In the Slavyansk district of the Krasnodar territory, a juicy scandal unprecedented for Russia has erupted. Not only the greater part of the largest enterprises engulfed by fever over many months, but also the staff of the Investigative Department rebelled against the Prosecutor's lawlessness and raiding.
The Krasnodar territory in general and the Slavyansk district in particular have long been notorious of massive “grabs” and “redivision.” Apparently, the pressure of blatant arrogance and lawlessness has reached its climax. That is why the personnel of local companies and law enforcement officers, whose work is completely sealed off from the public, came out to protest.
In Kuban, as Russia’s southern Krasnodar territory is typically referred to, businesses and police rebelled against the Prosecutor's lawlessness
“Extreme Pressure on Investigation Committee”
According to Mosmonitor, the police have prepared an unprecedented appeal, not only on the scale of the territory. The appeal with the official seal and letterhead was sent to the Offices of the Prosecutor General and the Prosecutor of the territory, the Presidential Administration, the governor of the Krasnodar territory, and the media outlets. The authors of the appeal say that the district Prosecutor forces them to initiate numerous criminal cases against local businessmen and treat them, figuratively speaking, as a feudal lord would treat his serfs.
“We, the staff of the Investigative Department of the Department of Russian Ministry of the Interior for the Slavyansk district, appeal to you as the last instance that can protect the rights, honor and dignity of police investigators from the arbitrariness of A.V. Dolgan, the Slavyansk Inter-District Prosecutor,” says the letter of law enforcement officials. “In fact, our Investigative Department is a manually operated tool in Prosecutor Dolgan’s hands. He determines the personnel policy, orders the dismissal of investigators and coordinates their appointments, which have led to an intensive “staff turnover” in the department and deadlocking of operations.
“Since S.A. Dikiy, the current head of the Investigative Department, is his protégé, the extreme moral pressure from Prosecutor Dolgan is only increasing. It regards the organization of work and the managerial approach of the department. We, the investigators, have to stand for hours in the corridor of the Prosecutor's office with files in order to put a formal signature, arrange a case, and get verbal instructions about the investigation.
“At the same time, the staff of the Prosecutor's office has been changed almost twice in a year and a half. The new prosecutors are not competent. They have not only meager experience of life and weak knowledge of preliminary investigation, but also excessive ambitions, as if arrogant patrician prosecutors are in charge of disgusting plebeian police officers.”
“Police are run Like Private Office”
Further, the appeal refers to ordered criminal cases against a number of enterprises initiated on the instructions of Prosecutor Dolgan and in the interests of his close associates.
“We are managed as if in a private office to resolve customer issues. Obvious examples of these controversial criminal cases are cases against D. V. Maslov and A. I. Skorobogatko, acting on behalf of the CTK company, in respect of Priboy Plus, Slavyanskgorgaz, in respect of entrepreneurs V. F. Pugachev and G. G. Deliberandi. During the investigation of these criminal cases, oral instructions about the investigation are given by the Prosecutor personally. At the same time, other criminal cases are sent for additional investigation by Prosecutor Dolgan as a reprisal for the fact that the case against Priboy Plus Ltd. cannot be sent to court for objective reasons. On the instructions of the Prosecutor, we get permission in court to conduct searches only for the purpose of exerting psychological pressure on those whom we search and on the persons involved in cases, as well as on the firms that are not related to the case under investigation. Moreover, we have to conduct searches several times.
In pre-trial investigation in criminal cases under Article 256 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, on the instructions of Prosecutor Dolgan, numerous searches are targeted at “interesting people” who are not related to the crimes being investigated. In this case, the results of searches usually are of no use to the investigation.
“We do not Want to Participate in accordance with Official Crimes!”
Investigation specialists no longer want to participate in official crimes and be responsible for this flagrant lawlessness.
“In private conversations judges ask us what lawlessness we are causing,” says the letter. “Our actions are already being appealed in court. There are resolutions on settlement of these grievances. That is, tomorrow, the question might be raised about the official crimes committed by us, while we do everything in accordance with the oral instructions of Prosecutor Dolgan.”
The letter says that all these “activities” are aimed at the benefit of individuals close to the Prosecutor’s inner circle. Apparently, they are the clients.
At the end of the letter, the investigators say that in their appeals to the official bodies they asked to conduct a psychological test with questions about the attitude to the district Prosecutor's office and speak in their defense, but they fear that “without the media, their problem is unlikely to be noticed.”
