The largest historic preservation organisation appeared to be in center of illegal seizure
The Central Board of the All-Russian Society for the Preservation of Historical and Cultural Monuments (VOOPIiK) is trying to replace leadership of the Moscow City Department (MCD) which became 'inconvenient'. In recent years the VOOPIiK more often supports decisions of the government of Moscow on destruction of monuments. At the same time, the organization has been receiving more than 100 million rubles from the city authorities for five years. Replacement of a management in MCD, which opposes demolition of monuments, means that the department can appear under the actual control of the government of Moscow. The CrimeRussia was exploring the situation.
The All-Russian Society for the Preservation of Historical and Cultural Monuments exists already for more than 50 years. The largest public historic preservation organization appeared on the verge of corruption scandal. Information on the impartial events happening in seemingly reputable historic preservation organization leaked into public field not so long ago. In the middle of December information message under the heading “Crisis in Central Board of VOOPIiK. Corruption?” appeared on the official site of the Moscow city department of the organization.
In the document, members of council of the MCD expressed concerns about the fact that the superior organization – central board of the organization - aims to subordinate to itself the Moscow department, replacing former management with more loyal one.
Besides, historic preservation activists declared that they see “probability of attempt of raider occupation of department” in actions of the Central audit committee of the VOOPIiK.
“We really assume a possibility of such seizure”, head of MCD VOOPIiK Vladimir Hutarev-Garnishevsky confirmed to the CrimeRussia. According to him, representatives of the federal VOOPIiK openly expressed their desire to seizure the organization on a personal meeting.
“After, on November 23, the Central Board unexpectedly made the decision to discharge me from my position, in couple of days they came for negotiations”, the head of the Moscow department told. Negotiations were conducted by member of the Central Board Denis Yudin and first deputy chairman of the Central Board Artyom Demidov.
According to Vladimir Hutarev-Garnishevsky, at a meeting they directly declared that they need to get the Moscow department (MCD VOOPIiK is an independent legal entity, separate from VOOPIiK – Editor’s notes), and also said that they would like to see on the place of the chairman of the Moscow department Artyom Demidov (we will return to this person a bit later).
In response to promulgated concerns of members of the Moscow department – on the website there was “An information message of presidium of the Central board of VOOPIiK” in which the presidium charges a management of the Moscow department of a violation of the law. On assurances of the Central board “since July 11, 2016 till present Vladimir Hutarev-Garnishevsky did not provide any of the documents requested during the check. Numerous requirements of the Central board about provision of documents are ignored”.
It is reported also that VOOPIiK addressed to the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation as he suspects the head of the MCD of fraud and illegal rental of premises of department in the sublease. However, Vladimir Hutarev-Garnishevsky denies the accusations of illegal use of premises of the Moscow City Department.
Dialogue in the best traditions of Lubyanka
In the summer of 2016 the central board of VOOPIiK began unscheduled inspection of activities of the Moscow department (the notification of July 11, 2016 is at the disposal of the editorial office). Certain "experts involved in the check" were included in audit committee of VOOPIiK - Dmitry Sporykhin, Dmitry Harchenko and Matvei Zeng, who are not members of VOOPIiK, but at the same time requested contact telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of all members of MCD VOOPIiK. As appears from the statement of Council of the Moscow city department, considering that, the fact that all three were not members of VOOPIiK at that time, and two of them (Dmitry Sporykhin and Matvei Zeng) have doubtful reputation as representatives of movement of the Russian nationalists, the management of the Moscow department refused to provide personal data of participants. According to Vladimir Hutorev-Garnishevsky, all other documents which by Regulations on regional department the Moscow department shall prepare during the check were provided (the activities report is also published on the official site of the Moscow city department VOOPIiK).
Nevertheless in the summer of 2016 “the involved experts” found personal contacts of members of the Moscow department and heads of district departments VOOPIiK (only 13 district departments across Moscow), and began to invite them to personal meetings. According to sources of the CrimeRussia, meetings with members of council of MCD “the invited specialists” were recorded on a dictophone or a video camera and asked to provide the compromising information on a management of department and to tell about financial activities of department.
