The Karlovy Vary kleptocracy guide

Jan 31 2017

When communicating with Czechs we often hear that Karlovy Vary is a Russian city, and that the population is nearly 90% Russian. The locals have been calling this city “Ivanovka” for a long time, so The Municipal Scanner project decided to investigate how true this nickname is.

The project team checked all the addresses of Karlovy Vary through the Czech real estate registry and found the owners. Some objects are owned by legal entities and required additional verification from the Czech trade registry.

Here are our findings. Only about 50-60% of the city is Russian rather than 90%. Many of the names, in fact, are Russified versions of other nationalities, such as Ukrainians, Azerbaijanis, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz. The project also looked into citizens with political connections, state contacts, and corruption charges.

Here’s the alternative guide to the city.

During the checks, the project team found that some real estate owners in Karlovy Vary also own property in Prague, Marianske Lazne, Rimov and other cities. We mapped them as well. In total, there are 238 objects on the map, which belong to 132 owners. These objects can be a house, part of the house, hotel or apartment. Each object has a link to the owner profile.

There are very different people in our guide.

The Mun. Scanner sent a statement to the prosecutor’s office regarding the Russian officials and deputies, who, in their opinion, are breaking the law and will update you as news comes in.

Russia

Alexander Postrigan – Head of the Klin district, a region of Moscow for 22 years (1992-2014). The Klin district is a hub for the gaming industry in Moscow’s suburbs. Igor Chaika, son of the General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation, promised to turn Klin into the “Salzburg of Moscow Region”. Postrigan has owned the company since 2006 and also owns an apartment in Karlovy Vary. His daughter and son in law have also acquired the four-star hotel “Venus” in Karlovy Vary. It was also found that their Czech business went ahead and in 2014 acquired a gorgeous resort in Slovenia, consisting of 4 four-star hotels.

Svetlana Tyagacheva – the wife of the former president of the Russian Olympic Committee and the head of the urban settlement Dedenevo of Moscow Region owns and operates a Czech company, which has an apartment in Karlovy Vary on its balance. According to Russian legislation, Tyagacheva violates anti-corruption restrictions.

A deputy of the Krasnodar Region’s Legislative Assembly of the United Russia party Alexander Fendrickov has been in the regional parliament since 2007. He and his wife bought their first apartment in Karlovy Vary in 2012 and a second in 2014. However, he did not indicate real estate in the Czech Republic in his anti-corruption declarations of 2014 and 2015.

The Torosyan brothers, Igor and George, own three multi-story buildings in the most expensive district of Karlovy Vary through a legal entity. Igor Torosyan is Chairman of the local branch of A Just Russia in the Tuapse region of Krasnodar Region and previously was a deputy in the Legislative Assembly. Georgy Torosyan is the deputy of the district council of the Tuapse district in the Krasnodar Region since 2008 from the party “United Russia”.

David Adamia’s family (Adamia is the Head of the St. Petersburg Governor’s Office) owns two apartments in Karlovy Vary. Adamiya transgressed the law, since he is already working as civil servant but continued to own and operate the Czech legal entities.

Former vice-governor of St. Petersburg Vasily Kichedzhi now acting as Rector of the Academy Stieglitz, owns an apartment next to the Old Town Square in Prague. He also is the owner of the hotel in Prague 4.

A United Russia deputy of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly Igor Vysotsky owns an apartment through his wife in the most expensive district of Karlovy Vary.

The Chairman of the Transport Infrastructure Development Committee of St. Petersburg Sergei Harlashkin owns an apartment in Karlovy Vary.

In 2013, a member of the Federation Council from United Russia, the head of the Interregional Coordination Council Vyacheslav Timchenko prudently transferred his Czech company to his daughter, who became the new owner. The company holds a cottage in the south of the Czech Republic on its balance sheet.

Vila Lutzow (built in 1854) in Karlovy Vary belongs to Gennady Lakhov, who headed the transport department of Rosvooruzhenie in the 90s.

