Trial of Volobuy’s OCC: witnesses’ sensational revelations about connections between criminals and security officials
Several months have passed since the beginning of the trial of Volobuy’s criminal community, which is taking place in the Kursk Regional Court. The proceedings are vigorous; the presiding judge does not red tape it, but conducts it smartly, setting up meetings while maintaining a balance between the defendants’ rights and reasonable terms of criminal proceedings. The public did not have any complaints regarding the judge's behavior, with the exception of a number of controversial rejections of motions from the defendants and their lawyers.
One thing is clear now. All statements voiced during the proceedings confirm the information provided by The CrimeRussia's sources in the police, the Investigative Committee, and the FSB. For example, the fact that ex-FSB officer and now Federal Inspector for the Kursk region Sergey Podchalimov was related to the patronage of the Volobuev’s gang was immediately confirmed. Prosecution witness and former deputy of the Kursk City Council, Roman Gladkikh pointed out that it was Podchalimov who informed him of the influence and power of the OCC founder, Dmitry Volobuev:“I knew that Dmitry was an influential businessman having support in law enforcement bodies. I was told so by Sergey Afanasyevich Podchalimov,” Gladkikh said.
On March 7, 2017, a local criminal “authority”, Dmitry Volobuev, was detained in Kursk. He was suspected of organizing a contract killing of his “colleague,” another leader of the regional criminal world, Sergey Delyukin, nicknamed Dilya. Then Volobuyev was accused of creating an organized criminal group, which, according to investigators, included the vice-mayor of Kursk, former head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Nikolai Zaytsev. The son of Nikolai Zaytsev, the brother of Volobuev and several other people were also detained. All were charged with article 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (organization of a criminal community or participation in it), which provides a long prison term, up to life.
Another witness, also on the prosecution side, confirmed our information that the whole group rested on the leadership skills of Volobuy, his powerful antisocial orientation, and ability to manipulate people. At the hearing on October 14, 2019, Vladimir Galkin, former SOBR special police employee and the OCC leader’s driver said the following:
“Dmitry Volobuev is a greedy and despotic man. During the period of my work with him, he paid me 25 thousand rubles ($400), and it was not every month. Due to the fact that he failed to pay me as promised, and I had a small child at the time, I decided to return to my previous place of work in Moscow. Around the fall of 2013, I called my former colleagues and asked to be reinstated. Lifinsky was present during the conversation. He told Dmitry Volobuev that I intended to leave him and go to Moscow. Volobuev saw this as a betrayal. Some time after this, when meeting in a gym in the presence of Lifinsky, Pakhomov, ad Kozheykin, Dmitry Volobuev insulted me in front of everyeone and said that I was an animal, that I had no idea about male fraternity and was a traitor, because I wanted to leave their ‘team.’”
The fact that the words spoken by the witnesses coincide with the data from our investigations is not the point. What is important is that we knew that honest people would come to court and tell the truth.
Of course, there are examples proving otherwise, but they completely fit into the logic of our investigations. One of our sources previously talked about how Volobuev’s relations with the family of local deputies – the father and son Sergey and Maksim Vasilyev – developed. He spoke about the circumstances of their first meeting and the beginning of a fruitful cooperation, as well as about what benefits it brought both sides. On September 25, Acting Deputy of the Kursk City Council Maksim Vasilyev appeared in court and spoke about his friendship with the defendants and what good and wonderful people they were.
In particular, the deputy explained that he personally knew the Volobuev brothers, former Vice-Mayor of Kursk and ex-Head of the Kursk Internal Affairs Directorate, Nikolay Zaitsev, as well as Dmitry Kharlamov (another member of the Volobuy’s OCC). He positively assessed all of them. Vasilyev praised Nikolay Zaytsev, noting that “as vice-mayor, he worked well and smoothly.” All this is not surprising either, since we believe that what we see is how one member of a criminal community praises others, thereby showing corporate solidarity with his “brothers in arms” and fearing that in the future, they may become a victim of revelations of the arrested “business partners.” Although, it should be noted that the deputy, in his own way, is a brave man who was not afraid to lend a helping hand to probable accomplices. While many of those about whom the Volobuev brothers and Nikolay Zaytsev can tell a lot and put them in jail pretend that they forgot about Volobuy’s existence.
Nikolai Zaytsev in court
However, all of the above is not even close to the sensitivity of revelations of another person who attended the hearing literally by a miracle, and who managed to reveal to the court what the persons conducting the investigation tried to keep silent for so long. More precisely, it was the prosecutor’s office of the Kursk region in the person of State Prosecutor Dmitry Shikhanov, who invited businessman Alexander Nikitin to the court session, the one from whom Dmitry and Nikolay Volobuev took away profitable business and expensive real estate in the center of Kursk, taking advantage of Nikitin’s conflict with his business partner Oleg Mukhin and re-registering all property in their name. Nikitin, who is frequently mentioned as the most economically “rich” victim of the criminal community by various sources in The CrimeRussia’s materials, is currently serving time on dubious charges, in the creation and “promotion” of which the defendants actively participated.
