The arrest of every high-ranking official or major businessman is propagated by Russian propaganda as the realization of the presidential course for an uncompromising fight against corruption. In fact, this is often not the case for arrests. The “project” tells how this happens on the example of the case against the former governor of the Khabarovsk Territory and the presidential envoy in the Far East, Viktor Ishayev.
A matter of five million
On the morning of March 28, arresting Ishayev in Moscow and taking him without handcuffs to the building of the Investigative Committee, the Russian security forces began the most strange operation of the last time. It was all strange. Information about the nature of the claims varied: first, the news agencies sources talked about the investigation of abuses in the forest industry and estimated the damage at 10 billion rubles, but after a few hours the Investigation Committee reported the embezzlement of Rosneft state funds. After some more time, Igor Sechin’s company was quick to say that they themselves had identified all the violations and handed over the data to the law enforcement authorities. The sum announced as a result was also strange: Ishayev was accused of stealing five million rubles. The former governor himself admitted that such a sum is a small part of his income.
"This is absurd," said Ishayev.
In a certain sense, Ishayev is not crafty, says the interlocutor of the “Project” in the Kremlin: the ex-governor, his family and acquaintances are associated with many businesses in the Far East, whose income, according to informal conversations of the siloviki, could be enormous. The amount of five million really looks formal.
Immediately after the appearance of information about Ishaev’s detention, another source close to the Kremlin told the “Project” correspondent that, according to his information, there is no task to put Ishayev immediately, there is only the task of “humiliating” him by the fact of the criminal case. This happened: in the evening, the court decided to send the ex-governor to house arrest, although this is far from always the case — the detainee two days before the ex-minister of the “open government” Mikhail Abyzov was placed in a pre-trial detention center.
The fact is that the reasons for the arrest are not related to corruption, they are purely political and are associated with the election campaign that took place in the Khabarovsk Territory last year.
Who is Viktor Ishaev
Ishayev led the Khabarovsk Territory for 18 years - in fact, since the collapse of the Soviet Union. For the resignation in 2009, it required a formal increase - the transfer to the post of Minister for the Development of the Far East and at the same time the presidential envoy in the Far Eastern Federal District. After resigning from this position in 2013, Ishayev became an adviser to the president of Rosneft, from which he left last year. At the time of the detention Ishayev was engaged in business related to real estate. He is a co-owner of Beis LLC, and his son Dmitry is Developer Developer, as well as Dalneftetrade, Dalvostoktreyd and Vostok Security Agency.
Under the protection of Putin
Ishayev's successor as the governor of the Khabarovsk Territory, Vyacheslav Shport, somehow liked Vladimir Putin. Because of this, there was even a legend more like a joke that he attracted the head of state with his German last name and entertained the president by talking to him in German. A project interlocutor close to the Kremlin says that he heard this comic story after last year officials received the task of “saving Shport” from the country's leadership.
Shport, as well as three other governors, in the last elections in the autumn of 2018 could not win in the first round of local elections. To some of his colleagues, the federal center quickly lost interest, but not to him. On the instructions of the country's leadership, all possible players came to rescue Shport - officials of the Kremlin’s internal political bloc Sergei Kiriyenko, members of the presidential envoy to the Far East Yury Trutnev, as well as numerous local and Moscow political technologists.
Shport and aircraft
Vyacheslav Shport is a specialist in aircraft construction. He worked at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant named after Yu. A. Gagarin. It is believed that with his participation many aircraft were launched, including one of the new ones, the SU-35.
In the 2000s, Shport went to work in the State Duma, but before heading the region, he was the director of production and technical development of the Aviation Holding Company "Sukhoi" for about a year.
In 2009 he headed the Khabarovsk Territory.
Officials vigorously set to work, especially Trutnev. He had a very serious conversation with Shport's opponent in the elections - LDPR representative Sergey Furgal. The result was not long in coming. "I never chase or chase stars on my shoulder straps," Furgal unexpectedly declared between two rounds and announced that he accepted Shport's offer to become his first deputy. This agreement was the result of long-term work: Trutnev talked with Furgal, and officials of the Kremlin’s internal political bloc - with LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, whom the Kremlin promised a governor’s seat in another region for one of his associates.
