— Michael Novakhov (@mikenov) May 22, 2019
|FBI Reform: Russia News: Взгляд: Совфед лишил Арашукова статуса сенатора|
Совет Федерации на заседании в среду принял решение о лишении находящегося в СИЗО Рауфа Арашукова статуса сенатора из-за не предоставленной в срок до 1 апреля декларации о доходах за прошлый год.В соответствии с законом о статусе депутатов и сенаторов, парламентарии до 1 апреля должны подать в профильные комиссии декларации о доходах и расходах их самих, а также членов их семей за предыдущий год. Если это не было сделано, законодатель может лишиться своего мандата, на проверку обстоятельств предусмотрено 30 дней.
Арашуков направил декларацию в Совет Федерации 15 апреля, сведений о доходах супруги и несовершеннолетних детей он не представил, передает РИА «Новости».
В конце января 32-летнего Рауфа Арашукова задержали в зале заседаний Совета Федерации, обвинив в убийствах и участии в организованном преступном сообществе. Также был задержан и отец сенатора Рауль Арашуков. Его следствие считает создателем ОПГ и участником хищения 30 млрд рублей у Газпрома.
In February, both were searched in the case of Senator Rauf Arashukov.
The FSB and the National Guard detained General Kazbek Bulatov, the former First Deputy Head of the Directorate of the Investigative Committee for Karachay-Cherkessia, and Timur Betuganov, Head of the E Center of the republic (anti-extremism department), RBC reports. In February, both were searched in the case of Senator Rauf Arashukov.
The detainees are suspected of involvement in illegal activities; the charges have not been specified yet.
“Colonel Betuganov was detained early in the morning at his workplace,” said a source close to the investigation.
“Betuganov is currently being held in the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Karachay-Cherkessia in the department of banditry and terrorism, charges are to be brought against him,” a source told RBC. “He was detained by officers of the federal Investigative Committee and the FSB. Bulatov has also been detained. Two more officers of the Investigative Committee for the Karachay-Cherkessia were detained.”
In early February, Kazbek Bulatov resigned from his post as the first deputy head of the Investigative Committee for Karachay-Cherkessia. As RBC reports, he was the acting head of the department.
Also in February, investigators carried out searches within the case of Senator Rauf Arashukov against the leadership of the republican Ministry of Internal Affairs and the administration of the Investigation Committee, including Bulatov and the head of the E Center, Betuganov.
On January 30, the senator from Karachay-Cherkessia, Rauf Arashukov, was detained in the Federation Council. On the same day, his father Raul Arashukov, an adviser to the general director of Gazprom Mezhregiongaz and a deputy of the National Assembly of the Karachay-Cherkessia, was arrested at a meeting of Gazprom in St. Petersburg.
Rauf Arashukov is charged with crimes under Part 3 of Art. 210 of the Criminal Code (participation in the criminal community), Part 4 of Art. 309 of the Criminal Code (pressure on the witness), Part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code (murder). According to investigators, Arashukov was involved in the assassinations of Ascha Zhukov, deputy chairman of the public youth movement Adyghe-Khase of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, and adviser to the president of the Karachay-Cherkessia, Frall Shebzukhov, and pressure on the witness in the murder of Zhukov, as well as participation in the criminal community.
Raul Arashukov is accused of committing crimes under Part 3 of Art. 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (creation of a criminal community using its official position), Part 4 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code (fraud). According to the materials of the criminal case, he was involved in the theft of natural gas from PJSC Gazprom for several years.
Rauf and Raul Arashukov have repeatedly became defendants in the investigations of The CrimeRussia.
Russian Senator Detained on Murder Charges in Parliament, Explained
Lawyer: Rauf Arashukov reported income and should remain senator
Russian federal authorities recently detained a number of people who were reportedly linked to Gazprom’s regional subsidiaries, including leaders of an influential clan from Karachaevo-Cherkessiya. Russian Senator Rauf Arashukov was detained at a session of the Federation Council, the Russian parliament’s upper chamber, on January 30 while his father, Raul Arashukov, was taken into custody in St. Petersburg. This is just the beginning of a political purge that may lead to serious turmoil both in the Karachaevo-Cherkessiya region as well as in Russia’s state-run gas giant Gazprom.
