The Chairman of the Civic Committee of Saint-Petersburg, one of the opposition leaders in St. Petersburg, Olga Kurnosova suggested expanding the Magnitsky list with a new person. She considered it appropriate to include in the list a retired Lieutenant Colonel Alexey Darkov whom the media call an “accomplice” of the notorious investigator Artyom Kuznetsov. Kurnosova applies with the corresponding statement to the ambassadors of several European countries and the USA. The reason for the appeal was the article “Thieves fill up travel ban list” published in the online edition of Lentacom.ru http://www.lentacom.ru/news/20589.html
“The most important feature is the long term relationship between Darkov and Kuznetsov who played a key role in the sinister Magnitsky’s case. The data of the journalistic investigation allow to suggest that the contacts of Darkov and Kuznetsov had at least “shadow” character and concerned, in particular, corruption financial schemes. The relations of Darkov with the undisguised criminal world designated in the article are also essential”, said the opposition leader in her letter to the ambassadors of the EU countries and the USA.
Kurnosova believes that the article gives grounds to add Darkov’s name to the Magnitsky’s list - at least until all the circumstances of his relations with Kuznetsov are cleared. “The information contained in the article gives further evidence of how the Russian Federation is now entangled by the Russian criminal and corruption web stretching from the times of the USSR. A special role in the system of organized crime and bureaucratic corruption is played by former officials of punitive bodies”, Kurnosova says.
The lawyer of Hermitage Capital fund Sergey Magnitsky died in November, 2009 in the hospital of the pre-trial detention center “Matrosskaya tishina”. He was accused of tax evasion; however, according to representatives of the fund, the case was fabricated by the Russian law enforcement agencies. Magnitsky’s list is a list of Russian officials who have violated human rights in Russia. It is assumed that these people should be denied entry to the countries of the West. It also concerns freezing of their accounts in European and American banks.
Aviation and mine pornography
After retiring the life of former officials of law enforcement agencies goes differently. Some of them continue to serve in parallel institutions. Others withdraw from business, write memoirs, and enjoy life. Some drink hard. But there are those who do not really get out of their former official business. The resignation but releases them from annoying need of pretending to be not the ones who they are in fact, and it frees them up for a very profitable shadow business. Alexey Evgenievich Darkov belongs to the number of such retirees.
He was born in May 1958 and had a life of adventure about which he now tells stories for posterity. He keeps a blog on the Internet. Some of the stories of this blog may seem very curious if you know some specifics of the author’s of these stories work. For example, Darkov wrote how in 1995, an Argentine revolvers dealer was detained. An image of a brave security officer engaged in the most dangerous business – fighting against organized crime - was pictured to the readers of his blog. Moreover, the fighting is even against gun trafficking. It is interesting (every man likes guns, doesn’t he?!) and informative as well. It turned out some Aeroflot stewards were engaged in supplying criminal leaders of Krasnodar with arms. It was a scheme, they say, at work, a “living” one, and even one coming from an eyewitness.
Or else, for example, Darkov writes about a detention of a Moscow bartender dabbling with grenade launchers and machine guns. With bated breath, a blog reader follows the vicissitudes of the show which had been specially organized for the detention of dangerous gangster. The reader greedily gobbles details of police and Vimpelcom guards’ cooperation (Vimpelcom supplied the anti-mafia fighters with cell phones rare in the middle of the 1990s). And after learning that the bartender stored 22 kilograms of ammonite in the basement, and it would be “enough to leave no more than the foundation of the police building” after the explosion, the reader gets certainly aware of the risk to which Darkov and his colleagues subjected themselves. There are no questions who are heroes there.
The arm theme, apparently, was always a favorite subject of Alexey Evgenyevich. His memories of the experience on withdrawals of weapons started from the distant 1984. However, at that time, there were absolutely insignificant parties of the deadly product. The only catches of the operatives were a Czechoslovak gun and an aviation mine. The fact that “the criminal was selling a pornographic magazine” in addition to weapons was not in general trend. But, well, he was a villain in everything, wasn’t he?
However, knowing the invariable tendency of the glorious Soviet-Russian police to collect all the “visyaks” (dead-end investigations) in one criminal case of a person that got caught on something, one can guess about the reasons for the wide - from porn magazines to aviation mines - spread of the interests of the businessman. It is only necessary to find out what comes first - weapon or “cheesecake”. That is to find out what the criminal was really selling and what then appeared in hindsight. And here's the answer: Darkov used children to make, in modern parlance, a test purchase of the porn magazine.
