Bitter Legacy of Burlakov

Bitter Legacy of Burlakov


Oleg Burlakov, a Russian oligarch and former military intelligence officer, has been held hostage to his status for most of his life, running business to increase his fortune.

It seems that he decided to devote to himself only the last ten years of his life. He wanted to feel free to live where he wanted, the way he wanted, with whom he wanted. He never managed to realize his full potential. Moreover, even after death, he could only dream of peace.

In general, the story of the struggle for the oligarch's inheritance is quite sad, because it is the apotheosis of the victory of banality over originality. Oleg Burlakov, one of the 200 richest businessmen in Russia, earned his fortune doing business in the oil and gas sector, precious metals mining, cement production, banking, retail, real estate development, the military industrial complex and even in the space industry. However, with such a “gentleman's set,” very typical of a typical modern Russian oligarch, Burlakov was quite different from his colleagues on the Russian Forbes list.

It is not even the fact that the retired colonel, who spent his life dealing with the secrets of Russia's military-industrial complex, avoided publicity. The main thing is that he did not hold on to his business and did not become a hostage to it. He kept dreaming and being a romantic. Closer to his seventies he turned out to be much more progressive than most of his colleagues, even younger ones. In early 2010s, Burlakov sold his main assets in Russia. By then he was already living in Monaco, where he had obtained a residence permit.

Oleg Burlakov invested the money raised from the sale of assets (Burneftegaz is the gem of it) in the construction of the unique yacht Black Pearl.

It was not just a luxury item, an attribute of Burlakov's oligarchic status. Launched in 2018, the ship became the best sailing yacht of 2019 according to The World's Superyacht Awards. Thanks to the sails and the solar panels built into them, the yacht uses only wind and solar energy. The solar panels are integrated into the fabric of the sail. At this point in his life, Burlakov has generally paid a lot of attention to ecology. According to the media, even the water on board the yacht is reused, and for washing the floors the team uses purified sewage. There is separate garbage collection, reusable bags, and a minimum of plastic and chemicals as the “environmental policy” on board is very strict.

“In fact, the Black Pearl was not just an experiment, it was a real challenge for the entire yacht building industry because absolutely everything that was drawn on the drawing board had never been done before,” said Marcel Onckenhout, CEO of the Oceanco shipyard.

“This boat is not for entertainment,” Oleg Burlakov himself told Forbes magazine, “and the purpose of the project is to create vessels that will have new sources of energy and new opportunities.”

He did not have time to execute many of his plans. In June 2021, it became known that the billionaire died at the age of 72 from the novel coronavirus infection.

It is quite remarkable that the changes in the business sphere, the rejection of primitive money-making in favor of innovation, future technologies, clean energy, and ecology, in Burlakov's life were accompanied by changes in family affairs as well.

As a young man, Oleg Burlakov married a certain Lyudmila (nee Marchenko, born July 2, 1951). On October 29, 1973, the couple had a daughter, Elena, and on December 18, 1985, a daughter, Veronica. However, married life was not happy, Lyudmila turned out to be a giddy pleasure-seeker with a bad temper. The family hearth fizzled away very quickly.

It seems that in the afternoon of his life Burlakov decided to make his personal life more comfortable, removing toxic people from his inner circle. Apparently, the members of the so-called formal family, Burlakov's wife and two older daughters, were not enthusiastic about his innovative engineering ambitions. The daughters were used to luxury and change not only their places of life, but also their boyfriends like socks.

Progress requires investment, and the female part of the Burlakov family just wanted stability as they understood it – big and easy money to which they used. They pulled him back to the past, dreary and joyless.

In December 2018, Lyudmila Burlakova filed for divorce in Monaco, which never finalized. The divorce with the division of property, as is often the case, was painful and long. In addition to the traditional courts and exposing each other's dirty laundry, the process was accompanied by a number of scandals of a criminal nature.

Soon after the start of the divorce process, Oleg Burlakov was subjected to an attempt on his life. His car was shot at with a pistol by an unknown assailant. It seemed that the shooting was not intended to kill him, and it was only an act of intimidation. As a result of the incident, no one was really hurt by the bullets, but the organizer of the attack succeeded in scaring Burlakov and the billionaire felt bad and went to the hospital. Already during the hospital examination, traces of arsenic were found in Oleg Burlakov's body, which unequivocally indicated an attempted poisoning.

Interestingly, after the incident with the attempt on her life Lyudmila Burlakova's lawyers, like windup dolls, were widely spreading rumors in the media that some business partners, mostly former ones, might be behind the assassination attempt on her unloved husband. Oleg Burlakov himself, however, then directly linked the attempt to the divorce proceedings and nothing else. In other words, he pointed to his bored wife and greedy daughters.