Artem Butov, the head of a group of military factories in the Tambov region, along with his relatives, owns an apartment in Karlovy Vary and Prague.

Iraida Landarenko and Tatiana Poroskun own apartments in Karlovy Vary. Both women are involved in the case of fraud for an interpreter for the judicial department in Moscow and the Moscow region. Iraida Landarenko, arrested in absentia, is wanted.

Abesalom Gulordava owns apartment in Karlovy Vary. Gulordava is a figurant of the criminal case of fraud with government contracts in Moscow, is on the international wanted list.

There is an apartment In Karlovy Vary owned by Yuri Bakanov, Chief Engineer at “Kubangazprom” whom the media called the author of schemes of Tsapkov gang money laundering in the village of Kushchevskaya.

Alexei Levin, who opened Putin’s monuments in 2015, is co-owner of the four-star spa hotel in Karlovy Vary. Another co-owner is the daughter of the late chief of the Moscow metro, Gaev.

The “Russian village” is legendary place in Karlovy Vary. There were many scandals connected with this place, as the owner cut down relict Slavkov Forest. In 2010, the owner changed and Russian-language media in Czech modestly wrote: “Now land has been passed into the hands of VikaS Trade, s.r.o., which is owned by the 74-year-old Muscovite Alla Smirnova registered in the “Russian village”.  80-year-old Alla Smirnova is the wife of Conrad Smirnov, KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov assistant. And her sons worked for a long time in team with Sergei Stepashin (director of the FSB, the Interior Ministry, the chairman of the Chamber of Accounts), engaged in the official Putin residence renovating in the early 2000s.

Ukraine

Several current and former deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine from the Party of Regions were detected In Karlovy Vary: Igor Sharov owns 4 apartments in Prague and Karlovy Vary, Vladimir Oleynik, who is wanted in Ukraine as well as Yuri Voropaev, Irina Berezhnaya.

Volodymyr Kozak, ex-Party of Regions MP and ex-Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine has an apartment In Prague.

Sergey Kharchuk, the deputy of Kiev city council from the “Self-Help” faction, owns an apartment in Karlovy Vary. However, he has not indicated ownership of the Czech company in his declaration.

Former Prosecutor of the Crimea Republic Vyacheslav Pavlov resigned at the beginning of the annexation and bought a stake in the Czech company in March 2015, which owns the hotel “Saint Michael” in the suburb of Karlovy Vary.

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani elite have a long history of settling in Karlovy Vary. Even in 2012, OCCRP wrote about the diaspora’s assets in this city. A house that formerly belonged to the youngest daughter of Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev is now owned by Mahir Rafiev – the chief of the Main Department of taxpayer service of the Azerbaijan Taxes Ministry.

Arif Pashayev, the father of Ilham Aliyev’s wife, owns an apartment and hotels in Karlovy Vary.

There are Apartments in Karlovy Vary owned by the Pashazadeh brothers. Allahshukur Pashazadeh is Grand Mufti of the Caucasus, Javanshir Pashazadeh is Azerbaijani MP since 2005. He is a member of the Standing Committee on Human Rights.

The Aliyev brothers own apartments in Karlovy Vary. Adil Aliyev is a member of parliament since 2005, Muarram Aliyev is Presidential Adviser on Defence of Azerbaijan.

Kazakhstan

Relatives of the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, put down roots in Karlovy Vary long ago. Kairat Boranbaev and Zelina Katranova own assets. According to publications in the media, Nazarbayev has repeatedly taken vacations in Karlovy Vary. Nazarbayev invited Leonid Kuchma to rest at the villa “Ahlan” after the “Orange Revolution”

Others:

The former Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan, leader of the party “Ar-Namys” Felix Kulov left marks In Karlovy Vary.

Not only political but also economic swindlers find refuge in the Czech Republic. For example, Felix Ikonnikov – a famous member of the Russian financial pyramid MMM-2011, owns a house in the tourist center of Karlovy Vary.

