Governors’ Residences and Enrichment Methods

Governors’ Residences and Enrichment Methods

Photo: found out where the governors of the Russian regions of Leningrad, Rostov-on-Don, Tambov and Penza live and how they help their relatives earn money.

Leningrad Finn

Alexander Drozdenko has been governing the Leningrad region for 8 years and is going to be re-elected in September. According to the latest tax statement, he earns more than 6 mln rubles ($82,920) per year while his wife's income is twice as high – 16.3 mln rubles ($225,266.)

Drozdenko’s wife owns two-thirds in an apartment with the area of 305 m². According to a record extract from the Federal Agency for State Registration, Cadastre, and Cartography (Rosreestr) that has at its disposal, the apartment is located in St. Petersburg at 12, Dinamo Prospekt avenue. One-third of the apartment is registered in the name of their daughter Sofia Drozdenko.

The Drozdenko family resides in the popular Club House of the architect Romanov. The owners of apartments in this de-luxe class complex have their own open terraces and smoking rooms with a fireplace.

The market value of Drozdenko’s apartment is about 200 mln rubles ($2,764,000) based on sales proposals in this residential building worth 676,000 rubles ($9342.32) per m² available on CIAN database of real estate lease and sale offers. The Governor also has countryside real estate registered in the name his spouse. She owns a 46 ha land plot and a house in the village of Mednoye Ozero.

According to the information from the Unified State Register of Taxpayers, Irina Drozdenko got the land plot from the Honka Park company belonging to Alexander Tsarev, who runs elite real estate business in the Leningrad region. He is an exclusive distributor of the Finnish HONKA company offering “fabulous Finnish houses.”

Scandals shroud Tsarev's business activities in the region. Apparently, he enjoys patronage of the authorities. Thus, the Honka Park company got leased land in Toksovo, where construction of cottages began. It happened against desire of local residents, who were outraged by logging and “seizing” of the Rzhevsky artillery firing range.

Rossa Rakenne SPB, a contractor to the presidential administration, is Honka Park’s parent company. In May 2018, an agreement on the “development of a non-permanent structure without a building footing” in the Polyanka village, a townhouse neighborhood in the Odintsovo district near Moscow was signed. The price of the contract was 121.9 mln rubles ($1,684,658.)

Moscow Bigwigs

The governor of the southern Rostov region, Vasily Golubev who is eager to be re-elected for a third term, provided his family with apartments in Moscow.

His son Alexey Golubev owns an apartment with a floor space of 157.2 m² in the Presidential House at building 2, 12 Trekhgorny Val. It costs about 60 mln rubles ($829,200.)

On his account on the Odnoklassniki social network, Golubev Jr. indicated that he had studied at Pangbourne College and Wolverhampton Business School in the UK. He is the founder of a number of real estate management companies in the Rostov and Moscow regions. Artyom Grudinin, the son of Pavel Grudinin, a former candidate for presidency from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), is Golubev’s partner in one of them (the League company.) Alexander Goryachev, their third companion, has become a contractor at the Detstvo rehabilitation center under the Russian Health Ministry through his firm Fire Safety Services.

Alexey Golubev also engages in wine production. His company Constanta is the founder of Tanais, a winery in the Ust-Donetsk district.

Maxim Golubev, Rostov governor’s nephew, who was brought up in his family after his parents' death, owns an apartment (120.7 m²) in the Shuvalovsky residential complex on Lomonosovsky Prospekt avenue. Its cost is estimated at least at 50 mln rubles ($691,000.)

Vasily Golubev’s daughter owns an apartment near the Old Arbat district at building 1, 21 Plotnikov Lane. It has a floor space of 134.5 m² and costs about 115 mln rubles ($1,589,300.)

According to sources, Svetlana Golubeva drives a BMW X6 xDrive30d. She runs a pharmaceutical business and owns the real estate company Vidnoe City - XXI Century, which leases property to the Mosoblenergo public utility company.

Olga Golubeva, Vasily Golubev’s wife, is a minority shareholder of Stroytransgaz belonging to billionaire businessman Gennady Timchenko, who has interests in the Rostov region. They go beyond the construction of gas pipelines ordered by Gazprom. Timchenko’s charity foundation also sponsors the regional chess association.

Tambov Comrades

Alexander Nikitin became governor of the Tambov region in 2015. Already in January 2016 he got a 135.7 m² apartment in the luxury Dumsky residential complex on Karl Marx Street.

According to Rosreestr’s statement available to, Nikitin received the elite apartment from the Agency for Housing Mortgage Lending of the Tambov region, which is 100% owned by the regional property management committee, i.e. is fully state-owned and controlled by Tambov Governor himself.

The cadastral value of the state property alone owned by Nikitin is estimated at 6 mln 579 thousand rubles ($90,921.78.) Businessmen from his inner circle also have access to state “goodies.”

Nikitin was a co-founder of the now disbanded MichKORM where Vadim Babushkin, a member of the United Russia party, was his partner. Babushkin, the current rector of the Michurinsk State Agrarian University, praises Nikitin at the university website.

Babushkin also has another business partner, Galina Gabuyeva. Together, they own the Yumax pharmacy. TambovStroyMekhanizatsiya is Gabuyeva's key asset. Arsen Gabuev worked there as Deputy General Director. After taking up the office, Nikitin appointed him as a head of the Tambov region road administration and then vice governor.

TambovStroyMekhanizatsiya, a company focusing on road construction and repairs, received 6.5 bln rubles ($89,830,000) from government contracts for road. Despite considerable earnings of its top executives, the prosecutor's office regularly brings the company to account for non-payment of salaries to its employees.

Mushroom King

Ivan Belozertsev, the governor of the Penza region located some 600 km to the east of Moscow, has gone even further. He lobbies his own son's business partners.

“Without the Governor’s help, the project implementation would have been much more complicated,” CEO of the Gribnaya Kompaniya mushroom factory said in a show of gratitude to Belozertsev at the factory’s opening ceremony. “The scale of government support has surpassed all expectations. I could not even expect that we would get so much help from the federal, regional and district authorities.”

Indeed, Belozertsev’s contribution was significant. He lowered the company's income tax rate from 20% to 5%, and exempted it from property tax and land tax at all. However, he was hardly motivated by kindness and generosity. As found out, the owner of Gribnaya Kompaniya has connections with Danila Belozertsev, the son of Penza governor.

The latter is a co-owner of the Sanlikoavto car wash. His partner Sergei Zhulyabin is the founder of the mushroom factory, which got tax preferences from Ivan Belozertsev.

Gribnaya Kompaniya patronized by Belozertsev has invested 2 bln rubles ($27,640,000) in production with the help of state subsidies and preferential lending programs. The plan is to garner 7% of the domestic mushroom market.

Zhulyabin also earns from government purchases. His car repair company Spektr-Motors received 154 mln rubles ($2,128,280) from the Ministry of Education of the Penza region, the Ministry of Industry and other agencies.

Alexander Belozertsev, another son of the governor, owns 50% in Penza Energocenter. The second stake is held by the Energoauditconsulting company, which was a supplier in 19 state contracts worth more than 50 mln rubles ($691,000.) The firm provides heating to educational institutions.

In addition, until recently Ivan Belozertsev’s wife ran a funeral business. The Kharon ceremonial services company was registered in her name.

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