As one of the members of the Moscow department told, he received meeting invitation by e-mail from Dmitry Sporykhin, who according to the decision of chairman of VOOPIiK Galina Malanicheva is authorized to perform inspection in the Moscow department.
The meeting took place directly in the Central board of VOOPIiK, which is located in Nashchokin's House in Gagarinsky Lane.
“I was interrogated during three hours. People acted on behalf of audit committee of VOOPIiK, but they did not provide us documents, which would confirm their powers on such actions, except the decision signed by Galina Malanicheva on their inclusion in structure of the commission”, told a source to the CrimeRussia.
The building in Gagarinsky Lane where VOOPIiK is located
According to the witness of this meeting, from VOOPIiK there were Dmitry Sporykhin and Denis Loginov who officially are not connected with VOOPIiK in any way. “During interrogation the only thing that interested them – what do we know about financial activities of the Moscow city department”, explained “interrogated” members of the Moscow department.
According to them, representatives of VOOPIiK put powerful pressure upon them, suggesting “to sign some documents against Vladimir Hutorev-Garnishevsky”. “During the conversation Denis Loginov announced statements telling that the Moscow department needs replacement of the leadership”, our source told.
According to him, at a meeting of members of the Moscow department declined to condemnation of a present management of the Moscow department, hinting that in the future the service will be considered to them. “Loginov also declared that Vladimir Hutarev-Garnishevsky, I quote “will come to a bad end” and that in our interests will be to express on a plenum which will be, against activities of a present management of the Moscow department and then, the new management of the Moscow department will include us in recommendation”.
Conversations with those who came to a meeting on the letter from 'experts' of VOOPIiK were recorded on a dictophone, the protocol of a meeting which members of the Moscow department were offered to sign was also recorded.
“It was surprising to sit in Central board of VOOPIiK, historic preservation organization, which functions from the middle of the 1960th years with such doubtful people who conduct interrogation. It reminded even not the 30th years, but rather gangster 90th”, one of the 'interrogated' shared impression of a meeting.
According to him, there was no sense in addressing chairman of the VOOPIiK Galina Malanicheva or her deputy Artyom Demidov with claims to Sporykhin and Loginov's illegal actions, as these actions were made on approval of Central board.
As the CrimeRussia discovered, some members of the Moscow department still receive from Sporykhin letters with requirements to be on repeated meetings.
Facebook message from Dmitry Makarov:
I represent the audit commission of the VOOPIiK. I would like to discuss on the Moscow department. Will this week be okay? There is a letter on the revision...
The story of the conflict
Vladimir Hutarev-Garnishevsky heads MCD VOOPIiK since August, 2013. According to him, intense relations with VOOPIiK he got in inheritance: “Not I faced the conflict. It was former chairman of the Moscow department, now deceased Sergey Vladimirovich Korolyov – already at the end of his management were some conflict situations connected with claims of some persons for this building”.
The matter is that the Moscow city department of VOOPIiK since 1975 is in an object of cultural heritage of federal importance Teleshov's House in Pokrovsky Boulevard, 16-18, p. of a 4-4 where conducts activities for protection of city monuments. The last three years of MCD it is forced to fight to stay in the building.
The first 13 years, from 1975 to 1988, the Moscow department acted as the lessee. As Kommersant wrote, then the Moscow department at own expense spent complete restoration at home, facades and interiors. In 1998 the city hall of Moscow transferred the House of 1111, 7 sq.m of Teleshov to lease VOOPIiK for 15 years for placement in it the Moscow city department of the organization.
After 15 years VOOPIiK refused to prolong lease of the building. As appears from the report of the Moscow city department of the organization (the copy of the document is at the disposal of the CrimeRussia) the chairman of Central board Galina Malanicheva then several times filed to Department of city property documents on lease agreement cancelation, on its prolongation. “I do not know why she was doing so. All these actions can have a purpose one – to destroy city department”, Hutarev-Garnishevsky commented then on a situation. According to Galina Malanicheva's decision in 2003-2005 the lease right on on 603,8 sq.m in Teleshov's house was received by restaurant, thereby having deprived of MCD lost more than a half of rooms in the house.
