Security services panic over Rashid Nurgaliyev, the Minister of the Interior, approving on 6 October the Public Council under the Ministry of the Interior. Among those to make recommendations to the police are Maria Maksakova, Mariinsky Theatre prima ballerina and the wife of kingpin Tyurikov; singer Tatyana Ovsienko, the wife of another kingpin, Sasha Chudnoy; and songwriter Ilya Reznik, a longtime friend of Solntsevskaya criminal group.
According to police data, it was the leader of Solntsevskaya gang, Sergei Mikhailov, who lobbied for all these people to be on the Public Council. The objectives of the two singers whose husbands are in custody are more than clear. Tyurik is in Russia awaiting extradition to Spain. And as for Sasha Chudnoy, law enforcement agencies are urging their Ukrainian colleagues to extradite him to Russia. Interior Ministry Public Council members list, just like an Oscar award, was a secret until the last moment. When the Council composition was announced it turned out that it went beyond all expectations. Lyudmila Alekseyeva, head of Moscow Helsinki Group, is the only more or less prominent human rights defender in the Council, and that was not an easy accomplishment. Among other members there are quite peculiar persons whose goals are like an open book to the police.
Rumafia.com already gave a detailed coverage of Maria Maksakova’s selfless struggle for the freedom of her husband, kingpin Vladimir Tyurin. He was arrested a year ago in Moscow at the request of Spanish authorities, who accuse him of money laundering and organizing a criminal group. In her attempts to free her husband, the prima even decided to run foe the State Duma as member of the United Russia. Her position on the electoral list ensures that she will be elected to the legislative assembly as a representative of the “party of power”. And now she has a further achievement. As a member of the Public Council, the kingpin’s wife will communicate with police top officials on a permanent basis.
Sources in the security services told Rumafia.com that Maskakova’s attempts to free Tyurikov already acquired an international dimension. Extradition to Spain became possible after Tyurikov was deprived of Russian citizenship. Federal Migration Service found that the kingpin had received Russian citizenship while still a citizen of Kazakhstan, which is prohibited by law. Kazakhstani authorities were willing to confirm the fact until recently. But then Maksakova visited this country where she had often performed for the local nobility. She managed to arrange a meeting with President Nursultan Nazarbayev. What they discussed is not known, but after the meeting the Kazakh authorities dramatically changed their stance in respect of Tyurin. Astana has sent an official letter to Moscow stating that Tyurin was included among the citizens of Kazakhstan by mistake and should be considered a person who lost citizenship.
Maksakova is often in the public eye, but Tatyana Ovsienko is not and it is quite surprising to see the pop star who had lost her popularity be a member of the Public Council at the Ministry of the Interior. But that is only at first glance. Her goals are the same as those of Maksakova, namely to help her husband get out of jail. Once Aleksandr was know under the surname Chudinin and was one of the leaders of Ryazanskaya gang nicknamed Sasha Chudnoy. Then the criminal boss changed his surname to Merkulov and settled in St. Petersburg, where he became an associate of Vladimir Kumarin, the leader of Tambovskaya organized crime group.
When in 2007 Kumarin was put behind bars, Sasha Chudnoy also began having problems with law enforcement agencies. Prosecutor’s office Investigative Committee collected evidence that it was Merkulov who at the direction of Kumarin had organized an assassination attempt on Sergei Vasiliev, the president of Petersburg Oil Terminal JSC, on 5 May 2006 in St. Petersburg. The cars comprising the businessman’s cortege were riddled with machine guns, one guard was killed, Vasiliev and three bodyguards were seriously injured.
When in 2008 there was a question as to the arrest of Merkulov, he and his wife Tatiana Ovsienko fled to Simferopol, where the singer was born. The kingpin was put on the wanted list. In Crimea, Sasha Chudnoy lived under the name of Anatoly Mazurenko and held banquets with celebrities, beauty contests, and published an entertainment magazine. In winter 2011 he felt so at ease that he made a few calls to St. Petersburg. The phones were tapped. Intelligence agencies quickly found where Sasha Chudnoy was, and on 22 February he was arrested in the Crimea at the request of Prosecutor General's Office.
This was when Tatiana Ovsienko took up defending her husband. While Sasha Chudnoy’s lawyers are trying to ensure him political asylum in Ukraine, the pop singer returned to Moscow and began to contact all the connections. She meets with officials, criminal bosses, and heads of law enforcement agencies. Often she comes to them with large sums of money. Chudnoy is not a poor man, and his fellow gang members also help him. "In fact Ovsienko took to ensuring that Russian law enforcers would not insist on the extradition of her husband, or if and when already in Russia, that he would be freed from custody quicker," said a source in the intelligence services.
It is noteworthy that Tyurik and Sasha Chudnoy are old acquaintances of Sergei Mikhailov, Solntsevskaya criminal group leader. As a result, he came to help the two kingpins and their wives. Mikhas is now a problem solving mediator between the criminal world and the authorities. Solntsevskaya gang leader is hesitant to get involved in any major issues since he may find himself in a position similar to that of Kumarin. But he is quite capable to ensure membership in the Public Council under the Ministry of the Interior for wives of his friends in distress. According to intelligence, it is thanks to the efforts of Mikhas that Maksakova and Ovsienko became consultants to the police. It is still under investigation to whom he applied for such a favour.
By the way, poet Ilya Reznik, another longtime friend of Solntsevskaya gang, also made it to the Council. According to investigators, he spends quite a time at the offices of kingpins on the Leninsky Prospekt. Especially often he can be seen in 101, Leninsky Prospekt, in the building that hosts the furniture store owned by the Averin brothers and Mikhas. Reznik’s TV show Moscow resident is filmed in the same building.
There is no doubt whose interests these people will defend in the Public Council. But apparently, police chiefs prefer them over human rights defenders.
Thomas Petrov, Alexey Gordon, Rumafia.com