Corruption Weekly: October 30 - November 3

Russiangate publishes digest of the most important media investigations.

The Kaliningrad news website revealed on October 30 that the Kaliningrad ex-governor’s team had acquired assets in an elite manor settlement in Sinyavino.

The land plots the Kaliningrad elite purchased are right next to the property bought by Ilya Eliseev’s Dar Foundation. According to the Anti-Corruption Foundation, Dar is just a storehouse for the wealth of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

On November 2, Open Russia published an article co-written with Anya Sarang, the president of Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice (deemed ‘foreign agent’ in Russia) and Alexei Knorre, a junior researcher at the Institute for the Rule of Law. They spoke of a survey where those detained for drug crimes spoke of their experience of bribing the police.

The smallest bribes come from those detained for marijuana or hashish (21.000 rubles), the largest are for cocaine (60.000 rubles). The city plays a role in the amount: the bigger it is, the heftier the bribe. Offering money immediately seems the cheapest choice. Almost half the time the policemen were the ones to first offer their services for money.

"They were strongly refusing to take the bribe for about five seconds, then agreed. They gave a precious advice in the end: to not walk around with drugs, especially in the city center. They gave me a ride to the subway, so that other cops would not stop me, and gave me back my amphetamine - that surprised me," one of the interviewees said.

The authors of the study believe that corruption and drug abuse can only be eradicated if drug trafficking is regulated by the health services rather than law enforcement. Decriminalization would be another important step when it comes to the use and storage of substances without intention to sell.

On the same day, Dozhd made a story about Vladimir Putin's first cousin once removed, Mikhail Shelomov, previously dubbed by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) as one of the president’s alleged “proxies”. The TV channel found out that last year Shelomov made an average of 5.5 million ($94.280) rubles daily. Meanwhile, other people in similar positions with Sovkomflot Group earn 42.000 a month at the most. Shelomov lives in the outskirts of St. Petersburg.

Another Putin’s relative owns a villa on the premises of the Sochi Rus Sanatorium for the Presidential Administration. The four-story house and land are worth 200 million rubles ($3.4m).

Shelomov’s companies have owned the shares of Rossiya Bank and Sogaz insurance company since 2004. OCCRP estimated his fortune at $573 million.

The next day, November 3, the television station issued another report on the Putin family. The author of the story found out that there are two village houses in the Tver region: the president's mother grew up in one of them, and his parents lived in the other one when they were young. One of the buildings is empty, but FSO (Federal Protective Service) officers look after it. Shelomov owns the other one.

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