Crime bosses vs Deripaska 

Crime bosses vs Deripaska
It is rumored that the notorious Tambov crime community was involved in the loss of Oleg Deripaska's company Photo: The CrimeRussia

One of the largest billionaires in Russia – Oleg Deripaska leaves the project on improving the notorious St. Petersburg’s Cherkizon – Apraksin Yard. For 10 years, the oligarch’s enterprises have failed to embark upon a moonshot reorganization of tangled labyrinths of merchants’ rows. At the same time the criminal groups celebrate a holiday today, they believe they have managed to save the center of the shadow business and black cash. Some say that the kingpins of Tambovskaya gang have something to do with the victory.

A bad place

We have already mentioned that the project of Oleg Deripaska was the fourth crusade of the St. Petersburg authorities against the market. Everyone was waiting for Aprashka (short for Apraksin Yard) to close down soon and the crime plague in the city center to finally heal over. As it is known, no improved shopping centers, drowning in flowers, and no air glass roof (promised) appeared here in 10 years. One of the versions says that the billionaire’s enterprises stumbled over several landmarks protected by the state. Their demolition was discussed as far back as 2007, when Governor Valentina Matvienko decided to upgrade the entire Aprashka at one go. It was then that the competition for reconstruction was won by Glavstroy, belonging to Oleg Deripaska. That was also when Head of Committee on State Control, Use and Protection of Historical and Cultural Landmarks (KGIOP), Vera Dementyeva stated that the project implied the demolition of several protected buildings, which was impossible. 

The Apraksin Yard market aka Aprashka

The Apraksin Yard market aka Aprashka

The Apraksin Yard market aka Aprashka

Later, the fight against the oligarch was enjoyed by the owners of some buildings, who with the money of ethnic criminal bosses quite successfully defended their interests in courts. After all, while the behemoth of oligarchic cherished desires was unfolding, crime figures managed to become legal owners of some historical buildings, as it is said, through very intricate schemes. 

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notes

The Arbitration Court granted the claim of the Property Relations Committee against Glavstroy-Spb LLC. Earlier, Smolny planned to collect 1.6 million rubles ($26 thousand) from the company as a fine, and to evict the company from 12 buildings in Apraksin Yard, preliminarily terminating the investment agreement the parties concluded on July 14, 2011. Glavstroy-Spb LLC has already filed an appeal, but the investor’s chances to successfully pass through the second instance are very low. Earlier the company intended to invest about 40 billion rubles ($651 million) in the reconstruction of Apraksin Yard. However, for ten years the company has not commenced to work.


The CrimeRussia was able to find out that on this occasion Aprashka even held there local holidays. The criminal structures that settled there deem that their direct merit is that the oligarch failed to do anything at this place. The Afghan diaspora had quite a considerable impact as well, sources say. At the very outset of Smolny's war for trading rows without brothels and drugs, Afghan expats stated that they would not go into crime, but if they are forced out, they "will show their fighting capacity." As there are former ministers, generals and colonels behind the counters, who in turn enjoy the support of the equally influential Afghan warriors. At one time they even agreed to a market allocated particularly for them. But judging by the fact that everything remained in its original place - in Aprashka, the options proposed were far and illiquid. Therefore, they will continue to trade and cut rams on Eid al-Adha here. 

The Apraksin Yard market aka Aprashka

The Apraksin Yard market aka Aprashka

The Apraksin Yard market aka Aprashka

The East resists

Today Apraksin Yard is the most multi-ethnic representation of various Eastern peoples. A couple of years ago, Azerbaijanis took a lead here numbers-wise, then it was Armenians and Afghans. The Uzbeks, Chinese and Moldovans also lived, traded and died here. The Dagestanis and Georgians had quite small local groups. Today, this multi-voiced trade-and-smuggling choir was joined by crowds of the Tajiks and Kyrgyz. But they are used only for auxiliary works. The most respected veterans here are the above-mentioned Afghans.

The ethnic specifics of Aprashka were determined by wars. Refugees from Afghanistan, Transnistria and Karabakh, unable to do anything other than war and trade, began to trade here. By the beginning of the 90's, local carnages took place according to the schedule just like lunch. However the spirit of an eastern bazaar won, the shopping areas were bought out and even an underground syndicate of the heads of ethnic groups was organized. Today this is a strict logistics system. Essentially, Apraksin Yard is a united organism of delivery, storage of goods and quick passing of black cash. Twenty-five-ton wagons daily come here in columns from ports. Nobody dares to hijack these caravans. After all, the syndicate pays for everything jointly and has lived this way for 25 years already. 

