The age-old problem of “fathers and sons” bypasses “bossy” family clans. They are usually combined generations by universal for all times goals – power authorization status and material benefit. And it is usually without overloading with moral restrictions that can build unnecessary obstacles. One of these clans - maybe not the most prominent, but practically not subject to criticism - flourishes in Moscow and the Moscow region, near the main financial flows. They are Kremers: father and son.
The father, Christian Christianovich, manages the Department of Education of Voskresensky district municipal institution. The son, Alexey Christianovich, owns and operates a group of companies in Moscow. They supply electrical equipment under the brand of the holding ENELT.COM, covered by a law firm Kremer and partners.
It would seem, officials and businessmen are almost class enemies under capitalism. Their functions are different, the mentality is opposite. But in Russia, power and capital, administration and business were inextricably intertwined long ago. There are letch for power and itch for gain here and there. Greed is peculiar to our bureaucrats no less than to entrepreneurs, and businessmen have as much ambition as officials do. Both are often the most unbridled grabbers. It seems that there is no such a way not invented by officials and entrepreneurs close to managers to merge in ecstasy bypassing all laws. Of course, it is easier to those who are related by kinship. One hand washes another, money flows into a common family pot. It turns out especially successfully, if the son inherits the father's business acumen. As in the case of Kremers.
What is common between the district department of education and the metropolitan company selling batteries and cable? However, Kramer Sr. was able to convey valuable experience of mutually advantageous communication with senior partners and heads to his son. Christian Christianovich himself is characterized by those knowing him personally as incredibly slippery and extremely adaptable person. “Gutta-percha” Kremer has lived through few local heads on his position. There he was helped by obsequiousness, collaboration, well-modulated voice and the ability to “keep an eye on distant prospects”. However, sometimes the case is somewhat different with closer prospects, but it is more important to draw a picture of a bright future behind which it is easy to hide improper present.
The son, they say, is most like his father. His ability to perform financial tricks on the sly, secretly from business partners is amazing. He is evasive and well-disposed in private life as well. Full of evergreen optimism, Kremer Jr., like the senior, builds bright-eyed development plans for his businesses trying to ignore some of the troubles of the present moment.
Christians Christianovich, to his credit, is pretty lucky as a bureaucrat ... He occupies a very obscure post in the structure of the management of the Voskresensky district, staying between the Department of Health Care and the Department of Culture, Sports and Youth. This is an ordinary average position, in addition, with the supervision of the third deputy head of the district. One would ask what could be gained from such a position. Schools, kindergartens, summer camps - all these dispose to corruption in no way, not to mention business, absolutely prohibited for municipal employees.
However, the district budget for 2011-2012 provides Kremer's department with fantastically disproportionate sum of expenses. It is getting uneasy to see that. Last year, a modest department of Christian Christianovich spent 1.4 billion rubles which is half of the total budget expenditures. The present budget, by a boastful admission of Kremer, provides for 1.7 billion (70% of expenditure). Such “bonuses” dramatically change the emphasis in the administrative structure of the Voskresensky district. Although they by themselves do not make Kremer corruptionist, but help to realize to what extent his modest post an official fits with his true power.
Such a grandiose injection of funds in the district education allowed commentators of the local media to call the district budget “socially oriented”. However, a paradox has been noticed for a long time: for some reason, the more the budget of a municipality is “socially oriented”, the lower the standard of living of the residents is. There are many reasons, and we won't go into them now but just note this generally acknowledged pattern: the harder officials help out the disadvantaged people, the more the number of these disadvantaged grows (and the richer the helpers). The main thing is that the role of the official, saddled the budget flow, increases in these municipalities immeasurably. And a lot depends on personal qualities of the manager.
Let us take this case. In vain will you will look for results of competent management in schools and kindergartens of this small district. According to the results of Christian Kremer’s 12-year activity, Voskresenskiy education is in complete ruin. There is one unfortunate kid, forced to stay at home, for every three happy kids, placed in kindergartens. The excuse is standard – there are no seats. And this is despite the injections of billions of dollars. In kindergartens quiet corruption blooms. Placing a child in a kindergarten out of turn, parents pay a determined amount of “primary contribution” - from 8 to 20 thousand rubles. Even if someone is grabbed by the hand, there are only managers who themselves cornered by the lack of space to place additional groups. Not so long ago, in July 2011, the manageress of the kindergarten Vasilek (Cornflower) Tatiana Muranova was sentenced for bribery. Since 2007, it was ascertained 17 episodes of corruption in her case. And how many of such Muranovas are there in the district?
While the prosecution fights corruption, Kremer hands out deficit areas, in which children need, to the private hands. For example, last year they gave up to a fitness club the whole room in the kindergarten No. 39 in Beloozersk, the second largest settlement of the district. 24 children were left without placements. And the very depatrment of education occupies an excellent building of a former kindergarten, in which it has already invested a lot of money. Kramer wants to manage in a comfortable environment. Christian Christianovich lavishly endowed local tax authorities with a living space as well, having given them another kindergarten.