In 2013 the rent in Moscow was almost doubled. According to the head of the department, thus the MCD suddenly obtained the debt in 10 months of lease, which the organization was not able to pay. At the moment the debt for lease of MCD VOOPIiK constitutes more than 2 million rubles.
In 2013 and all following years MCD asked the authorities of Moscow to renew the contract for them, to transfer the room to free use of the NGO or to hand over in long-term lease. Addresses of deputies of the State Duma, the Minister of Construction and Housing and Communal Services of Russia Mikhail Men, the archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the Union of the Moscow architects and other organizations also did not bring desirable effect. The government of Moscow, Department of city property refuse all addresses and notify that the NGO shall leave the room, referring to the appeal of Central board of VOOPIiK.
The Central board shows the same unanimity with city authorities also in questions of historic preservation activities.
“Under the leadership of Vladimir Hutarev-Garnishevsky the Moscow city department tries to conduct public work on protection of monuments of Moscow against destruction. However through the Central board the city authorities try to put pressure upon it”, one of members of society noted in a conversation with the CrimeRussia.
Most sharply disagreements were shown in the summer of 2016 in connection with cutting down in the territory of the estate Kuskovo.
As it was already told, in July MCD received letter from the Central audit committee on conducting “complex check of financial and economic activities” from April 28, 2012. The document is signed on July 11, 2016, and the Moscow department shall provide required documents till July 18, 2016. That is on preparation of reporting documentation in four years only a week was allotted.
Council of the Moscow department connected such sudden check with attempt to interfere with protection of the estate Kuskovo which MCD VOOPIiK defends together with residents and other historic preservation activists. The matter is that for July 14, 2016 in MCD public trial dates concerning protection of an object of cultural heritage of Kuskovo against cutting down were set, and simultaneous preparation of reporting documentation in so short time prevented preparation for hearings.
The Moscow department conducts long fight in a headline story about preserving the estate Kuskovo where the city authorities plan to lead the Northeast chord. Meanwhile, member of Central board of VOOPIiK Alexander Trenin became one of authors of state examination according to which reduction of borders of "Estate Kuskovo" and a construction of the high-speed route in the territory of an object of cultural heritage and in close proximity to a federal monument of the 17th century were approved. Experts of the MCD estimated such conclusion of Central board as “a spittle in the face”. Meanwhile, actions of VOOPIiK, strange for a historic preservation organization, become clear if to consider the important fact. The high-ranking official Leonid Kondrashov – the deputy manager of Department of cultural heritage of Moscow and the chief archeologist of the capital is a part of Central board. Among historic preservation activists Leonid Kondrashov has reputation of the official, “who actively participates in delivery of monuments in the territory of Moscow”.
In particular in September, 2016 scientists and experts (candidate of architecture, member of the Union of architects of Russia N. I. Zavjyalova, member of the Moscow consolidation of landscape architects V. N. Sherenkova, leading academic employee of Institute of art criticism of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation E. D. Shorban), sent alternative examination which confuted to doubt legality of a construction of the Northeast chord in the territory of the estate Kuskovo to Department of cultural heritage and proved an incorrectness of state examination based on which in Kuskovo began cutting down.
The answer came with the personal signature of the deputy administrator of department Leonid Kondrashov who didn't accept examination, having referred to formal requirements (the document is at the disposal of editorial office of the CrimeRussia).
According to vice-chairman of Veshnyakovsky department of MCD VOOPIiK Irina Kuznetsova if alternative state examination was accepted in department, chances of salvation of Kuskovo considerably would increase.
To be convinced that the Central board works together with the city authorities we studied VOOPIiK line item on protection of other historical places of Moscow.
Silence is gold? How does VOOPIiK receives multimillion grants from the government of Moscow
The estate Kuskovo not the unique example of a sharp discrepancy of views of Central board VOOPIiK and its Moscow department on preserving cultural heritage of the capital.