The 32-year-old Rauf Arashukov has represented the Karachaevo-Cherkessiya region in the North Caucasus since 2016. Never before has Russian public opinion experienced such a show that included a lawmaker getting detained and handcuffed in front of members of the upper house. Interestingly, Attorney General Yuri Chaika and Federal Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykinaddressed the senators to strip Arashukov of his immunity. It was only a few minutes before the detainment that the Federation Council closed the parliamentary session to the public while Federal Protective Service officers sealed the building hall’s entrances and exits. During a secret meeting, Russian senators voted to strip Arashukov of his legal immunity and agreed to detain him. The lawmaker was charged with orchestrating a criminal group while additionally being accused of killing two people.
Only an hour later, his father Raul Arashukov was detained at a meeting of Gazprom in St. Petersburg, accused of fraud amounting to 30 billion roubles. The illpractice was to last for many years while the younger Arashukov, who had previously worked in Gazprom’s structures in Stavropol and Karachaevo-Cherkessiya, was reportedly involved in such illegal practices. Rauf Arashukov has served as an adviser to the CEO of Gazprom Mezhregiongaz and a deputy of the republican parliament of Karachaevo-Cherkessiya. Since the late 1990s, he has headed many branches of Gazprom Mezhregiongaz, Gazprom’s subsidiary tasked with selling gas to Russian regions. Interestingly enough, a department in Gazprom Mezhregiongaz where the elder Arashukov worked as an adviser to the general direction should write off Chechnya’s debts, worth a total of 9 billion roubles, according to a statement of a court in Grozny.
The Arashukov family is an influential clan in the Russian republic of Karachaevo-Cherkessiya. Arashukov’s involvement in the contract killings has long been known for everyone yet both men managed to flee from responsibility due to their connections in regional security structures, including the republic’s Investigative Committee. This is probably why investigation against them is being carried out by central structures of Russian Investigative Committee and the Federal Security Service (FSB). So far, a series of searches and other investigative activities have been conducted in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Stavropol, Makhachkala, Astrakhan and other Russian cities. In an official statement issued on the evening of January 30, Russian Investigative Committee claimed that the elder Arashukov’s associates may have been involved in the theft of Gazprom’s resources, which is why they are also to be taken into custody. Raul Arashukov is also being investigated for the murder of Boris Khapsirokov, a businessman from the Donetsk region, which allegedly took place in the late 1990s. He may thus face up to 25 years in prison while his son – even life imprisonment.
How to interpret the intention to hit the Arashukov family then? According to one of many theories, Russian federal authorities sought to demonstrate their intention to fight against corrupt local elites. Such was the case of other Russian republics, including Tatarstan and Dagestan. Current detentions may indicate the beginning of a massive purge in the region. It is also said that recent events may fit into a struggle for taking over Gazprom’s financial profits. Once disclosed, a long-term criminal scheme in Gazprom’s regional subsidiaries may hit the company’s CEO Alexei Miller.
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MOSCOW – High-level political purges are gathering pace in Russia. The latest evidence came in late March, with the arrests of Mikhail Abyzov, a former minister for open government affairs and — two days later — Viktor Ishayev, a former Far East minister and ex-governor of Russia’s Khabarovsk region. Unsurprisingly, the arrests of such senior figures is having a chilling effect among the country’s elites.
The authorities have arrested or imprisoned three former federal government ministers and a supporting cast of regional officials, all on corruption or fraud charges. A former economic development minister, Alexei Ulyukayev, is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence. The former head of Russia’s Komi Republic, Vyacheslav Gaizer, is on trial and faces up to 21 years in jail. Alexander Khoroshavin, previously governor of the Sakhalin region, was sentenced to 13 years, while his Kirov region counterpart Nikita Belykh — who led the now-defunct liberal political party SPS — got eight years. And Sen. Rauf Arashukov is under investigation for a range of serious crimes.