In March 2019, the court ruled that Oleg and Lyudmila Burlakov should live separately, so the 10th and 11th floors with a pool in their multilevel apartment in Monaco were given to Lyudmila, who loved luxury, while the businessman stayed on the 9th floor.

Subsequently, attempts to frame up and destroy each other became systematic. Burlakov accused his wife and younger daughter Veronika of stealing $1 billion. They, in turn, with the help of the latter's husband, organized a real surveillance of the head of the family with micro-cameras and trackers (in houses, hotels, even a private plane) cameras in hotels, apartments, tracers in planes.) This has been written about quite a bit in the media. Dirty laundry has been turned out, and everything has been let loose.

In particular, Ludmila Burlakova learned about her husband's mistress during the pursuit. The mistress, Sofia Shevtsova, a graduate of the prestigious MGIMO, worked in the Moscow hotel where Burlakov liked to stay, and then became a stewardess on his private plane. It is said, however, that she was quickly fired at the insistence of the same wife Lyudmila. In addition, obtained as a result of illegal surveillance of the oligarch evidence of his infidelity, a team of lawyers Lyudmila intended to use in court to increase in her favor of the amount of “payoffs” in a divorce.

The most remarkable thing about this story is that, having failed to play the “treason card” in the divorce, Lyudmila Burlakova herself.... became close to her husband's former mistress after his death.

She became “close,” to be more precise, only in terms of business. Although acquaintances who know Lyudmila say that in spite of her age any surprises can be expected from her. Everything was forgotten: the bruised ego, heartbreak, resentment, and dismissal. The women banded together to grab a fat piece of their ex-husband's and lover's inheritance.

Sofia Shevtsova presented the child allegedly conceived by Burlakov. Ludmila Burlakova helped Shevtsova with lawyers, as well as with the favor of Judge Alena Kolesnik. This alliance of three women proved to be very effective in protecting motherhood. All three ladies spoke with one voice against the genetic examination, which would have allowed determining for certain whether the deceased was the biological father of Sofia Shevtsova's child. Sofia's child was not recognized as Burlakov's during her lifetime. Judge Kolesnik did it for him posthumously, preventing the expertise with her power. The Russian court, the most humane court in the world, protected the interests of the two widowed women. It should be recalled that all these efforts are for the sake of the inheritance, which Oleg Burlakov himself did not leave them, but which the women unreservedly and doomed to claim.

The lawsuits themselves (not only in Russia, but also in the courts of several countries) revolve around Burlakov's handwritten will, in which he bequeathed his entire estate to his closest person, his sister Vera Kazakova and her husband Nikolai. During his lifetime, they were the deceased's true family members. Nikolai Kazakov was not only his sister's husband, but also Burlakov's friend and longtime business partner, actually his business mentor and lucky charm. All of the billionaire's victories in the business field were accomplished under Kazakov's patronage.

Lyudmila Burlakova, however, stated her claim to wealth without having any documents at all, let alone a will. Now her lawyers are challenging in court the legitimacy of the will in its only version. Indeed, previously the widow and her daughters may have been hypothetically considered by Oleg Burlakov as heirs. Apparently, this was only possible in principle before the beginning of their violent confrontation in the courts, in the media, and “on the street.” The businessman, who believed that his wife and daughters were behind the surveillance and attempts on his life, can be understood in his desire to bequeath all of his property to his sister and his only true friend.

The widow and her children made no secret of their dislike for Burlakov in the last years of his life. Courts are courts, and different things happen in families, but when he fell ill, they showed no sympathy or interest in his health. Moreover, it seems they were glad to see him dead and took care only to take the body out of Russia and bury it as soon as possible against the background of suspicions in the entourage of Oleg Burlakov about the unusual course of the disease and the many strange things accompanying the death of the businessman. Against this background, the attempt by his wife and daughters to represent themselves as Oleg Burlakov's legitimate heirs looks absolutely absurd.

All of this does not correspond with what really bothered Oleg Burlakov in the last years of his life. It seems that he was close to becoming truly happy. As a child he was fond of ship modeling. After building the Black Pearl, he returned to what he had loved all his life, but with much greater opportunities and ambitions. He dreamed of building ships with new sources of energy and new capabilities. Before his death the owner of the Black Pearl was engaged in creation of a two-hundred-meter commercial transport sailing ship. Are there many such oligarchs in Russia, especially now?

The divorce proceedings and assassination attempts must have stolen several years of his life. It is sad to see how those who prevented him from realizing his full creative and engineering potential in his lifetime want to appropriate his legacy.

We would disagree with the wise man who said the famous “Let not the thought of retribution confound you; the right to retribution is in the hands of God but not in the hands of men. For now human judgment can find the truth and punish the unworthy and greedy far sooner than God's judgment.”

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