The prosecutor’s courage lies in the fact that before that, his lower-level colleagues from the Kursk prosecutor’s office did not see grounds for satisfying this person’s requests, redirecting his complaints to the supervisory authority. ICR bodies refused to recognize the entrepreneur as a victim and thereby question the validity of the verdict handed down to him, which was announced by Judge of the Leninsky District Court of Kursk, Elena Kolesnichenko, in the presence of direct personal interest in the incriminating verdict in the case. For the prosecutor's office of the regional center, headed by a person mentioned in the recent investigation of The CrimeRussia, Pavel Kiryak, such behavior is common.
Whereas, for the Investigative Committee, such a trick probably looks strange, unless we pay attention to the fact that one of the investigators in the Volobuy case, Danila Goncharov, who actually stands at the origins of the crime lord’s prosecution, is currently being tried on charges of taking bribes from murderers of a Kursk border guard. He is not the only defendant in the case. Other defendants are Igor Tsibulsky and ex-Deputy Head of the regional ICR Main Directorate, Aleksey Zubarev. One can only guess what other amounts and offerings the smart subordinates of Alexander Bastrykin had managed to get, because, taking into account the cynicism of such action, the bribe for the murdered border guard could not be the first in their “track record.” Plus, shortly before the case went to court, one of the main witnesses in the case – Maksim Zaytsev – a student of another possible accomplice of the Volobuy group, Sergey Golubnichenko, was suddenly transferred to the FSB. According to a number of witnesses, he is directly related to Volobuy’s gang, having introduced Dmitry Volobuev to Dmitry Lifinsky (Volobuy OCC’s hitman), and was a close associate of other criminals. There are two versions: either Zaytsev was originally a man of the FSB, who was thus introduced into the OCC, or a person who had too much baggage on them was appointed to the post.
One way or another, through the efforts of Justice Advisor Shikhanov, entrepreneur Alexander Nikitin was questioned in detail by Judge Alexander Shevarev, who also showed a lot of poise and correctness. Of course, it is difficult to blame Nikitin for such excessive verbosity, but this frankness has considerable benefits. After all, when talking about how his former colleague would take away his property, the entrepreneur exposed some very “interesting” people, their habits and behavior.
Nikitin said that Director of the Kursk Electric Appliance Plant Andrey Kannunnikov was initially involved in the seizure of his business, but then refused to participate in the conflict.
After that, Nikitin and Dmitry Volobuev, who joined his monologue, revealed the identity of FSB officer Alexander Shvedyuk, mentioned in one of The CrimeRussia’s investigations. It turned out (according to Dmitry Volobuev) that the latter oversaw the local tax office through the special services. According to Nikitin, he also took part in dividing up of the Shantal complex, previously owned by the convicted businessman.
It also turned out that for Dmitry Volobuev, Shvedyuk’s identity was not a secret either.
In the recording, it was described how members of the group put pressure on directors subordinate to Nikitin, sending thugs to intimidate them.
In an attempt to defend himself against gang pressure, Alexander Nikitin tried to meet with an employee of the field investigation unit of the Directorate for Combating Organized Crime. The businessman referred to this officer as Roman Shcherbakov, drawing the judge’s attention to the fact that after a conversation with this officer of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the latter asked Dmitry Volobuev in for a talk and dropped out of contact.
Volobuev, who once again joined the testimony, corrected the witness, saying that he gave the wrong name of the officer. Nevertheless, he had no objection as to the rest of Nikitin’s testimony. He added that not only Chervyakov, but also his deputy, Vladimir Sumin, also talked to him. However, at this point, Volobuev stopped commenting on Alexander Nikitin’s words, and the latter spoke about how after that meeting, an employee of the Department for Combating Organized Crime severed all contacts with him, asking not to bother him anymore. He added that because of this, the police officer was demoted and transferred to another duty station.
It is noteworthy that Volobuev did not have the authority to do this. Of course, his influence in the region was significant, but limited. And this means that other, more influential people, who preferred to keep a lower profile, were involved in the Shantal case. Based on the logic of the narrative, former Сhief of the Internal Affairs Directorate in Kursk, Nikolay Zaytsev, and Sergey Podchalimov, who remains at large, are ideally suited to this role. The latter is mentioned in the testimony. Before saying his name, Nikitin said that Shvedyuk had warned him about Podchalimov's involvement in the case.
After that, he told what kind of threats the victim received. Among other things, members of the Volobuy’s OCC threatened to rape him. This statement provoked the anger of Volobuy, who shouted “What prison does to people, your honor!!!”.
Next, we hear Nikitin explain that director of a private security company that was guarding his property, Andrey Dyumin, told the businessman that senior policeman Nikolay Zaytsev was on Volobuev’s side and would continue to put pressure on Alexander’s business.
This is followed by a detailed description of how Nikitin was “crushed.” How the criminal case was conducted against him and how Dmitry Volobuev lied to him, promising to end the persecution after the transfer of assets and failing to keep his word.
In our view, Volobuev’s promise was impossible to keep, because any investigator who stopped proceedings against the accused, while having such dubious grounds for initiating proceedings, realizing the possibly deliberate illegality of the entire “structure” and the criminality of his own actions, runs the risk of swapping places with the victim of arbitrariness and being prosecuted under the relevant articles of the Russian Criminal Code. This must have been the case with Volobuev.
Even after the verdict is handed down, the case of Dmitry Volobuev and his henchmen will remain incomplete and will “stink” of human pain and suffering on the one hand, and human greed on the other. Nevertheless, such an event, and especially the names of the new defendants, can completely undermine the authority of the regional authorities.