The children bought the magazine and began to look at the pictures (what a nice test purchase!). The police officers chanced “to pass by” there and found the children doing that. And then, on the tip-off, they achieved the unfortunate merchant. Therefore, the weapon appeared after - when it was necessary to cover up some unsolved crimes or - for their own schemes.
After all, Darkov still is like out of here – just apart from a possible embellishment of his own official biography. But - ask the fisherman about his catch, and he dislocates his hands showing the size of the fish caught. Who is without sin?!
Soviet era’ shoulder straps
But there is a hidden part in the story about the caught of weapons one should never speak of. The times of the blessed stagnation are rarely compared with the present but if they are compared it goes only in favor of the first. By default, “it never was such a mess” under the General Secretaries. However, recently it had to reluctantly admit that there were gangsters, serial killers, and sex maniacs in the Soviet Union (it would be strange to ignore the memories of the old MUR – Moscow Criminal Investigation Department - officers). But the exception only proves the rule, doesn’t it? And the Soviet militia (or the police in the Soviet Union) is quite another story. The militia was infallible.
It is easy to guess who benefits from enforcing this image on naive citizens. After all, many of today's official biography of senior “Mssrs. police officers” started out exactly at the time. Having accepted the social order, propaganda machine thrashed at full speed.
As for Alexey Darkov personally, he started his glorious career under the Minister of Internal Affairs Nikolay Schelokov. Darkov tells of him ecstatically in his memoirs. He tries to protect his boss from “dirty insinuations” and “direct slander” by all means. However, there was no mention of the reason for the suicide of Schelokov in December 13, 1984 and his loud case which became the “summer lightning of perestroika” (reformation in the Soviet Union during the 1980s).
Nikolay Anisimovich Shchelokov was a friend of Leonid Brezhnev personally. That allowed him to temporarily hide the dark side of his activity. However, since in November 1982, when the clods of earth were thrown at the coffin of the General Secretary, he began to have troubles. Was Shchelokov aware that Yury Andropov, who took part in the funeral, was burying his career as well?
As it is known now, as a result of the investigation of the activity of the former head of the Soviet Ministry of Internal Affairs, the facts of illegal possession of the state property at the amount of almost a quarter of a million rubles (an enormous sum of a personal theft at those times) were opened. And the same number of the damage emerges as a result of arbitrariness of Schelokov. For example, a two-part documentary film about his life, shot at his own request and at public expense, cost 50 thousand rubles from the public purse. One who remembers the prices of that time knows the meaning of this figure - about 625 thousand dollars at the exchange rate of that time. Antiques, paintings, office “Mercedes”, diamonds, and other luxury items were in possession of the ministerial family... Not counting the flowers sent to the addresses of “very close” persons (Shchelokov was a very ladies' man) snatched up at bargain prices in a special “family” store of imports (closed to outsiders). Not counting the repairing which was publically-funded as well. The full list is impressive.
Many items of this kind were really discovered in the Schelokov’ apartment and his country house. What is the use of covering up the corruptionist? But Darkov, without explaining his position, hurries to defame the accusers. “You are not worth his little finger. He is respected by all the veteran community and the intelligentsia of the CIS. In his native Ukraine, streets are named after him in two cities. A museum was opened. He honorably fought in the Great Patriotic War and restored the ruined economy of the country. He was not convicted”.
Yes, indeed, Shchelokov was at war. Like any other member of the communist party, he was at the headquarters and looked after the soldiers. He was a front guardian of “lofty communist morality”. Yes, he actually recovered the economy, although in 1945 he still started from the post of the political commissar of Zakarpatye. He suppressed the Ukrainian Resistance movement against the authorities of the CPSU (b) (the Communist Party of the Soviet Union). Yes, the museum and the streets exist there. And what? There are five museums of Stepan Bandera in Ukraine now, and there are dozens of monuments to this enemy of Schelokov as well.
As to the specific “veteran community” to which Darkov referenced, they sometimes try to rehabilitate not only Schelokov. Veterans of the VKP (b) CPSU rise in defense of such an odious person of the Brezhnev’s times as Grigory Romanov. What credibility to their arguments could be there in this case? The arguments, by the way, are reduced to the one: everything is nonsense, enemies have slandered. And, apparently, at the same time the “enemies” covered the country house of Schelokov with antiques.