However, just a few hours later, something changed: Furgal suddenly rebuilt the rhetoric and announced that he intended to continue the struggle. The Kremlin, this failure, “put it mildly, angered,” recalls a man close to the presidential administration.
At that moment, the country's leadership and the security forces received a report from the people responsible for saving Shport - Ishayev interferes with Shport's re-election. Speaking objectively, they needed to find the culprit in order to explain their own failure, and such a person was found, considered to be an interlocutor close to the Kremlin.
Heavy autumn 2018
In a single voting day in 2018, four governors could not win at once - the head of the Vladimir region Svetlana Orlova, Primorsky Krai - Andrei Tarasenko, Khakassia - Viktor Zimin and the Khabarovsk Krai - Vyacheslav Shport.
In order to maintain control over Primorye, the authorities went to cancel the results of the second round, and Governor Andrei Tarasenko resigned. Oleg Kozhemyako appointed from Moscow became a new head. In other regions, the victory went to candidates from the "opposition".
How the two governors quarreled
Ishayev served as governor of the Khabarovsk Territory for 18 years, and in 2007 the media wrote that he had prevented Shport from reelecting himself in the State Duma. However, when Ishaev moved to the presidential envoy in 2009, and Shport became governor, the officials were somehow forced to interact. According to the federal official, at first they had a good relationship, but later they quarreled over financial disagreements. In the 2013 elections, Ishayev attempted to prevent Shport, who was supported by Putin, from being re-elected and paid for it - was dismissed by the plenipotentiary. Since then, a retired official actively opposed his successor. This election was no exception.
The sources of the “Project” cite three versions of exactly how Ishayev did not allow officials to realize the president’s task to save Shport before the second round in this election.
First version. After Trutnev's successful negotiations with Furgal, Ishayev unexpectedly met with Eldepierov and persuaded him to abandon the compromise with the Kremlin. Furgal and so hardly fell for the persuasion of officials, and after convincing words and promises of support from Ishayev, he quickly decided to fight again for the post.
The second version, which, however, does not contradict the first. An interesting person appeared in the Furgal team - a former security guard and Ishayev’s driver and his confidant - Vladimir Khlapov (besides him, other people close to Ishayev appeared in the headquarters since that time). Then it became finally clear - the former plenipotentiary helps with cadres and, possibly, with finances to the representative of the opposition, recalls a man who worked at the headquarters of Shport. When Furgal eventually defeated Shport, Hlapov even became vice-governor. After Ishaev’s arrest, the media reported that law enforcement officers conducted searches of Khlapov.
The third version, from which it follows that the role of Ishayev in the defeat of Shport was even greater. The embassy planned to “correct” the election results in favor of Shport, a high-ranking interlocutor of the “Project”, who is familiar with the election campaign, said. On election night, everything was ready, but Ishaev, through his people, found out about the plans of the officials and decided to make them public. Upon learning of this, the embassy abandoned its intentions and allowed Furgal to win. In fact, Ishayev thwarted all plans, summarizes the interlocutor.
The third version is not confirmed by any other source of the “Project”. On election night, many have already turned away from Shport - some of his deputies in their offices opened champagne, frankly celebrating the victory, says a friend of the former governor. Therefore, according to him, it was somehow impossible to influence the election results at that moment. Furgal won with a crushing result, gaining almost 70%, such figures cannot be adjusted.
The final decision of the regional issue
Reports on the role of Ishayev in the Shport campaign came to the Kremlin in the fall, but there was no reaction. Then it seemed that everyone forgave Ishayev, but now it is clear that this is not the case - they were preparing the case against him for half a year, having learned that he had prevented him from implementing the presidential decree.
But Ishayev managed to aggravate the situation. The interlocutor close to the Kremlin tells the “Project” that the presidential administration received information that Ishayev decided to help the opposition with his resources in the elections to the regional legislature scheduled for this year. Such intentions became very unpleasant news - having lost the governor’s seat, the authorities hoped to take control of parliament this year. Perhaps this information decided the fate of Ishayev.
Ishayev’s lawyer Pavel Zaitsev did not respond to calls from the Project correspondent. Shport promised to answer questions later.