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The annual turnover of Apraksin Yard is equal to the turnover of the busiest border checkpoint between China and Russia, Suifenhe, and is estimated at $4.5 billion. The volume of monthly trafficking here is 1 billion rubles ($16.2 million).


Given such money, the criminal bosses had something to oppose to the desire of the oligarch to build a shopping complex here and earn money himself on the advantageously situated market. As we have already mentioned, the crime here has gained such a firm foothold that the authorities come here only accompanied by Special Task Police Squad. In addition, for example, in 2006, when Apraksin Yard’s reconstruction project was just born, it was not included in the list of security zones and the streets here were not equipped with CCTV cameras and alarm buttons. That would be a pointless step and a waste of public money. Moreover, back then Apashka’s permanent police station was even closed. It is difficult to say now who lobbied such an unusual decision, but it is easy to guess. The criminal enclave of the city, replete with underground gambling houses, clothing manufacture, factories for counterfeit, drug dens and brothels - is a powerful structure that now can afford both hefty bribes and the most expensive lawyers.

Needless to say, since 2011 Smolny has not managed to evict tenants from here. The latter sued him desperately and numerously, and won. Now even the oligarch has lost the fight. Rumor has it that the notorious Tambovskaya crime community had something to do with this failure.

Kumarin’s come-back

Before Glavstroy-Spb lost arbitration proceedings the city started to hear rumors about Tambovskaya’s desire to regain lost ground in the city, including control over Apraksin Yard. Since once this object was also included in the sphere of their interests. If we make a retrospective journey into history, it will transpire that in the late 80's - early 90's, commercial center Piter was the only company that received contracts for organizing the largest markets of the city - Apraksin Yard, Sennaya Square, Sennoy market. This company was controlled by Tambovskaya OCC. It was due to the redistribution of spheres of influence at these large objects of trade that the well-known fight occurred in Devyatkino between Malyshevskaya and Tambovskaya crime groups, which resulted in the Leningrad prosecutor's office opening criminal case No. 47759 under Art. 103 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic). According to sources, Piter concern, now included in the list of owners of buildings located in Apraksin Yard, is related to the ‘respected’ businessmen.

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One of Tambovskaya-Malyshevskaya OCC members Aleksandr Malyshev

Our
notes

The territory of Apraksin Yard is divided into quarters. There is Chinatown, as well as Georgian and Azerbaijani quarters – according to the name of the regions from which goods are brought. According to Rosreestr, almost the whole land on the market and under the buildings is owned by the city. In the cadastral map it is marked as a single site with address – Sadovaya St., 28-30, building 24, which covers the area of 5 hectares, with an estimated value of over 1 billion rubles ($16.2 million).


As already known, Tambovskaya OCC was not very successful with authoritative cases concerning real estate and money laundering abroad. By now many of them have returned to their native shores from Spain. This return was very timely, since sanctions now complicate the life of literally everyone. This means that finances are necessary to be invested somewhere, so that this generates revenue ‘again’. That is why, business circles are speaking about the fact that Tambovskaya gang undoubtedly ‘helped’ the enterprises of Deripaska to leave Apraksin Yard. 

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Vladimir Barsukov-Kumarin

Word also has it that this is due to the possible release of Vladimir Barsukov-Kumarin. Although there is little prospect of this, some believe that there is such a chance. It is what is happening in the Kuybyshevskiy District Court that gives hope to the sympathetic. For a month and a half the trial in the case of Barsukov-Kumarin has not made any progress. The prosecution feels like a fish out of water - they have to look for the victims in the hope that someone will testify against the ‘respected’ businessman. But witnesses disappear, lose summons. At the last hearing, a representative of one affected company is said to have vanished into thin air. Right in the corridor. Thus, everything is leading to the point when the case falls apart. It is possible that it is thanks to this that Tambovskaya’s entrepreneurs will be able to regain potency in St. Petersburg, gaining a foothold in the once occupied positions. After all, the contender for the title of ‘governor 24’ (Dmitry Mikhalchenko) was arrested even more spectacularly. Hence, Vladimir Kumarin has every chance to regain all that he has previously lost. Including the title.

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