But the nostalgia of Darkov for the days of Schelokov’s omnipotence may be the product of a very grim fact and not only the militia’s mutual protection. According to some data provided by the very veterans of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, to which Darkov refers, Minister Shchelokov has a special team of killers. These people eliminated the personal enemies of the chief by his orders. In particular, the murder of the actress Zoya Fedorova and the disappearance of the antiquarian Gariga Basmadzhan are associated with the killers.
Alexey Darkov’s personal involvement to the actions of this group is not proven. Most likely, he had no relation to it – by his age. But who knows what other secrets Shchelokov took to the grave having made a hole in his dress uniform firing a personal hunting rifle? And once the minister could afford things like those, there was a complete outrage as good as in hard 1990s on-the-spots. For example, the same case with the aviation mine seized from a small pornography trader. However, the templates used by Darkov to make this story more detailed became outdated long ago. They seemed withdrawn from the TV series “Investigation leading by experts” (incidentally, it was also authorized by Schelokov). Those who know Darkov will be able to understand his interest for weapons issues.
Zheglov’s means, Darkov’s goals
According to the words of the very Alexey Evgenyevich, he began his service in the Kuntsevo milicia department. For a short time in 1984, he served as a senior security officer of the criminal investigation department on the prevention of juvenile delinquency. Then the incident with the “pornographer-armourer” occured. This somewhat strange understanding of his duties by Darkov should not be surpising.
However, it was the weapon which had appeared under the porn magazines that gave a push to Darkov’s career. The so-called “Zheglov’s method” worked - the cinema-popularized detective didn’t find anything wrong in tossing “evidence” as well. Though he restricted himself by using only purses and did that with the aim which might be considered good at a stretch.
Darkov was not obviously going to put the unfortunate merchant of pornography in prison for a long term. To toss ammunition to a small offender means to crack a nut with a sledgehammer. But the whole mysterious story makes sense if we accept the version of cleaning up some loose ends.
Unfortunately, we shall never know who was killed with a gun found there and in what shoot-out he was “burned”. We also shall never learn from which stock the aviation mine was stolen and for whom it was intended. However, Darkov obviously liked the algorithm. And later, after his move to the RUVD (Regional Internal Affairs Office), he often had the opportunity to use it. There was nothing really bad in such a scheme in those dangerous times. An UBOP (Directorate for combating organized crime) officer, who preferred to hide his face in the film, openly justified such actions in the early of 2000s. “These were such times. There was a war. And when there is a war going on, the concept of applicability or non-applicability of the low blows takes an entirely different meaning”, he said. Darkov may repeat these words.
Between bandits and thieves
In the late 1980s, Alexey Darkov was thrown into the in the whirlpool of the struggle against organized crime. Here's how it looks as he says.
“In 1987, the 11th Department of MUR (Moscow criminal investigation department) “on fight against dangerous manifestations of group, recurrent and organized crime” was created. On the ground, at the districts, most experienced detectives were fixed to working in this area. In the Kuntsevo RUVD (regional office of Internal Affairs) where I was at that time, this work was assigned to Anatoly Fedorovich Shershebnev who was a veteran of the search for about 20 years. There was the perestroika (reformation of the Soviet Union during the 1980s). The society was being reconstructed. Some rudiments of business and private property appeared. Crime was being rebuilt too. Organized groups appeared more and more often. It was especially noticeable as I was on the line of disclosure of murders, robberies and banditry then. In 1987, there was a sharp jump in murders and other violent crimes. The vector of development of crime inclined towards serious crimes. The attacks were of more and more rampant character.
By the end of 1988, the analysts of the Ministry came to the conclusion that there was organized crime in the country; therefore, it is necessary to develop a service for combating this phenomenon. The Interior Ministry of the USSR created the 6th Directorate. On the ground, the ORB (Operational Investigative Bureau) was created. In Moscow on the basis of 11th department, a department for combating organized group crime (OBOGP) was created. In RUVDs (regional departments), group of two people were created.
In the middle of 1989, I was asked to lead the line in the Kuntsevo militia department. Igor Mikhailovich Trach was appointed my partner. And as the line of severe violent crime was left on me as well, I was allowed to recruit a team of the best detectives of the district. My choice fell on Yury Grigorievich Gergel, Sergey Leonidovich Tomillo, Nikolay Dmitrievich Sheremetyev and Leonid Vladimirovich Rakogon. Later Alexander Vladimirovich Podolny came into the team. The eldest was Sergey Tomillo who was 36 years old.
