A few weeks ago, the Helsinki-based Mega magazine published an investigation into the activities of charitable foundations associated with Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska. According to the newspaper, the organizations affiliated with the latter allegedly withdrew almost 645.9 million rubles from the aluminum holding Rusal. The refutation actually became only an additional confirmation of the material.
Oleg Deripaska, a prominent Russian businessman, who owns the aluminum holding Rusal, attempted to refute an article published in the Finnish edition of Mega and devoted to the activities of charitable foundations associated with it. As follows from the publication, Deripaska did not just transfer control over the holding to American managers. Last year alone, organizations associated with the businessman - the School of New Generation scientific and methodological center, the Rassvet Foundation for the Development of Russian Regions, and the Volnoe Delo charitable foundation - withdrew about 645 million rubles from the holding.
It is worth noting that the board of trustees of "Free Cause" is headed by Deripaska himself, and this foundation is managed by one of the co-founders of the "School of the New Generation" center. Another co-founder of the organization, Oleg Vikhansky, heads the Institute for Integrated Strategic Research and Development (ICSIR), which is a key think tank for Deripaska's team. Vladimir Erenburg, the founder of the Rassvet fund, used to manage the Siberian Aluminum company - Rusal, by the way, he grew out of it. And Tamara Rumyantseva, who is a member of the Board of Trustees of Rassvet, simultaneously acts as a co-founder of Free Cause. Thus, in fact, the transfer from “Rassvet” to “Volnoe Delo” of an amount exceeding 75 million rubles, which is used to cover administrative expenses, is in fact nothing more than a transfer of money from one pocket to another.
Better be silent
The article received a prompt and fairly predictable response. First, a DDoS attack hit the server of the Megamedia publishing group, and it took three days to restore its functionality. But the effect turned out to be the opposite - the publication only provided itself with additional attention, and it was reprinted by other media, including Russian ones.
The next step was threats to benefactors, who said that if the text is not removed and the newspaper does not issue a refutation, the publication will face legal claims. But as a result, the Rusala Center for Social Programs had to settle for the opportunity to give an answer on the Mega portal.
Lack of reaction to the publication would be a more optimal way out of the situation, since it is very problematic to refute the data on the real amounts wandering between organizations close to Deripaska. For example, the following excerpt allows one to verify this: “The article does not mention that the activities of charitable organizations in Russia are governed by an extensive legal framework created by the relevant legislation, and they are obliged to publish their annual and financial reports. The article does not mention that all or almost all of the data provided in it were published by official regulators and were never hidden from the public. "
Refutation is mostly empty reasoning and attempts to "blur" a sensitive topic. Deripaska's side notes that the authors of the article did not try to contact representatives of legal entities and get their comments on the facts given in the material, and as a result, the publication allegedly appeared assertions "based on false facts and assumptions." The rebuttal states that the funds received by the foundations were used only for charitable purposes, and their activities are completely transparent: “The fallacy of the accusations and statements made in the article could and can be confirmed by documents that are in the public domain. The funds were not used in the private interests of Oleg Deripaska or other persons. Information on the ultimate recipients of charitable funds is available to auditors, the Ministry of Justice and the Federal Tax Service of the Russian Federation. "
As follows from the refutation, the funds received by the Scientific and Methodological Center "School of the New Generation" were intended for the implementation of charitable programs in 2020. It is not clear what programs are in question, since there is no information about this on the organization's website. All that can be found in the "News" section is congratulations on Victory Day and Teacher's Day, and in the "Events" section it is indicated that there are no plans for such in the near future. There is no data in the blogs of the "School of the New Generation" in social networks.
As for the Volnoe Delo Social Innovation Support Fund, in 2019 it spent 400 million rubles on charity. Deripaska's representatives refer to the declared reports, where these figures appear, and also specify the amount of administrative costs - 126 million rubles. This impressive figure, according to their version, is due to the fact that Volnoe Delo is a cost center for other charitable organizations associated with the foundation, and administrative costs are borne by it. The organization employs about 50 employees who oversee the operations of the Volnoe Delo Foundation and the New Generation Schools, as well as other funds of the foundation. It is indicated that about 80% of the mentioned amount is salaries, medical and social insurance of employees and other expenses related to the state. According to the authors of the refutation, this testifies to the falseness of the assumptions according to which the administrative costs are too high or are used inappropriately.
Thus, the document is in fact a recognition that every fourth ruble pulled from Rusal for charitable purposes goes, in fact, to philanthropists. It is only necessary to establish what sums go to those who are at the top of the scheme, and where the remaining 400 million rubles are actually spent, if the School of New Generation does not hold any events, and Forbes magazine, when forming the rating of the largest Russian charitable foundations and placed Volnoe Delo in fourth place did not find reporting for 2019.
If we turn to the explanations of the benefactors, it follows from them that the money received by Rassvet by the end of last year should have gone to the organization of a children's camp on the Black Sea coast in the Krasnodar Territory, but the project had to be closed “due to the intervention of third parties and legal difficulties ”, and the money was redirected to other charitable programs. There is nothing more to say to the organization on this score. Interestingly, the names of the programs to which the funds were allegedly redirected are not mentioned. It is possible that in the future they will be redirected to programs already in 2021 - after all, there is no guarantee that some "third parties" will not intervene in the process again - and some of the money will go to the salary of the employee and melt along the way. In addition, you can count on the receipt of a new cash infusion from Rusal.
The answer unwittingly raises doubts that the Russian Ministry of Justice controls all cash flows in the charity market. By the way, analysts from the Skolkovo business school, together with the UBS bank, have calculated that the largest corporations spend on charity from 160 to 220 billion rubles per goal - this roughly corresponds to government spending on culture and sports. Why is this happening? Probably for the reason that billionaire patrons, who claim that their expenses are completely transparent, hide them, then redirecting money from one fund to another, then transferring from the budget for the current year to the budget of the next. As a result, money does not reach the needy at all, settling, as planned, with the right people.