Jubilee of Tambovskie, return of Barsukov-Kumarin
The trial of the night governor of St. Petersburg has abruptly ended. The Prosecutor General’s Office has stumbled on a flat surface – Kuibyshevsky District Court returned the case to the investigation. This is the third criminal case against Vladimir Barsukov-Kumarin, but according to CrimeRussia sources, one more is forthcoming.
This year, the investigation team has to stage a show trial of the former authoritative businessman by all means. First of all, for the last ten years Kumarin hadn’t visited his native city of St. Petersburg – he has spent all this time in Matrosskaya Tishina (Seamen’s Silence) Pretrial Detention Center in Moscow. Secondly, periods of limitation for many episodes in the case against Tambovskie gang are about to expire soon. And thirdly, in 2017, Tambovskie organized criminal group celebrates its 30th jubilee.
1987 is unofficially considered the year of Tambovskie organized criminal group creation. St. Petersburg was labeled the ‘criminal capital’ of Russia largely because of the offences committed by this gang. Vladimir Kumarin and Valery Ledovskikh were its founders. Tambovskie had started from the protection of thimble-riggers and then switched to racketeering of cooperators. According to the official police data, the gang had involved 300 to 500 members in the 1990s.
Both the law enforcement authorities and respected businessmen, former members of the criminal group, are well aware of this unofficial jubilee. The sources state that this is the reason why Kumarin has been quietly convoyed to the Kuibyshevsky District Court for the trial. As The CrimeRussia wrote earlier, in the past, judge Igor Masloboev literally had to struggle with bureaucrats from the Federal Penitentiary Service to escort Kum to St. Petersburg. However, the investigation team orchestrating the actions of the Federal Penitentiary Service has done everything to hold the trial of the criminal boss in Moscow. The current escort under guard to St. Petersburg is just a sign of courtesy – nothing had prevented the investigation to hold another off-site session in Moscow.
This topic had been actively discussed in the last several months – while Vladimir Kumarin and his defense were reviewing the multi-volume case file. Even in the recent days, after the insider leak about the return of Kum to St. Petersburg, his attorneys had stated that they were not aware of this. The new (old) criminal case pertains to the creation of Tambovskie organized criminal community that, according to the investigation, has committed in 2005–2006 a series of raiding takeovers of enterprises in St. Petersburg.
The investigation believes that Tambovskie organized criminal group under the leadership of Vladimir Barsukov and Vyacheslav Drokov has committed 11 forcible takeovers and assassination attempts. The following enterprises had attracted the attention of the criminal structure: Saint-Petersburg Hotel, Igristye Vina (Sparkling Wines) Closed Joint Stock Company, Krupskaya Confectionery Factory Closed Joint Stock Company, and Petersburg Oil Terminal Closed Joint Stock Company.
The current charges laid under Article 210 (Creation of a Criminal Community (criminal organization) and Participation Therein) and Article 159 (Swindling) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation are pretty serious. The investigation estimates the value of real properties that Tambovskie had attempted to seize at $100 million. According to the indictment, the defendants had allegedly participated in a number of raiding takeovers in St. Petersburg. They had forged charter documents of legal entities, repeatedly registered shares in their charter capital in the name of dummy persons, and illegally updated information pertaining to the founders and general directors in the Consolidated State Register of Legal Entities. However, the upcoming litigation in the Kuibyshevsky District Court is currently in question.
The judge has decided to return the case to the prosecution to rectify deficiencies – the indictment included too many differing interpretations of the crime scene, which was unacceptable for the court. The defense believes, however, that the court had to raise the issue of changing the case jurisdiction, not to return it back to the prosecution. The Prosecutor’s Office is currently preparing a cassational appeal to St. Petersburg City Court; the adjudication of this appeal is expected to kick off the high-profile trial.
20 years later
Despite the severity of the charges, the periods of limitation can not be annulled. Therefore, all the defendants in this criminal case, except for Kumarin and Drokov, are going to escape with slight shock. The leaders of Tambovskie are facing real prison terms. It is already obvious for everybody that the night governor never gets out of jail – he must serve 23 years for the totality of the crimes committed, while the maximum duration of a prison term in Russia is 25 years. Therefore, this particular trial does not change anything in the fate of Vladimir Kumarin.
This is the fifth trial of the night governor of St. Petersburg. The first one was held in 1990 and resulted in a prompt early release. Then Kumarin was tried in 2009 for swindling and sentenced to 14 years behind bars. In 2012, the Kuibyshevsky District Court has delivered a verdict in a criminal case pertaining to extortion from owners of Elizarovsky Trade and Entertainment Center. In 2014, a scandalous verdict of acquittal was delivered in a case pertaining to the assassination attempt against Sergei Vasiliev, the owner of Petersburg Oil Terminal Closed Joint Stock Company. Despite the efforts of the Prosecutor General’s Office, the jurors have acquitted Vladimir Kumarin. After an appeal, the Supreme Court has annulled the verdict and remitted the matter for a fresh trial by a new constitution of the court. The new trial has resulted in a conviction.
While the trials were ongoing, the former authoritative businessman managed to win a lawsuit against Russia in the European Court of Human Rights. The court has upheld the claim of Barsukov-Kumarin and awarded him a compensation in the amount of €15 thousand.
However, well-informed sources believe that the current trial is just a prelude to a more important one. No one would convoy Kumarin to St. Petersburg over the raidership charges only.
Another criminal jubilee is forthcoming in 2018 – the 20th anniversary of the murder of Deputy Galina Starovoitova. This is a sorrowful date and symbol of impotence of the law enforcement structures that failed to solve this contract killing. Currently the only evidence in possession of the investigation is the testimony of former Deputy Mikhai Glushchenko, also known as Misha Khokhol, already convicted for the murder of the politician. He had nothing to lose and hardly anybody was surprised when he has named Kumarin. In his situation, Glushchenko could name anybody. Even the relatives of late Starovoitova were skeptical about that version.
The year of 2018 is forthcoming, and the 20th anniversary of the politician’s assassination is like the Damocles' sword hanging over the investigation. Some sources believe that the law enforcement authorities may decide to play the Kumarin ‘card’ in that situation – after all, he has nothing to lose anymore. It is already obvious that under no circumstances may he ever get our of jail. As some point, the authoritative businessmen has confirmed this in an interview to Moskovsky Komsomolets: “I think that new and new charges pertaining to various crimes would continue to appear. Why? Just read my biography, conflicts with the Prosecutor’s Office...”
Plenty of legends about the deeds committed by Tambovskie had circulated in the criminal world of the 1990s. For instance, the killers from Tambovskie had allegedly bribed Bavaria for its loss to Zenit in the UEFA Cup. Their trace was reportedly spotted in the murder of Vlad List’yev. Some St. Petersburg residents even associate the face of Vladimir Barsukov-Kumarin with the Gogol monument – the criminal boss had sponsored the monument installation, therefore, the Gogol’s profile resembles the profile of the night governor...
Apparently, the investigation has decided to add a new episode to the urban legends of St. Petersburg by linking Kumarin with the murder of Starovoitova. By the way, this is not the only case where the law enforcement structures are desperately looking for a trace of Tambovskie. A new version of the murder of Boris Nemtsov has appeared recently. There is an opinion that the figure of Kumarin is looming in the minds of the investigators handling that case as well. Phantasmagoria or reality? Time will show.