After about a year, I was taken to OBOGP Department of Internal Affairs of Moscow city. Eighteen months later, I was appointed as a senior security officer for special cases. In this period, Sergey Valentinovich Lomov worked with me in the group. I became friends with him from his first day in the MUR. Later Leonid Rakogon came into the group. Thus, our trio appeared, and it survived till the last days in the RUOP to where our department transformed”.
Note that analysts always know about the existence of organized crime in the Soviet Union. It did not disappear after 1917. On the contrary, it found fertile ground just in conditions of the “triumph of social justice”. But let us return to the concrete. Re-read carefully: “The 6th Directorate is created in the Soviet Interior Ministry. On the ground, the ORB is created. In Moscow, on the basis of 11th department, a department for combating organized group crime (OBOGP) is created. In the police department, groups of two people are created. In the mid of 1989, I was asked to lead the line in the Kuntsevo police department”.
The 6th Directorate, where Darkov served, dealt with organized criminal communities. From the Soviet thieves-in-law to the new gangster shoots. A large database was established. Darkov developed this direction in the MUR and in the Kuntsevo police department (RUVD) as well. By the way, he confused the dates: the 11th Department of the MUR was not created in 1987, but in 1986. But these are details. It is more interesting to make sure if there was a certain Osia and some certain “orekhovskie” (criminals from Orekhovskaya criminal group) in his biography.
The question is not idle. The charge on such relationship is a very serious crime. It is not for nothing that Darkov denies it so vehemently.
At the end of 1980s, the “Orekhovo-Zuevskaya OPG” (organized crime group) was formed. Its leader, Sergey Timofeev (Sylvester), quickly became the object of universal hatred of competing groups. His colleague Sergey Butorin (Osia) took advantage of that. He decided to take his place and undermined Sylvester and his Mercedes in 1994. Alexey Darkov also helped him. Not directly, of course, but very effectively.
Since about 1993 (and possibly earlier, from the moment of the arrest of Sylvester in 1989), Darkov and Butorin were hurled together by common interests. The presumptuous Osya began swinging the ax for the slightest fault and so he soon naturally earned the reputation of a fast “goner”. And Darkov advised him to dramatize his own murder, then have cosmetic surgery, and escape abroad.
Interacting with Osia, Darkov debugged the application of an effective technique. If the next target of Osia, who was literally wading through slaughter, was too well protected, he sent there the operatives of the 5th Division of the RUOP (where he was deputy chief). They arrested the person Osia pointed at. After a short trial, the detainee left the police. And then he became a victim of awaiting mobsters of “Orekhovskaya”gang. It was, of course, repayable. No wonder it was said that in the 1990s an operative of the RUBOP could afford buying a car and apartment (a little later) in a year of “work”. We can only guess what a deputy chief could afford to.
Darkov collaborated with the thief-in-law Aslan Usoyan as well (remember that thieves and bandits are completely different categories of the criminal world who get along like cat and dog). They held communication through a relative of Usoyan, Boris Pashayev. It is now when Darkov can deny the relationship between Ded Hasan (Usoyan) and Pashayev. But even turning a blind eye to the fact that Pashayev was a nephew of Usoyan, Darkov is unable to conceal their very purely concrete communication. He explains that it is because the Kurds are, he says, a small nation, and they have close relations all together.
In fact, there are more than 50 thousand Kurds in Russia. This is a minimum estimate, the maximum yields of almost half a million. There are more than 30 million of them around the world. Hardly Ded Hasan knows each of them. And, certainly, not every Kurd would become to protect Ded Hasan like Pashayev, in front of television cameras.
Darkov denies his own connection to Pashayev. It is not a surprise. But it is not too convincing.
It was formed a group in the 5th Division formed - Michael Chilingarov, Nail Dianov, Sergey Lomov, Maxim Kurochkin - bulldozing Ded Hassan’ way to the top of the criminal hierarchy. The MUR officers Yury Samolkin and Vladimir Rysakov, who later became defendants in the famous case of “werewolves in uniform”, were involved in this activity too. Of course, the deputy head Darkov did not care of that. Let us think so...
