The billion-dollar lake

The officials and entrepreneurs in St-Petersburg and surroundings love picturesque landscapes of the region covered with forests and dotted with small lakes. So they do their best to privatize the lakes and close the roads to the forests, as Alexandrina Yelagina reports.
22.11.2016
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The Nakhimovskoye Lake, just one-hour drive from St-Petersburg, is famous for its ski-resort, luxurious beaches and... the “big-wheels” who have rendered it their personal heaven.

The locals call the lake's banks “the Prosecutor's lakefront” after the investigation in 2010 revealed the land plots there had belonged to the former chief of the North-Western Federal District's Prosecutor Sergei Bednichenko.

After these revelations, he had sold the plot but its new owners continued construction works there.

In 2013, the lake residents revolted, and their protest was backed by the local forestry department. They had filed 16 lawsuits demanding free access to the lakeshore and surrounding forests. The court ruled in their favor but the ruling has not been implemented until now.

The lakeshore forest was cut down, and the houses of the “big wheels” keep mushrooming around the lake, says a public activist Irina Andrianova.

Most house-owners are wealthy businessmen
Most house-owners are wealthy businessmen
This is difficult to find the names of these houses' owners as none of them has been entered into the registry of the  state property agency Rosreestr.

Former neighbors

Currently, it is impossible to make it to the lakeshore of Nakhimovskoye by foot.  In 2011, the prosecutors ordered to grant access to the waterfront but nothing has changed until now.

Since 2010, the partners in the Creative Ltd, Andrei Barinov and Anna Abramchik own two land plots - 5,000 sq m in total. One more firm owned by Barinov, the NZK-SPb Ltd, sells townhouses in the Leningrad region. The owner of the NZK-Leningrad Region, Sergei Ilchenko, also bought a 2,200-sq m land plot by the lake in 2011.

St-Pete's businessman Dmitry Stolov, founder of the Severnaya Stolitsa Ltd, owns 6,200 sq m of land nearby. Stolov has been the owner of 41 firms since 2002.

His business companion Vadim Antonenko also lives there.

According to the Rosreestr data, he had purchased his land from Valery Ledovskikh, likely the CEO of the Gazpromneft Regional Sales company.

In September 2016, Stolov sold 1,200 sq m of land to David Rabinovich, a son of the CEO of the STG-Eco company Alexander. David is a graduate of the British Charterhouse school and the Surrey University and has been a co-owner of two companies in Russia since.

One more plot of 2,300 sq m belongs to Sergei Shpunin since 2015. He is the owner of the VENDEX group of companies.

Before him, the land was owned by Shpunin's companion Dmitry Gromov, the VENDEX Director General. Shpunin also owns one more land plot of 11,400 sq m since 2013.

Dmitry Khokhlov, a deputy chairman of the St-Petersburg city and Leningrad region's Court of arbitration, owns 2,000 sq m since 2009 (he obtained a credit in 2009 to buy it).

Olga Khodorova, deputy director of the Obukhovsky Zavod plant owns two land plots there, 2,700 sq m in total.

Ecologically aware

Premium-class cottage village Liikola Club's advertising
At the southern end of the lake the Liikola Club premium-class cottage village has recently emerged. The prices for the plots and houses there hover at around $416,000. The village features its own beach, heliport and even the healthy food farms.
The prices for the plots and houses there hover at around $416,000
The prices for the plots and houses there hover at around $416,000    

The village was built with participation of the investment-construction FreeDom Haus Ltd group currently managed by Alexei Bochnev.  Viktoria Novikova owns 51% of its shares, Vadim Novikov owns 49%.

Vadim Novikov has also been its co-owner along with Andrei Menshugin and Anna Kunninen (wife of the project's designer).

Formally, the lands where the houses had been built, are designed for agricultural purposes and owned by the Liikola non-commercial partnership.

In 2008, Alexei Bochnev owned the Petrovsky Ostrov Ltd, a subsidiary of the Novikov's PremierStroi company. The Petrovsky Ostrov has reportedly been connected to the Baltiiskaya Kommertsiya JSC by a billionaire Boris Prakhin. The both companies are registered in the same address.

In June 2016, construction of the marine started at Nakhimovskoye Lake. The neighborhood promises to be elite: two land plots have been purchased by a businessman Dmitry Nevedomsky, a co-owner of a restaurant chain and other companies (with his partners used to be billionaire and then-governor of St-Petersburg Dmitry Mikhalchenko, retired FSB officers and other “dignitaries”).

Another house and a landplot has been bought by Yulia Sorokaletova. In 2013, she owned the FL Retail Ltd company (now owned by Cyprian offshore Rive Gauche Group Ltd) which is a co-owner of the perfume empire of Pavel and Larisa Karaban.

Finally, one of the neighborhood residents is Sergei Kostyrya, a chief engineer of the construction works of the bridge between the Russky Island and the mainland in the Far East.  He is also a co-owner and CEO of several companies.

One of them, Stroiproektservis, has been managed by Sergei Ivushkin, whose (perhaps) sister-in-law Natalia Ivushkina is a wife of the member of Novokuznetsk city council from the United Russia ruling party.

Influential neighbors

One more influential citizen of St-Petersburg, Vadim Malyk, had bought a house at Nakhimovskoye Lake. Malyk is a former director of the Leningrad regional electric grid company, LOESK. Olga Malyk owns one more landplot there.

In 2015, Dmitry Ozersky, the owner of two fishery production companies, also settled in the village
In 2015, Dmitry Ozersky, the owner of two fishery production companies, also settled in the village   

Tatyana Tubalova bought a landplot from Andrei Lokshin, CEO of the Lenkhimstroi JSC,  in 2013.

In 2015, Dmitry Ozersky, the owner of two fishery production companies, also settled in the village, as well as Oleg Kovalchuk, another St-Petersburg's dignitary, did.

Ovsyanoe

The Ovsyanoe Ltd has been registered in the lakeshore village Ovsyanoe. Its founder Dmitry Mikhalchenko, a short-lived St-Pete's governor, was arrested in spring 2016 for liqueur trafficking. His company StoRent Ltd owns one of the plots there.

According to the Open Lakeshore public movement, the head of the state-run (via the Federal Guard Service) ATEKS company Andrei Kaminov and Mikhalchenko's business partner lived in the village in 2013.

Among other villagers, there are Ivan Kirienko and Andrei Berezin, the co-owners of the  dozen of companies and members of the governor's close circle. There were rumors they had financed the governor's election campaign.

One of the companies affiliated with Berezin is the Euroinvest Holding. The holding buys the abandoned agricultural lands in the city vicinities and resells them to developers.

In 2011, the Euroinvest was involved in a corruption scandal over the Oboronservis company belonged to the Defense Ministry's officials. The Oboronservis owners had been accused of massive illegal land speculations then.

Nikolai Taskin, former director of the Directorate for construction in North-Western  Federal District owned by the Presidential Administration, has registered a 3,600-sq-m landplot at Nakhimovskoye. Taskin has now been a representative of the Inteks construction company working on development of St-Petersburg's transport infrastructure.

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