Kremer’s subordinate institutions are often repaired only on paper. This was shown by the very recent case of a kindergarten in the village Ratchino when the rain filtered through the leaky roof, and the inside of the building “blooms” with mold. As it happened in the end of August, Cremer along with the deputy head of the district Yury Hulin (that third deputy, supervising and covering the Department of Education) appeared in an ugly situation. And it was reminded them some time later.
The ruin hasn’t been limited by only kindergartens. There, in the same Ratchino, a school was opened in this academic year. It has been repaired for a long five years, during which the funds allocated for repair were going away in one certain direction, known only to Kremer. By the way, the official himself, faithful to the principle of showy reporting, was slow to recognize the dangerous structure of the school. On his orders, classes were simply carried out in the least damaged parts of the school building. Slipping away from the rotten ceilings and crumbling walls, the pedagogical collective was forced to play last trump having addressed the TV. Only the story of a crumbling Ratchino school forced Kremer to make a decision to close it for repairs. The children were placed in a little more comfortable buildings of the kindergarten (the one with a leaky roof) or even in the school of the next village Achkasovo.
But the scam with the sale of the Leonovskaya school in May 2011defuses all those things. As there were no children remained in the village, enterprising officials of the district administration rushed to remove the school from the municipal balance. The building was formalized as a non-residential and sold for 800 thousand rubles along with the land of 2.5 hectares. When the market value of the object was 9.724 thousand rubles. The sale-purchase agreement No. 2128 of May 27, 2011 was authorized by the deputy head of the district on land issues Natalia Hahina. However, such a scam with the sale of real estate (most likely, to themselves) would be impossible without the signature of Kremer. And only in July of this year, the Prosecutor's office amended those interesting schemes for withdrawal of property and canceled the sale. By the way, this scam was in the news. So, Christian Kremer has already been an honorable newsmaker.
The last today sensation of a regional scale, in the center of which the Head of Education appeared again, was held on September 7. In this day, Kramer reported on his activities to the municipal council. A habitually smooth report was filled with examples of successful activity of Christian Christianovich. There were, basically, numerous celebrations and administrative operations. However, the head of the district Alexander Kalinnikov wasn’t convinced by some reasons. Hitherto untouchable Kremer was reprimanded. And no wonder – only 14 from 28 units, which were in need for repair, were shaped up for the new school year. Now the administrative fate of Kremer is expected to be resolved after the election on October 14. Whoever becomes the head of the district, Kremer is likely to lose his office.
So how exactly Kremer could lighten the district budget? There are many ways. A common one is in placing orders. Only 5 from 11 tenders over the past two years found their contractor. It is significant that no one undertook repairs of millions. Or no one simply wasn’t allowed to them. As the economic burdens fell on the Department of Education in this case, and the money, judging by the state of the funds, was successfully stolen.
However, executed orders were the same source of bureaucratic enrichment. Having considered that Christian Kremer was chairman of the tender committee in all cases, it becomes clear from where the round starting amount went. No one was seriously involved in the preparation of estimates and their justification. As a result, the department of Cramer acquired a bus for 1.2 million rubles and bought refrigeration equipment at 500 thousand rubles during those two years twice. The scheme is traditional: a sum is pulled out of a hat, with already included kickbacks to suit both parties. Then goods and services, that don’t correspond to the requirements of the tender deliberately, are supplied. That is they are much cheaper than the money paid.
It is clear now, where millions invested in the system of education of the Voskresensky district disappeared. Of course, the scheme with tenders and poor-quality repairs doesn’t explain the disappearance of the entire gigantic amount. But the direction, in which the prosecution should work, has been given clearly.
… and the children
The son of Christian Christianovich, Alexey Kremer, has no government equipment at hand that can be advantageously withdrawn through straw persons. He is not busy in the public procurement with their almost inevitable income in the form of kickbacks. But he has a valuable resource in the form of trustful partners instead. The business world is merciless to the weak. And as Kramer Jr. is not burdened by prejudices such as conscience and fidelity to the word, he feels quite at home in the modern Russian business.
In 2007, Kremer-son together with Oleg Kulikov founded ENELT.COM Company. In this pair, Kremer was the guided one, and a controlling stake of 51%, Kulikov left to himself. Kremer received the remaining 49%. By a mutual agreement, he also became CEO of the established firm. Kremer's appeasable character was pleasing the partner for several years. Besides, he had sent triumphant reports one after another to the senior partner. There were no questions to ask him. It was exactly until in the spring of 2011, when Kulikov accidentally learned how things had been progressing in ENELT.COM.
Joint child was close to bankruptcy, but not because of a bad management (in which Kramer Jr. look up to his father). But the fact that Kremer in a familiar way took out of the balance funds belonging to both partners was much worse. He put them in the cascade of his own firms, this time – the individual ones - Kremer and Partners, Energoprof, Synergy+, 10 kVA, PSP, Batteries TAB. Kremer tried to find directors for these firms among trustful managers of ENELT.COM.
