Another influential security officer is about to join the government of St Petersburg. Governor Georgy Poltavcheko, who has been recently appointed the head of Russia’s second largest city, has offered Viktor Voronin, head of so-called K unit of the FSB, the post of first deputy governor, according to an unnamed source. Voronin, who is allegedly blacklisted by the US and the UK over Magnistky case, will have to “mop up” the people of former governor Valentina Matvienko.
It is not surprising that Viktor Voronin was offered a job in St Petersburg, a well-informed source in the security services said. Vorinin and Poltavchenko have been on good terms since the time when they both served in St Petersburg tax police. Voronin’s expertise in destroying the economic base of organized crime and tracking plundered assets will be invaluable for Poltavchenko, who wants to have the city free of Matvienko’s protégés in business and in government and destroy the companies, secretly controlled by the former governor.
Voronin’s work will not be made public, however the police may arrest a number of major figures, the source said.
Voronin’s has good reasons to leave his post in the FSB, according to the source. Recently he has had tentions with first deputy head of the FSB Sergei Smirnov. The US and the UK included him in the list of Russian officials, connected to the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer for controversial British hedgefund. It was Viktor Voronin who reported that defendant Magnitsky “was submitting papers to receive an entry visa to Great Britain, planning to leave Russia”. This information induced the police to place Magnitsky in custody, where he died. Despite official statements, the Russian government is very nervous about people blacklisted in connection to Magnitsky death. They are asked to retire from police or military service. Working as a civil servant, not the FSB officer, Vorinin gets a chance to improve his reputation in the world.
Viktor Voronin began as on officer of the FSB economic counter-espionage unit in St Petersburg and the Leningrad region. The unit was led by Aleksandr Karmatsky. Besides Voronin, other members of the team included Sergei Smirnov, Vladimir Kryuchkov, deputy head of the internal control department in the FSB, Viktor Ivanov, head of an anti-drug service, Sergei Chernyshev, head of transport department in the FSB. These officers have had close ties with each other. They investigated into head of Tambovskaya organised crime group Vladimir Barsukov, whom they had previously cooperated with. All four began in St Petersburg and got promotion to Moscow.
The relationships between former colleagues are difficult. For instance, Smirnov and Krychkov are still close allies. Others, such as Voronin, joined rival clans. Viktor Ivanov headed a clan himself. The officials “reunited” on two occasions: when they investigated into their former boss Aleksandr Karmatsky, who was put on the Interpol most wanted list and whose photograph as a general in full dress appeared on the internet, and when they destroyed the organised crime group of Vladimir Kumarin, who “knew too much”.
Until recently the clan of Smirnov and Kryuchkov was one of the most influential in the KGB. Voronin was not that prominent figure. He headed so-called K directorate, which is now responsible for investigating into smuggling and financial frauds. Previously these areas of investigation were under control of M directorate. Until the beginning of 2010 this directorate was headed by Kryuchkov and subordinated directly to deputy head of the FSB Smirnov.
M directorate controlled investigators, who probe into smuggling and crimes in the field of banking. Step by step the directorate switched from supervising the investigation into these crimes to carrying it out on its own. However, at the beginning of 2010 Kryuchkov was transferred to the internal control department of the FSB, while director of the FSB Aleksandr Bortnikov took M directorate under his personal control. It was the moment when K directorate grew in force again. It reinvestigated a number of M directorate cases in the field of banking. The K officers have arrested shadowy business owner Leon Lann and crime boss Vladimir Tyurin, wanted by Spain for money laundering. When directorate M was investigating these crimes, the FSB could not touch neither Lann, nor Tyrin. This incident made the relationships between Smirnov and Voronin even tenser. In that situation an offer of a new post in St Petersburg is the best career option for Viktor Voronin.
Thomas Petrov, Alexey Gordon, Rumafia.com