Businesses Under Threat of Shutdown
The managers and workers of the enterprises mentioned in the appeal of the police investigators confirmed that in their opinion, their companies are subject to prosecutorial pressure. The Novaya Gazeta Kuban newspaper published an appeal issued on behalf of the councils of ten work collectives of the largest systemic companies in the territory under the heading “We Demand Resignation of Prosecutor of Slavyansk District!” It was sent to official authorities such as the Prosecutor General's Office, the President of the Russian Federation, the Governor of the Krasnodar Territory, deputies of the State Duma and the media outlets. This letter has been already published by a number of websites.
“In the difficult year of 2020, the President has repeatedly underlined in his addresses and speeches that today, the main task is to preserve businesses and as many jobs as possible,” the letter says. “More than 2 trln rubles ($28,8 bln) have already been allocated for anti-crisis support of businesses, as well as for preserving jobs. Over 80 different support measures are being taken. “The preservation of jobs and incomes of Russian families have become the most important priorities in our work since the beginning of the efforts to eliminate the consequences of the epidemic,” said Vladimir Putin at a government meeting on May 28.
However, all these measures might not work in the Slavyansk district of the Krasnodar territory. In this difficult time thousands of workers are highly likely to remain without work and money in the wake of the prosecutors’ actions, since the bulk of of socially significant enterprises are under the threat of shutdown and strikes. The law enforcement agency subjects small and medium-sized businesses to power politics, provocations, and unjustified criminal prosecution in contravention of the President’s instructions. These practices became common after Alexey V. Dolgan appointment to the position of the Slavyansk Interdistrict Prosecutor in November 2018.”
The appeal also contains a detailed description of the illegal, in the opinion of the signatories, actions of the Prosecutor's office towards many enterprises – Maslozavod [Butter Factory] Slavyansky, Kuban delikatesy, Slavyanskgorgaz, Priboy Plus, and construction companies of V.V. Pugachev and G.G. Deliporanidi. As many of them were subjected to raider attacks and special-order “raids” throughout the Russian territory, they became ill-fated and were the targets of numerous articles in the media. In order not to overwhelm our readers with details, we only give the following statement from the address hoping that the competent authorities will deal with them:
“Prosecutor A.V. Dolgan’s illegal pressure on the enterprises has common features – initiation of criminal cases on an indefinite circle of persons, checks, seizure of documentation, searches without any necessity at persons who are not related to the case, and other actions that hinder the stable operation of enterprises. The fact that the actions of Prosecutor Dolgan are illegal is graphically seen in the facts of the court's recognition of the illegality of initiating criminal cases or canceling resolutions on their initiation after the intervention of the Krasnodar territory Prosecutor's office.”
Additionally, the illegality of initiation of criminal proceedings against Maslozavod Slavyansky has been already established by the court, which is reflected in the relevant court resolution.
Prosecutor's Resignation or Strike of Ten Work Collectives
The appeal of the labor collectives ends with a strict requirement. “We demand that A.V. Dolgan, the Slavyansk Inter-District Prosecutor, who destabilizes the situation in the district and creates social tension, be dismissed from his post, the illegal pressure on enterprises stop, and the collectives should be able to do their job without obstacles.
Otherwise, the workers would have to resort to extreme measures, which include the shutdown of the enterprises in the very near future.”
Thus, the workers of enterprises harassed by searches and inspections decided to fight back against what they view as the arrogance of Prosecutor Dolgan, demanding verification of the legality of his actions, as well as his dismissal. Why, despite numerous complaints, the higher Prosecutor’s Office has not properly assessed Dolgan’s actions yet? Why is one person allowed to deprive numerous collectives of normal life in this difficult time, when the COVID-19 pandemic has made the stable operation of enterprises and the preservation of jobs the main task of the state? These questions are not rhetorical. Many believe that it became possible due to “protection” of Prosecutor Dolgan by top-ranking officials. However, this should be the subject of a separate investigation.
In the meantime, it is important that in the history of today’s Russia, this is probably the first and only case when society and investigative authorities jointly and massively decided to demand the restoration of the rule of law, as well as taking measures against a representative of the supervisory authority. The editorial board of wek.ru is going to follow the events, how the inspection will be conducted, and whether the authorities will take measures to stabilize the situation.
PS. When this article was being prepared for publication, on July 15, representatives of the territorial Prosecutor's office arrived in town of Slavyansk-on-Kuban. We hope that they will hold an objective investigation and will not cover up the district Prosecutor Dolgan. The editorial board will be tracking the developments.