And here the experience of “a pornographic aviation mining” came in handy. Darkov had a safe in his office which was full of “burned” guns. Pistols and machine guns, someone once was shot with, were planted to Usoyan’s competitors “being found” at searches. In addition to the weapons, drugs and explosives were used. Darkov himself wrote about drugs in his blog as well. But he framed it as his undoubted victory.
Alexey Darkov reacts to all these accusations with the dignity of a real man. It doesn’t behove him to “red tape” in the courts washing off the dirt in which journalists and former colleagues are covered up him with. The former colleagues are the police officers who are leading an own internal investigation into Alexey Evgenyevich. And he does not really go to court but not because of the self-righteousness, but for the opposite reason.
His battle companions
Darkov resigned in early 2000's, with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He explains his withdrawal from the law enforcement agencies by the conflict with the “notorious General Orlov”. The general really was not the most accommodating person. But the question is not in the nature of his character. The bottom line is that Orlov as the right hand of the famous Rushailo had to do with the main schemes of the protection racket over his sponsors’ businesses, in particular, of Boris Berezovsky.
Darkov who was earning side “business” money could be perceived as too independent employee. However, it is doubtful that Orlov, who as the Deputy Minister of internal Affairs mopped up those who were involved in the RUBOP checking in 1996-1997, would pay attention to small “details” of a department deputy head. So, Darkov left for some other reason. Apparently, he left for the reason now he carefully hides dashing aside from being acquainted with Pashayev. Apparently, he felt something wrong after the case of the “werewolves” and the stupid act of Pashayev who raped a witness.
Darkov now headed a regional public organization of veterans of field services Honor which was founded by him. Under this brand, he still provides protection to criminals. And he slows down and ruins criminal charges of his clients. Bribes and long-standing relationships help him. By the way, they deserve a special mention.
For example, Yury Gergel – the Director of the Association of contact fighting sports. The Internet is literally packed with his heart-rending revelations of his past greatness. “I was born in a happy time and a great country which had a proud name of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in the past...”, he started his nostalgic memories. And then sugary tales about free education, serene childhood and a fiery battle (with a good salary) youth follow. The warm nostalgia for all free does not prevent a successful business. Next to the complaints about “sissies and mama’s darlings whose parents are able to pay more than a thousand bucks”, there is usually a link to a video where an imposing man promises, for a charge, to teach anyone who wants army knife fighting techniques which the man immediately demonstrates there. It is interesting why the law-abiding citizen needs such specific skills? And it is even more interesting that the school led by the passionate admirer of the Soviet Union trains young men and teenagers of both sexes. What they are taught there? Are there contact fighting techniques for the class struggle?
Another person is Dmitry Galochkin – the Chairman of the All-Russian Trade Union of non-state security sector. In addition to other regalia and posts, from 2007, he is a member of the Editorial Board of Human and Law journal. The owners of this journal - Andrew Paszkowsky and George Kopylenko – are known raiders of Orsi Group famous for numerous illegal takeovers. The most impressive of these episodes was the raid of assets of Moscow region under the name of operational management by the RIG-group of notorious Janna Bullock and her husband, Minister of Finance of Moscow Region Alexey Kuznetsov. Only in 2010, the Investigation Committee was able to stop Pashkovsky and Kopylenko who were trying to withdraw a billion dollars stolen from the budget of the Moscow region. What did the defender of unfortunate security guards of law and order Dmitry Galochkin do at that time?
Finally, there is probably the most interesting connection of Darkov - Artem Kuznetsov. In dashing 1990s, they served together in the 5th Directorate of the RUBOP. This odious character hardly needs an introduction since he is the person who begins the Magnitsky List. Kuznetsov ordered the arrest and detention of a seriously ill lawyer of the Hermitage fund. Since then, as a result of an internal review by the MVD (the Ministry of Interior), the policeman Kuznetsov, whose income (including the income of all members of the family) is just over 100 thousand a year, bought two apartments in elite residential complexes in Moscow for more than two and a half million dollars and three car at 280 thousand of the same dollars.
And it becomes clear why the retired Lieutenant Colonel Alexyi Darkov so ardently defends Army General Nikolay Shchelokov. Formed under the notorious werewolf, who gave a start in life to all modern “werewolves in uniform”, he could not be different. Let those who now “defend honor” of Schelokov’ or even Darkov’ uniform take this into account as well.
Edgar TARADZIN, specially for Rumafia.com