More information on the Municipal Scanner project could be found here.

 

The project team checked all the addresses of Karlovy Vary through the Czech real estate registry and found the owners. Some objects are owned by legal entities and required additional verification from the Czech trade registry.

Here are our findings. Only about 50-60% of the city is Russian rather than 90%. Many of the names, in fact, are Russified versions of other nationalities, such as Ukrainians, Azerbaijanis, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz. The project also looked into citizens with political connections, state contacts, and corruption charges.

Here’s the alternative guide to the city.

During the checks, the project team found that some real estate owners in Karlovy Vary also own property in Prague, Marianske Lazne, Rimov and other cities. We mapped them as well. In total, there are 238 objects on the map, which belong to 132 owners. These objects can be a house, part of the house, hotel or apartment. Each object has a link to the owner profile.

There are very different people in our guide.

The Mun. Scanner sent a statement to the prosecutor’s office regarding the Russian officials and deputies, who, in their opinion, are breaking the law and will update you as news comes in.

Russia

Alexander Postrigan – Head of the Klin district, a region of Moscow for 22 years (1992-2014). The Klin district is a hub for the gaming industry in Moscow’s suburbs. Igor Chaika, son of the General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation, promised to turn Klin into the “Salzburg of Moscow Region”. Postrigan has owned the company since 2006 and also owns an apartment in Karlovy Vary. His daughter and son in law have also acquired the four-star hotel “Venus” in Karlovy Vary. It was also found that their Czech business went ahead and in 2014 acquired a gorgeous resort in Slovenia, consisting of 4 four-star hotels.

Svetlana Tyagacheva – the wife of the former president of the Russian Olympic Committee and the head of the urban settlement Dedenevo of Moscow Region owns and operates a Czech company, which has an apartment in Karlovy Vary on its balance. According to Russian legislation, Tyagacheva violates anti-corruption restrictions.

A deputy of the Krasnodar Region’s Legislative Assembly of the United Russia party Alexander Fendrickov has been in the regional parliament since 2007. He and his wife bought their first apartment in Karlovy Vary in 2012 and a second in 2014. However, he did not indicate real estate in the Czech Republic in his anti-corruption declarations of 2014 and 2015.

The Torosyan brothers, Igor and George, own three multi-story buildings in the most expensive district of Karlovy Vary through a legal entity. Igor Torosyan is Chairman of the local branch of A Just Russia in the Tuapse region of Krasnodar Region and previously was a deputy in the Legislative Assembly. Georgy Torosyan is the deputy of the district council of the Tuapse district in the Krasnodar Region since 2008 from the party “United Russia”.

David Adamia’s family (Adamia is the Head of the St. Petersburg Governor’s Office) owns two apartments in Karlovy Vary. Adamiya transgressed the law, since he is already working as civil servant but continued to own and operate the Czech legal entities.

Former vice-governor of St. Petersburg Vasily Kichedzhi now acting as Rector of the Academy Stieglitz, owns an apartment next to the Old Town Square in Prague. He also is the owner of the hotel in Prague 4.

A United Russia deputy of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly Igor Vysotsky owns an apartment through his wife in the most expensive district of Karlovy Vary.

The Chairman of the Transport Infrastructure Development Committee of St. Petersburg Sergei Harlashkin owns an apartment in Karlovy Vary.

In 2013, a member of the Federation Council from United Russia, the head of the Interregional Coordination Council Vyacheslav Timchenko prudently transferred his Czech company to his daughter, who became the new owner. The company holds a cottage in the south of the Czech Republic on its balance sheet.

Vila Lutzow (built in 1854) in Karlovy Vary belongs to Gennady Lakhov, who headed the transport department of Rosvooruzhenie in the 90s.

Artem Butov, the head of a group of military factories in the Tambov region, along with his relatives, owns an apartment in Karlovy Vary and Prague.