Realizing that sooner or later Kulikov would demand to answer for such interesting manipulation, Kremer hurried into in 2008 to withdraw from the management, having replaced himself by Mikhail Zhelnov combined duties with the co-founder of PSP JSC. To give apparent legitimacy to this pirouette, the accomplices hastily concocted the minutes of the general meeting, in which Kremer was dismissed and Zhelnov, in accordance, took his post. The contract was sealed by the signature of ... Kulikov. Later the forgery became clear.
Kulikov, not believing in the worst, sent notifications to the members of the company to hold an extraordinary general meeting. The response was natural: a complete ignoring. The naive Kulikov made another attempt to get the meeting going by sending a written request to Zhelnov. And again - a failure. Then the co-founder was forbidden to the enterprise, the financial records of the ENELT.COM were shut away from him, and, finally, they hired a new staff, who did not know anything about Kulikov and his shared participation. Then the incomes almost completely flowed into the pockets of Kremer and Zhelnov.
The deceived Kulikov had to give up all the attempts to resolve the case peacefully and was forced to go to the police. It was only then that he realized how reliably Kremer insured himself against any possible troubles. In response to his statement, he got such a humiliating run-around reply that it was impossible to explain that fact by the simple negligence of the police officers. A major D.V. Petrenko told Kulikov that Kremer claimed that he was the only owner of the company. Demands? Kulikov could have challenged the appointment of Zhelnov in court within two months. However, the forged signature on the minutes of the meeting remained by the corner. Had it belonged to Kulikov, it would be incomprehensible, why he would decide to challenge his own decision.
By then, the emboldened Kremer had already registered the twin-enterprise ENELT.COM in February 2012. That time, he decided not to walk on thin ice and became the founder and the general director in the updated firm. Without further ado, he took on the re-registration of the new company trademark and its official site. The stockholdings and fixed assets suddenly disappeared along with office equipment and office furniture from the balance of the old ENELT.COM. Finally, with his “gotten goods” and “colleagues”, Alexey Kremer moved to a new office on the passage of the Serp i Molot factory, 6, where his other firms had already rested. The agreements with the customers were quietly being reissued on the new ENELT.COM. If it was not possible to come to an agreement, the rough customer was offered a choice of working with one of the many smaller offspring of Kremer. Being the winner, Kremer ordered not to let the old partner to the new address. The door was simply shut at the nose of the indignant Kulikov.
The incident can be put into one inclusive term - raiding. As we see, the times of capture of business only seem to be things of the past, to a perfunctory view. In the reality, raiding stepped up to a different level of complexity. Now it is not enough to falsify the data in the registry to get the right to own a company. One cannot cope without powerful patrons. Regarding Kremer Jr., the place of such a patron has been taken by the former lieutenant colonel, the chairman of the regional public organization of veterans of operational services Honor Alexey Darkov.
This man is trying to awkwardly justify himself, explaining that he just arranged the occasional job for the veteran. And then, apparently, also on occasion, he stood up for one of the parties in the property dispute. But Darkov could get a job for his colleague only through an order by Zhelnov, which means Kremer’s knowledge and consent. In fact, it is absolutely unnecessary to give guesses here. The fact, that Kremer and Darkov are connected by the relations far from the formal ones, is known to many of his current and former partners. Only the presence of such a powerful “roof” explains the audacity and impunity of Kremer.
Now the fate of the enterprise of Alexey Kramer, alongside with the fate of his father’s post, is hanging by a hair. Kulikov has finally succeeded in becoming director of the ruined ENELT.COM. Though the company Kremer Synergy + JSC and PSP JSC presented property claims to the old ENELT.COM on a tidy sum. It turns out that in late May Zhelnov signed an act of reconciliation in which he had agreed with the “debt” of the old ENELT.COM to these companies. By the way, he is stated as the founder of one of them (PSP JSC). That is, he agreed with the debt to his own self.
Now the reliable Kremer’s support - Darkov - has difficulties himself in connection with the publication of the facts of his questionable activities in the field of the specific “organized crime” in the 1990s. And it is doubtful that the court will leave Kremer’s “legitimate” prey to him.
Instead of epilogue
This classic case of familiar corruption worthy to enter the manuals of officers of the Economic Crime and Corruption Department shows how corruption is not constrained by the current political conditions. It adjusts to any situation, like a polymorphic virus. It is impossible to eradicate it only by the state supervision. It depends on the society how successful the fight against the corrupted clans is going to be.
The above-described father-and-son’s corruption epopee seems to be coming to its finish. But how much budget money has to be “drawn” and how many partners have to be “played for”, while the relevant authorities will begin to move! The next family like this could have more lasting luck. More than it might seem depends on our guard, on the bold citizenship, on the word of truth. Let's hope that this article will help to establish justice.
Edgar TARADZIN, specially for Rumafia.com