Malyshev had ‘patronized’ him. Legends say that Minakov was familiar with members of Malyshevskie gang since the late 1980s and provided legal advice to them. It is hard to say now whether that is true or not. But Minakov was definitely respected by ‘authoritative’ businessmen. He became a partner of Valery Lar’kin, owner of Ritual’nye Uslugi (Funeral Services) Company, and monopolized the burial sphere – apparently, with the assistance of the law enforcement authorities. The structures belonging to Minakov and Lar’kin currently control 90% of the St. Petersburg funeral market.


‘Funeral king’ Valery Burykin


Up until recently, Igor Minakov had 100% owned three legal entities: Ambassador Limited Liability Company (real estate management and lease), Nezhadovskoe Limited Liability Company (wild animal control), and Patriot Sports Shooting Club Limited Liability Company (currently undergoes liquidation). The late businessman also owned 60% of shares in SRS Memorial Limited Liability Company (funeral services) and 40% of shares in MKSS Limited Liability Company (stone carving for tomb monuments). In 2015, his funeral enterprises with a turnover of 1.3 billion rubles ($18.7 million) had generated almost 400 million rubles ($5.8 million) in net profits. In addition, the businessman owned Nordest Group development company. Delovoy Peterburg (Business St. Petersburg) newspaper estimates the wealth of Minakov at 19 billion rubles ($273.4 million).

The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) had repeatedly tried to break the existing monopoly – but in vain. The claims brought against the funeral sector by the FAS on a regular basis and displeasure of other players could not change the situation. Nobody dares to start a fight with Minakov, Lar’kin, and Valery Nazarov for the burial market.   


Valery Lar’kin, partner of Igor Minakov

The death of Igor Minakov may affect the current configuration on the memorial services market. His family is pretty wealthy – so, it is unlikely that his daughter and widow try to take charge of the business. Old rivals of the ‘funeral king’ have already lifted their heads. No one can say whether Lar’kin alone can withstand attacks of the competitors. They had waited in the wings for years. The ‘old guard’ of Minakov are eager to retain their cushy jobs and have no desire to engage in the ‘funeral war’ implicating significant losses. This war has begun in summer 2018 – after the satisfaction of a lawsuit filed by businessman Boris Gladilin, with the support of the FAS, against the structures controlled by Minakov and Lar’kin by the arbitration court. It must be noted that Marat Dreizin, a member of the ‘gang of orderlies’ that had terrorized the entire funeral sector in the early 2000s has direct ties with Pokhoronnaya Sluzhba (Funeral Service) Limited Liability Company belonging to Gladilin.


Marat Dreizin

The situation with Nordest Group is more complicated. In August 2018, the company was enthusiastic and discussed ambitious projects. The business group had planned to acquire 277 ha of land for development (the total area of lands belonging to Minakov was estimated at 400 ha). The amendments to the Master Plan of St. Petersburg were discussed in July – and legal representatives of companies subsidiary to Nordest Group have submitted applications in relation to 9 lots. 

If Smolny Palace had satisfied the applications filed by the developers, low- and high-rise housing with the total living space over 2.16 million square meters could be erected around Pargolovo municipal settlement. Currently, Nordest Group owns dozens of commercial facilities, hundreds of hectares of land, and apartments, including Shuvalovsky Residential Complex near the Shuvalovsky Kar’er Reservoir (currently under construction) and Pargolovo Residential Complex. After the death of the primary beneficiary, the ambitious projects, most probably, would be closed, while the existing land portfolio – sold out. It is just a matter of price.

According to sources, the family of Igor Minakov will receive significant compensations and retain several restaurants, real properties, and portfolios in his companies. But the main business of the late billionaire will be administered by his partners.



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