This summer MCD together with other historic preservation organizations and city activists fought for preserving the quarter in Khamovniki built in style constructivism in the 1920-30th years on Pogodinskaya Street. For this purpose historic preservation activists sent the request to capital Department of cultural heritage about inclusion of quarter in the register of monuments. However the chairman of Central board of society Galina Malanicheva made the conclusion that buildings are not of architectural value and shan't be recognized as a monument. Exactly referring to the expert opinion of Malanicheva, the department refused to include quarter in the list of the protected monuments.
Based on the state historical and cultural examination executed by the member of VOOPIiK Alexander Trenin in 2013 demolition of a monument of industrial architecture – Circular depot of the Nikolaev railroad was begun.
Even the zone of the Moscow Kremlin did not escape. The advisory council of VOOPIiK approved the project of the new conservation zone offered by the Ministry of Culture that led to reduction of the conservation zone of the Kremlin. At the same time the Moscow department, the Union of the Moscow architects, representatives of ArchNadzor and 'Old Moscow' gave a negative assessment to the project.
It is clear - either silence, or too loyal line item of the CB to the free appeal of the city authorities with monuments and objects of cultural heritage.
The fact which already absolutely obviously specifies affiliation of Central board with the city hall of Moscow is that a member of Central board is the deputy head of Department of cultural heritage, the chief archeologist of the capital Leonid Kondrashev. How this fact can influence the decisions made by Central board of the society it should not been explained.
One of the members of VOOPIiK estimated inclusion in Central board of historic preservation society of Kondrashev as a shame for all organization.
“We had no such shame long ago, – he noted. – I can state that for a long time Central board of VOOPIiK does not show openly all the administrative and economic actions. We supported Galina Malanicheva, believing that she processes case in more or less right direction. But now it is obvious that activities of VOOPIiK frankly speaking, unsuccessful. To Malanicheva, there are a lot of questions, and different. Active communication of Central board with Leonid Kondrashov and his inclusion in structure of the organization – absolutely inadmissible thing. The person who actively participates in delivery of monuments in the territory of Moscow prepares documents that monuments were removed from protection zones that on their place shopping centers were under construction. And now he participates in work VOOPIiK and influences its decisions. The organization can't remain former”.
The member of VOOPIiK estimated the conflict of Central board with the Moscow department of the organization as “dissent suppression methods”.
It is not surprising that in such situation the historic preservation line item of the Moscow department in many respects contradicting decisions of the city authorities can be estimated in the Central department as very not convenient. It becomes in that case clear why Central board of VOOPIiK aims to replace a management of the Moscow department on Artyom of Demidov, and does everything that MCD lost the room, and audit committee VOOPIiK annually performs in the Moscow department, at the same time, according to Vladimir Hutarev-Garnishevsky, without reporting about the reasons of unplanned audits and without sending results of these checks.
It is not excluded that silence of VOOPIiK concerning protection of valuable city objects is converted into benefit, to be exact – into receipt of state orders from Department of cultural heritage.
In any case about a financial cooperation of VOOPIiK with Department of cultural heritage, tell data of the website of State procurement.
Since 2011 the All-Russian Society for the Preservation of Historical and Cultural Monuments public organization received from DKN of Moscow within the state order about 78 681.060 rubles. At the same time only for the last year VOOPIiK benefited 6 tenders for the amount of 25 million rubles from GKU "Mosrestavration". Here it is important to note that it organizations is also subordinated to department of cultural heritage.
Thus, in only five years the historic preservation organization received more than 103 million rubles.
Interestingly and that for what rendering services VOOPIiK received money, to put it mildly, not quite on the profile – for “the organization of conferences”, a seal of textbooks, “holding cultural and entertaining actions and the organization of leisure, except sport or games", to "holding walking tours”. Tours are conducted within the project of Department of cultural heritage “An exit to the city”.
While the All-Russian organization is urged to protect and keep objects of architecture and cultural heritage.
Chairman of VOOPIiK Galina Malanicheva and her deputy Artyom Demidov
The picture will be incomplete, without one circumstance. A curator of the Exit to the City project for which VOOPIiK receives the multimillion amount from the city authorities is the first deputy chairman of Central office Artyom Demidov, that whom according to the CrimeRussia VOOPIiK wants to deliver in a management of the Moscow city department.