Iraida Landarenko and Tatiana Poroskun own apartments in Karlovy Vary. Both women are involved in the case of fraud for an interpreter for the judicial department in Moscow and the Moscow region. Iraida Landarenko, arrested in absentia, is wanted.

Abesalom Gulordava owns apartment in Karlovy Vary. Gulordava is a figurant of the criminal case of fraud with government contracts in Moscow, is on the international wanted list.

There is an apartment In Karlovy Vary owned by Yuri Bakanov, Chief Engineer at “Kubangazprom” whom the media called the author of schemes of Tsapkov gang money laundering in the village of Kushchevskaya.

Alexei Levin, who opened Putin’s monuments in 2015, is co-owner of the four-star spa hotel in Karlovy Vary. Another co-owner is the daughter of the late chief of the Moscow metro, Gaev.

The “Russian village” is legendary place in Karlovy Vary. There were many scandals connected with this place, as the owner cut down relict Slavkov Forest. In 2010, the owner changed and Russian-language media in Czech modestly wrote: “Now land has been passed into the hands of VikaS Trade, s.r.o., which is owned by the 74-year-old Muscovite Alla Smirnova registered in the “Russian village”.  80-year-old Alla Smirnova is the wife of Conrad Smirnov, KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov assistant. And her sons worked for a long time in team with Sergei Stepashin (director of the FSB, the Interior Ministry, the chairman of the Chamber of Accounts), engaged in the official Putin residence renovating in the early 2000s.

Ukraine

Several current and former deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine from the Party of Regions were detected In Karlovy Vary: Igor Sharov owns 4 apartments in Prague and Karlovy Vary, Vladimir Oleynik, who is wanted in Ukraine as well as Yuri Voropaev, Irina Berezhnaya.

Volodymyr Kozak, ex-Party of Regions MP and ex-Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine has an apartment In Prague.

Sergey Kharchuk, the deputy of Kiev city council from the “Self-Help” faction, owns an apartment in Karlovy Vary. However, he has not indicated ownership of the Czech company in his declaration.

Former Prosecutor of the Crimea Republic Vyacheslav Pavlov resigned at the beginning of the annexation and bought a stake in the Czech company in March 2015, which owns the hotel “Saint Michael” in the suburb of Karlovy Vary.

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani elite have a long history of settling in Karlovy Vary. Even in 2012, OCCRP wrote about the diaspora’s assets in this city. A house that formerly belonged to the youngest daughter of Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev is now owned by Mahir Rafiev – the chief of the Main Department of taxpayer service of the Azerbaijan Taxes Ministry.

Arif Pashayev, the father of Ilham Aliyev’s wife, owns an apartment and hotels in Karlovy Vary.

There are Apartments in Karlovy Vary owned by the Pashazadeh brothers. Allahshukur Pashazadeh is Grand Mufti of the Caucasus, Javanshir Pashazadeh is Azerbaijani MP since 2005. He is a member of the Standing Committee on Human Rights.

The Aliyev brothers own apartments in Karlovy Vary. Adil Aliyev is a member of parliament since 2005, Muarram Aliyev is Presidential Adviser on Defence of Azerbaijan.

Kazakhstan

Relatives of the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, put down roots in Karlovy Vary long ago. Kairat Boranbaev and Zelina Katranova own assets. According to publications in the media, Nazarbayev has repeatedly taken vacations in Karlovy Vary. Nazarbayev invited Leonid Kuchma to rest at the villa “Ahlan” after the “Orange Revolution”

Others:

The former Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan, leader of the party “Ar-Namys” Felix Kulov left marks In Karlovy Vary.

Not only political but also economic swindlers find refuge in the Czech Republic. For example, Felix Ikonnikov – a famous member of the Russian financial pyramid MMM-2011, owns a house in the tourist center of Karlovy Vary.

More information on the Municipal Scanner project could be found here.

