Who is in the game?

How Shoigu & Co profit from patriotism and extreme sports
Russian Defense ministry for the fourth year in a row supports Ksenia Shoigu’s business partners, preparing tracks for the military-sporting games The Heroes Race and The Heroes Battle. The ministry provides military hardware and produces documentaries about the game with participation of the minister Sergei Shoigu. The ministry’s officials have even founded the private companies dealing with organization of those games. Anastasia Khlopkova dug up information about who is in the game now.

Shoigu & partners

The Red Square. The Defense minister Sergei Shoigu passes by the cathedral’s domes in an open limousine. The minister crosses himself. Now the Red Square from the eagle’s eye view. Zooming in. The banners “The Heroes Race”.

This is the opening of the 40-minute documentary about the Heroes Race project presented in February 2017. The ministry did not disclose what was the film’s production costs.

The Heroes Race is a military-sporting game (team obstacle chase) launched in 2013. Since 2016, the game has been conducted in 20 cities around the country. Recently, the Heroes Battle (simulated combat with the use of laser blasters and real combat equipment) was launched.

The races have been conducted at the firing range of the Tamanskaya motorized infantry division.

The games have been organized by the Heroes League which describes itself as a unique team staging the federal-level sports projects for the “most active and advanced social levels of the society”.

Ksenia Shoigu

The principal investor has been the executive director of the Prosperity foundation Yuri Novozhilov (he is also a head of the Heroes Race’s steering committee). The idea of the game belongs to the businessman and a European jiu-jitsu champion Gleb Yun.

Even before 2013, Yun opened a boys fighter club The Gymnasium School of Heroes. Yuri Novozhilov brought his son there. Later, Ksenia Shoigu got acquainted with the club. She became the Heroes Race’s co-founder.

The project has been supported by the Sberbank, Rosneft, Gazprom and RZD. This year, the Ahmat Kadyrov Foundation joined the list of the sponsors. In Chechnya, the competition is planned on May 13 with the Kadyrov foundation to award the winners with money and a new Mercedes of Е-class.

In the Heroes Battle some 200 people participate, each of them has to pay up to 6,000 rubles (nearly $100) for the place in a platoon. During three years, the project has been seen by one million spectators.

Sports order

The pilot race was organized in 2013 and it was judicially formalized in 2014, when Denis Annikov, Gleb Yun and Milos Pajic created a non-commercial organization The Heroes Race.  

In December 2016, the NCO founded the Heroes Race Ltd headed by Denis Annikov. He and Oleg Krishevich registered the Heroes Race- franchising Ltd in May 2016.

The Heroes Race signed four state contracts in June 2016 - April 2017. The first contract (3.5 mln rub) the NCO signed with the Mosgortrans state enterprise. In 2016, the EKSAR insurance company belonging to the VEB bank paid 300,000 rub for participation. In March 2017 the NCO received 7.9 mln rub from the Moscow region’s main department of social communications. In April, the Kalashnikov holding granted the Heroes Race sponsorship of 6.7 mln rub.

In June 2015, the Mosgortrans transferred 4.8 mln rub to the Sinergia Ltd for participation on the event.

The Sinergia (est 2013) has nothing to do with the sporting events but specializes on property sales. It belongs to Denis Annikov, Gleb Yun and the Tetis Capital Ltd (owned by the Globus Capital JSV).

In turn, the Globus Capital belongs to he Vektor Ltd, International Financial Club bank and Oksana Sekretareva. The Financial Club comprises six companies, mostly founded by the “mass” founders. Its chair of the board Igor Antonov used to work as a chair of the boards in the Vozrozhdenie bank and the Rosbank.

Battle, Kalashnikov, Galustyan

Denis Annikov has been an owner of two companies, The Heroes Race and Sinergia.

In September 2015, Annikov signed a cooperation agreement woth the head of the TsSKA club Mikhail Baryshev (since 2016, he is a member of the Sports ministry’s board).


Head of the Heroes Race Denis Annikov, chief of the TsSKA Mikhail Baryshev signing a cooperation agreement


In March 2016, Annikov joined the Moscow region’s Federation of the military-tactic games as a co-founder, along with the first deputy chair of the DOSAAF (Voluntary Association for Assistance to Army, Air Force and Navy).

Galustyan said he had asked Sergei Shoigu directly to support his Federation of the military-tactic games. The minister responded positively.

In August 2016, the Heroes Race and the Federation of the military-tactic games signed a cooperation agreement. The partners immediately conducted the Heroes Battle.

In December 2016, the Kalashnikov Holding and the Federation of the military-tactic games agreed to jointly develop the modern civilian-purpose firing equipment for the military games.

In April 2017, the Kalashnikov supported the Heroes Race with 6.7 mln rub.

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