According to open information, Artyom Demidov has legal education. In 2012 he held a position of the CEO of the Restoration Center of VOOPIiK company which founder at that time was VOOPIiK. In the fall of 2012 against it in the Smolensk region criminal case upon a Swindling (part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) was brought. As Interfax reported, the management of the center stole more than 1,1 million rubles from 8,5 million rubles allocated with the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation on improvement of the territory of ensemble of the Cathedral mountain to the 1150 anniversary of Smolensk. “The project assumed use of granite which cost was brought in the estimate, but the contract organization did not use this construction material. Thereby, the management of the organization made deceitful practices and, having abused trust of representatives of the Ministry of Culture”, the representative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs reported in 2012.
According to data of the Konkursnye Torgi newspaper in 2011-2013 the restoration center received more than 194 million rubles from state contracts – from the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and from Department of cultural heritage of the capital.
In 2012 at congress VOOPIiK the first deputy the chairman of that time of the Moscow city department Mikhail Malinin, brought up a question of financial activities of Restoration center VOOPIiK and the reporting on where there is this money. In 2013 Mikhail Malinin was excluded by the decision of Presidium of Central office at the suggestion of Galina Malanicheva from VOOPIiK. And in December, 2015 CB excluded from VOOPIiK five members of council of MCD, chairman V. Hutarev-Garnishevsky, two of his regular deputies I. Solodikhin and K. Koval and two honored veterans of protection of monuments, Bol 20 years consisting in VOOPIiK – A. Koroleva-Pereleshina and A. Renzhin. Alexander Renzhin is not only the state expert in the sphere of Old Russian art, but also one of the most acknowledged restorers of the Russian icons in the world, with participation and under the direction of which more than 2000 icons of the 15-18th centuries were restored.
At the time of the publication of this material of the CrimeRussia it was not succeeded to receive the comment from Galina Malanicheva on a situation in the gradozashchitny organization and to receive answers to numerous questions which arose to it during the made investigation. Explained to us that Galina Malanicheva communicates with journalists only after considers a subject and questions of an interview and asked to send an interview subject to e-mail, having reported that in case of the positive decision, the comment will be provided quickly enough. Having learned about an interview subject, Malanicheva's assistant has reported that the chairman of the organization won't be able to give the comment by the designated time. It has become clear that “Galina Ivanovna and her first deputy Demidov Artem Gennadevich go to a business trip to the Memorial estate L.N. Tolstoy Yasnaya Polyana” and will be able to communicate only in several days.
The future of MCD VOOPIiK remains unknown. “The Moscow city department was always ready to consider any reasonable offers. But "take not the offer all of you and leave from here, and give the organization to us – such offer is unacceptable for us”, Vladimir Hutorev-Garnishevsky noted. – Why we shall rise, be developed and leave, just because some boys wanted to receive the organization?”.
The Moscow city department VOOPIiK sent the appeal with the description of the conflict and the concerns to the Ministry of Culture, to the Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation V. I. Tolstoy, to the Russian State Duma Committees on culture and for public associations and the religious organizations, and also to heads of regional departments VOOPIiK.
Central board VOOPIiK was not in debt – according to the official declaration, the presidium of CB made the decision to address to law enforcement agencies with the claim to evasion of the Moscow department from tax payment and declared that the Department of city property has the right to appeal to arbitration tribunal of Moscow with a request to declare MCD bankrupt because of violation on lease payment. "As a result of initiation of insolvency proceeding, MCD VOOPIiK it can be liquidated". Whether it is not desirable result at which the Central board aims?
Several years ago, owner of two dozen companies and media sources Elada Nagornaya was called the richest wife of an official. Now her husband Oleg Sorokin is in a pre-trial detention center, and she has successfully left for Europe with other family members.
The trial of Shakro Molodoy is coming to an end in the Nikulinsky Court of Moscow. The high-profile case of extortion of 8 million rubles ($141,840) from Elements restaurant owner Zhanna Kim culminated in the shootout on Rochdelskaya, where two people were killed and five wounded.