High-level purges were relatively rare in the Soviet Union following the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953. Until a few years ago, the same had been true of post-Soviet Russia, although several senior statistics officials were imprisoned for corruption in 2004, after a six-year trial. This brought back memories of an earlier era: From 1918 to 1941, there were eight heads of the statistics service, five of whom were shot between 1937 and 1939, under Stalin’s watch.
True, lower-level purges, dismissals and prosecutions are par for the course in Russia. According to the political analyst Nikolai Petrov, the authorities launch 18 to 20 criminal investigations per year into governors, deputy governors and mayors.
But in the post-Soviet era, former prime ministers, deputy premiers and ministers generally considered themselves more or less safe from this risk. They counted on crony solidarity and assumed that the system would not discredit itself by allowing the arrests of retired high-ranking officials. Even the opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, who was gunned down in central Moscow in 2015, believed that he was in no danger from the state because he was a former deputy prime minister.
Whether or not the state was involved in ordering Nemtsov’s murder, the recent arrests of Abyzov and Ishayev have shattered these assumptions. They signal that Putin’s purge now extends to former members of the federal government, who have appeared in numerous official photographs alongside Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and other members of Russia’s ruling class.
At first glance, these latest arrests would seem to discredit the authorities. After all, Russia’s law enforcement agencies were gathering evidence against Abyzov and Ishayev for years while they continued to serve as ministers. Furthermore, Abyzov’s last position in 2018 was as an adviser to Putin. Are we really to believe that the head of state knew nothing about the business shenanigans (if indeed there were any) of a high-ranking Kremlin official?
Yet public opinion remains indifferent. Most Russians do not see a connection between the prosecution of key figures and the credibility of the authorities. On the contrary, people seem to identify with Putin’s message that the establishment is finally tackling corruption.
But it is the message to Russia’s shaken elites that is more relevant. And that message is straightforward: No one is safe from prosecution, even if — like Abyzov and Ishayev — they have retired from public service and no longer have any influence.
Moreover, selective repression has become harsher. A few years ago, the guilty party would simply be disgraced — as the former head of the Federal Customs Service, Andrei Belyaninov, was when the authorities released a video of their search of his luxury mansion, complete with images of shoeboxes full of dollars. These days, suspects are arrested immediately, especially if Putin is entirely unconcerned about them. This was the case with Ulyukayev and Belykh, who belonged to the group of in-system liberals and Abyzov, who was considered to be a Medvedev man. And if Abyzov’s arrest keeps Medvedev on edge, all the better.
For Putin, reminding Russia’s elites that no one is untouchable is the best way to keep them on their toes. Any sensible people’s commissar serving under Stalin kept a bundle of essentials packed and ready in case of sudden arrest. Putin’s underlings would be well-advised to do the same. Moreover, they should understand that dismissal from their post, far from being the end of an unpleasant episode, may turn out to be just the start of something worse.
The current purges also send a message to Russia’s next generation of officials, namely that inappropriate political behavior or excessive focus on their own business interests will be punished. Purges played nearly the same role under Stalin. Back then, fresh-faced people’s commissars and their deputies knew that they had drawn a winning ticket when their former bosses were arrested (or worse). But the young commissars also understood that in this state-sanctioned lottery, their ticket might just as easily become an arrest warrant.
Similarly, Putin prefers to have new technocrats in ministerial and gubernatorial positions. They are loyal officials aged between 40 and 50, preferably unconnected to any local elites, driven to meet their targets and with no ambition to tackle political issues.
These newcomers are already scared by the continuing purges and will not undertake anything without the leadership’s approval. That will put any genuine modernization in Russia on hold — just as Putin intends.
Andrei Kolesnikov is a senior fellow and the chair of the Russian Domestic Politics and Political Institutions Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center. ©Project Syndicate, 2019
“President” Donald Trump has a protective cocoon around him. For whatever reason, those around him tend to protect him. Nowhere has this been more readily apparent than in the lawyers who worked at the White House and the Department of Justice. Government attorneys owe their allegiance and dedication to the United States of America and are not hired by, or on the private payroll, of any president. That is how it has worked for 230 years, but it apparently has broken down.