The head of the North-Western Directorate for the Construction, Reconstruction and Restoration of the Ministry of Culture is 68-year-old Mikhail Novikov. His track record has many megaprojects associated with long-term construction and corruption scandals: from the St. Petersburg dam to the Hermitage facilities, where he got in 2017.
The case of major fraud during the reconstruction of the Reserve House of the Winter Palace was considered in a special order - Novikov pleaded guilty, promptly compensated the damage caused to the museum by 30.6 million rubles, even before the trial. And he received two and a half years probation with a probationary period of two years, plus a fine of 500 thousand rubles. Last summer, the Vsevolozhsk city court upheld the request to annul Novikov’s suspended sentence and withdraw his criminal record (the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation admits such a possibility - after at least half of the assigned trial period).
The Ministry of Culture sees no reason why Novikov’s candidacy would now be unsuitable for a new leadership position. “He has no unexpunged and outstanding convictions, there are no objections from law enforcement agencies,” the Fontanka answered in the ministry.
The “Case of Restorers”, which prettyly squandered the front ranks of officials of the Ministry of Culture, could, of course, cause staff shortages, but was it really so?
We will remind that the employees of the Ministry of Culture, such as Deputy Minister Grigory Pirumov, Director of the Department of Property Management and Investment Policy Boris Mazo, head of the FSUE Restoration Center Oleg Ivanov, Boris Tsagaraev, Director of the Directorate for Construction, Reconstruction and Restoration, Director of the Department of State Protection of Cultural Heritage Vladimir Tsvetnov and his deputy Pavel Mosolov.
The total amount of damage caused to the state is estimated at almost a billion rubles.
Hermitage Director Mikhail Piotrovsky delicately characterized Mikhail Novikov’s new appointment as a “non-standard, but interesting move” of the Ministry of Culture;
noting that his former deputy is "a major specialist and connoisseur of construction and all the nuances."
Mr. Novikov’s experience is really impressive - especially in the development of multi-billion dollar budget funds.
The post of chairman of the board of Komsomol organizations of Glavleningradstroy set a good career start - by the beginning of the zero, Mikhail Novikov had already headed the North-West Directorate of the Gosstroy of Russia, which oversaw work at the St. Petersburg Flood Protection Complex (dam). In 2001, the Accounts Chamber digged 450 million rubles in dam violations. The following year, Mikhail Novikov said that another 20 billion is needed to complete the mega-facility. The tenders that he tried to hold in 2002 did not work out - the general contractor (FSUE “Lengidroenergospetsstroy”) was bankrupted by creditors, who had not managed to collect 120 million by that time.
The misuse of budget funds was also revealed by the Accounts Chamber during the implementation of the monument restoration program dedicated to the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg. These works, funded from the federal budget, were also supervised by the North-West Directorate of Gosstroy headed by Novikov - she acted as a customer for 19 of the 78 objects included in the program, and for the rest she exercised control.
The deadlines were broken, in some cases the contractors did not have licenses to perform work on cultural heritage sites; auditors also revealed overstatement of work performed by 60.6 million.
In January 2003, Mikhail Novikov was dismissed from the post of director, but was immediately approved by the deputy.
In the same year, he left Gosstroy, moving to the main chair of the newly created North-West Directorate for the Construction, Reconstruction and Restoration of the Ministry of Culture. In 2004, Novikov also moved to the position of deputy, where he worked fruitfully until 2006. Under him, the directorate ordered such large projects as the restoration and restoration of the Oranienbaum State Concern (where the Audit Chamber revealed inappropriate expenses for half a billion in 2004) and the construction of the scandalous second stage of the Mariinsky Theater - it cost 19.1 billion rubles. above the originally planned amount. And in 2008, Novikov began to oversee Mariinka-2 and other significant projects of the Ministry of Culture as an adviser to Minister Alexander Avdeev. In this capacity, his rapprochement with the Hermitage began - the adviser to the Minister Novikov became the deputy chairman of the competitive commission for the selection of the general contractor for the reconstruction of the General Staff building handed over to the museum. The $ 100 million tender was also accompanied by a major scandal: OJSC Mosmetrostroy challenged the procedure, pointing out, in his opinion, the qualification requirements for preliminary selection participants that were illegal.
