Saratov Center Press Survey of Regional Media and Websites, May 2012

Posted: June 20, 2012 at 7:38 pm, Last Updated: September 7, 2012 at 1:53 am

English Summary by Justin Cade

Ten criminal charges filed against chief Saratov city administrator

Alexei Prokopenko, the head of municipal development for the city of Saratov, has been charged on ten counts of failing to enforce the municipal court’s ruling on providing apartments to residents of old and unfit buildings. An investigation revealed that in March of last year, Sheldom, a privately-owned corporation, transferred 29 well-furnished residential apartments in multi-story buildings to city ownership for inclusion in the municipal residential fund. In August, all of the apartments were classified as offices. Mr. Propenko, despite being advised as to the criminal nature of ignoring the court’s stance on providing housing to those most in need, ordered that 28 of the 29 apartments be provided to persons not in desperate need of housing. The regional prosecutor’s office is currently in charge of the investigation.

The fight against corruption

On May 28th, regional vice governor D.V. Fadeev examined the question of the region’s executive branch’s work in fighting corruption according to the national plan. Progress has been made and departmental proposals have been put in place to further the branch’s fight against corruption by the following measures: limitations and bans on government employees receiving gifts; the development within the executive branch of a negative attitude toward giving gifts to government employees based on their positions or in connection to their duties; the prohibition of behavior among government employees that might be perceived as a request for a bribe, or an agreement to accept one, by those around them; the exposure/recognition of instances in which arise conflicts of interest if one side is that of a government employee and the taking of measures allowed by the legislature on the prevention and regulation of conflicts of interest; and others.

With this list of introduced changes, the plans of the region’s executive branch reflect all fundamental concepts of preventative work in the sphere of the fight against corruption and correspond to the demands of federal and regional normative anti-corruption laws. Strict and meticulous enforcement of the specified terms and measures stipulated by national plans will be the legislature’s primary task in the realization of these laws.

In 2012, Saratov law enforcement has detected 447 acts of corruption so far, among them are 80 cases of bribery.

On May 23rd, in broad daylight, a representative of the noncommercial horticultural cooperative “Mashinostroitel’” illegally received cash in the sum of 3,500 rubles from a female citizen in exchange for a fictitious form testifying that she supposedly was a member of the cooperative’s union when in reality the woman is not a member of any union at all. After receiving the cash, the man was held at the scene by Saratov law enforcement. When interrogated as a suspect, the representative pled guilty and also willingly testified to four more counts of criminal activity.

In Saratov, a general practitioner at City Clinic 20 confessed receiving a bribe of 1,500 rubles from a patient for providing him with a letter stating that he was unfit for work. The general practitioner faces a fine of 37,500 rubles and a ban from public service for one year.

The city of Balashov’s general prosecutor has accused another general practitioner of accepting a cash bribe from a patient to issue a letter stating that the latter was unfit for work. The clinic employee confessed and will face a fine of 40,000 rubles.

A narcotics officer is being accused of receiving a bribe, as well. According to a witness, the policeman received a bribe of 250,000 rubles through extortion in exchange for dropping charges.

On May 14th, a resident of Saratov’s Kirov neighborhood was arrested by police for lacking required federal registration for an individual in possession of ferrous metal. The next day the citizen was summoned by a neighborhood police inspector, whom he offered a bribe of 500 rubles. The investigation into this criminal case is ongoing.

The chief of the Saratov region’s privatization and regulation of state property department has been accused of accepting a large bribe. The investigation is ongoing.

On May 14th, a criminal charge was filed against the director of the House of Culture for the city of Khvalynsk, A.N. Ushakov. According to evidence, on May 5th, Ushakov received a bribe of 500 rubles for actions in favor of the briber in renting the premises of the House of Culture. The investigation is ongoing.

On April 27th, an employee of the Volga district’s Federal Bailiff Service in Saratov attempted to solicit a bribe in the sum of 16,000 rubles from a debtor in exchange for services which are included in her job’s responsibilities. Investigators are now attempting to gather all evidence to use against the suspect.

The investigative department of Saratov’s Volga district filed a criminal lawsuit against a pimp who was arrested for soliciting 25-year-old prostitutes, also arrested, on May 15th. The next morning, the pimp, insisting that the prostitutes arrested were his friends, attempted to bribe the department chief with 5,000-rubles.

Organized crime

Police disarmed a band of five robbers in Saratov’s Lenin district. In the evenings, they tracked down their female victims in the shopping pavilion on Third Dachnaya Street in search of gold.

Drugs and drug trafficking

Police in both the town of Engels and Saratov’s Lenin district arrested 43-year-old men for injecting heroin on May 20th.

On May 16th, Engels police arrested a 36-year-old man for the use of mephedrone and a 34-year-old man for having a bottle of hash oil at the door of his apartment.

On the same day in Ershov, a 33-year-old man was arrested for carrying a bottle of hash oil.

Police arrested a 22-year-old Engels resident for possession of a large amount of a powerful synthetic narcotic substance.

A few residents of the Bezarnokarabulasksky district decided to grow marijuana in the attic of a 34-year-old man; each bush was planted in a separate special pot. Saratov narcotics police were successful in liquidating the “greenhouse” when a harvest of 1.5 kilos of the drug was collected.

Young Saratov couple released from slavery in Dagestan

A married couple from Saratov spent close to two years in slavery in the Dagestani village of Shakhmal and was recently liberated by employees affiliated with Russia’s Ministry of the Interior. According to the investigation, the young couple went to Dagestan to work, although law enforcement is not clarifying why exactly they went there.

In the train, their passports ended up in the hands of the conductor and, after their arrival in Makhachkala, on the platform, in the hands of a man who claimed to be an employer. At first the couple worked in construction. A few months passed and the construction site manager did not pay them anything. The couple naturally asked about this and the manager replied with threats, saying that if they try to escape, he will find them and sell them into slavery.

In addition to their work in construction, the couple had to feed livestock. Their diet was composed of macaroni and they slept in a barn.

After almost two years, the husband was able to get in touch with his mother. He told her that he and his wife were being illegally held in Dagestan and described their approximate location. His mother went to the police immediately and they passed materials related to the case along to their North Caucasian colleagues, who upon receiving the information, immediately set out for the suggested address.

Law enforcement officials were successful in finding the young couple and sending them home, liberating them from slavery.

(Original Russian version is available upon request)

Write to traccc at traccc@gmu.edu