 

Call for Submissions – The Kremlin’s Influence Quarterly vol. 3

Oct 26 2020

The Free Russia Foundation invites submissions to The Kremlins Influence Quarterly, a journal that explores and analyzes manifestations of the malign influence of Putin’s Russia in Europe.

We understand malign influence in the European context as a specific type of influence that directly or indirectly subverts and undermines European values and democratic institutions. We follow the Treaty on European Union in understanding European values that are the following: human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. Democratic institutions are guardians of European values, and among them we highlight representative political parties; free and fair elections; an impartial justice system; free, independent and pluralistic media; and civil society.

Your contribution to The Kremlins Influence Quarterly would focus on one European country from the EU, Eastern Partnership or Western Balkans, and on one particular area where you want to explore Russian malign influence: politics, diplomacy, military domain, business, media, civil society, academia, religion, crime, or law.

Each chapter in The Kremlins Influence Quarterly should be around 5 thousand words including footnotes. The Free Russia Foundation offers an honorarium for contributions accepted for publication in the journal.

If you are interested in submitting a chapter, please send us a brief description of your chapter and its title (250 words) to the following e-mail address: info@4freerussia.org. Please put The Kremlin’s Influence Quarterly as a subject line of your message.

Free Russia Foundation’s Press Release on Submission of Article 15 Communication to the International Criminal Court

Oct 06 2020

On 21 September 2020, the Free Russia Foundation submitted a Communication to the International Criminal Court Prosecutor’s Office (in The Hague, Netherlands) seeking accountability for Crimean and Russian authorities concerning international crimes perpetrated during Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea. The Communication was prepared in cooperation with Global Rights Compliance and Center for Civil Liberties and is based on a focused inquiry conducted over the past year. In our inquiry, we documented crimes as part of a systematic, planned attack by the Russian state against civilians and groups in Crimea in order to discourage them from opposing the illegal occupation of Crimea and to force their departure from the peninsula. Crimes against civilians included unlawful arrests, beatings, torture, enforced disappearances, and other inhumane acts causing severe mental and/or physical pain. In particular, the crimes targeted the Crimean Tatars, a native ethnic group who had only recently returned to their homeland, having previously been forcefully and brutally displaced by the Soviet Union in 1944.

One of the principal coercive acts was the illegal detention and concomitant violence before, during, and after the imprisonment of political prisoners. Most of those detained were arrested by Russian and Crimean authorities on terrorism charges, but it was their legal, pro-Ukrainian advocacy that led to their imprisonment. In addition, trials of those arbitrarily detained were conducted in wholesale disregard of their fair trial rights. For example, some of those illegally imprisoned were denied a speedy trial, access to independent lawyers, and the opportunity to defend themselves against their arrest in a courtroom.

In order to force those illegally detained to confess to crimes they did not commit, Russian and Crimean authorities also perpetrated acts of torture and cruel or degrading treatment, the levying of additional charges against them, even more inhumane prison conditions, denial of communications with their families and threats made against them, enforced disappearances, and even, in at least one case, a mock execution.

Other inhumane acts include “punitive psychiatry” and the denial of adequate prison conditions, including the following: (i) feeding people inedible food or, at times, no food at all; (ii) facing severe overcrowding in prisons; (iii) denial of regular water supply; (iv) threats of assault against them by prison cellmates; and (v) adding pork to food – prohibited for observant Muslims. Further, medical attention was systematically inadequate or denied for many individuals.

Concerning acts of torture, it was perpetrated by different Russian authorities, including the FSB. Allegations include the use of electric shocks in an effort to get an accused to confess. One was beaten in the head, kidneys, arms and legs with an iron pipe. With another, fingers were broken. Still another endured spinal bruises and having a plastic bag placed over his head to the point of unconsciousness. Further, threats of sexual violence against a detained man were made. Murder as well. Hands were broken, teeth were knocked out in still another.