Since 2010, Mikhail Novikov has been overseeing the reconstruction of the General Staff building as the Deputy Director of the Hermitage for capital construction. The implementation of this project cost 15 billion rubles, three times more expensive than planned at the start. A particularly large-scale fraud case was opened. The investigation considered that of the 700 million rubles allocated to the subcontractor (Temp Firm LLC), at least 55 million were stolen. The general director of Tempa Leonid Tamarov, as Kommersant reported, died in Israel under mysterious circumstances.
Novikov also oversaw other Hermitage projects - the construction of a restoration and storage center in Staraya Derevnya, the restoration of the Stock Exchange on Strelka Vasilievsky Island and the Reserve House of the Winter Palace.
The new position opens up new opportunities for him: in the competence of the head of the director of the North-West Directorate for the Construction, Reconstruction and Restoration of the Ministry of Culture, the entire public procurement cycle, from placing tenders on the public procurement website to their execution. The annual budget managed by the Directorate in the "fat" years reaches 8-10 billion.
It must be assumed that the candidate for such a responsible post was selected with joy not to spoil the already furrowed furrow.
But Mikhail Novikov is unlikely to stay in this position for long. And not so much because of old age, but because of the special tension of such work and the risks associated with it. Neither he himself at the beginning of the 2000s, nor subsequent chiefs of the CPAs did not stay too long here - the Moscow leadership, apparently, prefers to regularly change diapers. Although it does not always keep up to date.
From 2011 to 2013, the directorate was headed by Marat Hovhannisyan, but he already moved to the dock from the post of vice-governor (in the case of theft during the construction of the stadium on Krestovsky). Alexander Shabasov, who replaced him, resigned in 2016, after the exponential dragging of the Minister of Culture - when Vladimir Medinsky publicly reprimanded him for violations in concluding and paying for contracts, misuse of budget funds. Already in the modest status of the “personnel reserve of the Ministry of Culture”, Shabasov will be questioned in the case of theft when adapted for the needs of the Conservatory of Quartermaster warehouses by the end of 2017 (since then information about him has not appeared in a public field).
Natalya Volynskaya, who replaced him, promised to actively fight corruption. But she herself became the heroine of the FBK investigation.
It concerned a plot of land near Lake Hepoyarvi in the Leningrad Region, owned by Boris Rotenberg. The businessman, according to FBK, “took and put the gate right in the water area, blocking access to water for ordinary Toksovo residents.” FBK filed the appropriate complaints, demanding to eliminate the violation. The Committee for State Environmental Supervision of the Leningrad Region recognized the fact of illegal seizure of the territory and filed a lawsuit in the Vsevolozhsk court. However, Natalya Volynskaya unexpectedly became the defendant in the case, and Boris Rotenberg appeared only as a “third party”.
The official explained this by leasing a plot from Boris Rotenberg (with a market value of about 136 million rubles, with a huge house not standing on the cadastral register).
The proceedings will be terminated on February 28, 2017 - because the plaintiff withdrew his application. And the next day, the Volyn-led directorate will announce a tender for the construction of a new stage of the Maly Drama Theater - the Theater of Europe. Only one company will submit an application - LLC “Transept Group” Boris Rotenberg. By her decision of the commission (which included Volynskaya), she will get a contract for more than two billion rubles.
After the publication of the FBK investigation, Natalya Volynskaya promptly left the post of director of the CPA and went on promotion - she headed one of the structures of the Ministry of Culture, Rosexpertiza.
The fate of Volynskaya’s partner in the Pobeda firm, the former deputy head of the Property Fund Ilya Zhinkin, was sadder (both, according to SPARK, were listed among the founders of the company). In February last year, Zhinkin was arrested in the case of a large bribe.
After Natalia Volynskaya, Nikolai Tsiganov, formerly the head of the Federal State Institution “Roskapstroy” and the head of the construction committee for the “Support of Russia”, became the director of the SZD. He stayed in this chair for a little over a year, now to cede him to Mikhail Novikov, convicted of fraud, but not losing the confidence of the Minister of Culture.
In this approach to the placement of personnel, both continuity and loyalty to traditions are seen - why are not the scrapings that Vladimir Medinsky so cares about?