Trials were largely held behind closed doors for illegitimate reasons, and many of the witnesses were secret not only to the public but also to the Accused. Further, credible allegations exist that, at times, there were FSB or other agents in the room, silently instructing witnesses what to say and how the judges should rule. This adds credence to words, according to the Kyiv Post, heard by Arsen Dzhepparov from a senior FSB lieutenant who stated “I will prove by all possible – and impossible – means that [an Accused is] guilty – even if he isn’t guilty”.

Concerning the crime of persecution, nearly all of these deprivations of fundamental rights were carried out with discriminatory intent. Specifically, these groups were targeted due to their political view – namely, by peacefully opposing the illegal occupation of their country. Some were targeted on ethnic grounds or religious grounds on the basis of their Crimean Tatar background.

War crimes, another group of crimes punished at the ICC, were also perpetrated in addition to or in the alternative to the crimes against humanity. This includes the crime of torture, outrages against personal dignity, unlawful confinement, wilfully depriving protected persons of the rights of a fair and regular trial, and the transfer of the occupying power of parts of its population into the territory it occupies or the deportation of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory.

All these crimes had the ultimate objective of the criminal enterprise – the removal of pro-Ukrainian elements out of Crimea and the annexation of Crimea into the Russian Federation without opposition, including the installation of pro-Russian elements, which include the emigration of more than 70,000 Russians, the illegal imposition of Russian law in the occupied territory, forcing Russian nationality on many Crimeans, and the appropriation of public property.

Ultimately, we hope that all the information gathered by the ICC in the context of its preliminary investigation will lead the ICC to investigate mid- to high-level Russian and Crimean officials on this basis. The international community expects responsible global leadership that follows the rule of law and expects it – no matter the situation – to be respected, especially from a state that is a permanent member of the UN Security Council. When this fails to happen, the international community must demand accountability. We hope that an investigation can be opened and responsible officials of the Russian Federation will be investigated. After an investigation that conforms to international best practices, responsible persons should be charged with the systematic perpetration of international crimes.

Novichok Use Implicates Putin’s Government in Navalny’s Poisoning

Sep 02 2020

Today, the German government has announced that Russian pro-democracy leader Alexey Navalny was poisoned by Novichok. Novichok is a deadly nerve agent developed by the Soviet government chemical weapons program and used on several occasions by the Russian government to kill its critics in the recent years.

To restate the obvious, Novichok is a poison that can only be accessed with the authority of the Kremlin. Therefore, today’s announcement by German officials  directly implicates the Kremlin and Putin in the high-profile assassination attempt on Navalny.

The choice of Novichok was not just a means  to silence Mr. Navalny, but a loud, brazen and menacing message sent by Putin to the world: dare to criticize me, and you may lose your life.

The announcement by the German government of its intent to formally notify the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (‘OPCW’) of the use of Novichok against Navalny is a meek bureaucratic half-measure that fails to acknowledge the extraordinary threat to human life posed by Putin’s regime everywhere. Taken together with Angela Merkel’s promise earlier this week to help Putin finish his Nord Stream 2 pipeline despite an international outcry amounts to condoning the poisoning and normalizing it into a new modus operandi where Putin’s murders go unpunished. Free Russia Foundation urges the leaders of the EU, its Member States and the U.S. Government to take an urgent and drastic action to punish the perpetrators of this heinous crime not only to serve justice, but to establish a powerful deterrent against new attacks by Putin’s regime globally.

Free Russia Foundation Statement on Kremlin’s Interference in Elections in Georgia

Aug 26 2020

We are deeply concerned with information recently distributed by the well-respected authoritative source Center “Dossier.” According to “Dossier,” the Kremlin is using Russian political expert Sergey Mikheev and consulting company “Politsecrets” to manipulate Georgian society, distribute disinformation and anti-democratic narratives, undermine Georgia’s Western aspirations, and interfere in free and fair elections in Georgia scheduled for October 2020.

More

Free Russia Foundation Calls for Investigation into Alexey Navalny’s Poisoning

Aug 20 2020

Free Russia Foundation is gravely concerned about the life and safety of Alexey Navalny. More