Interview by Head of Western Military District Military Investigations Directorate of Russia’s Investigative Committee Oleg Morozov to Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper

200 cases over corruption

Head of Western Military District Military Investigations Directorate of Russia’s Investigative Committee (SK) Lieutenant General of Justice Oleg MOROZOV answers questions of Krasnaya Zvezda.

- Mr Morozov, in February in our newspaper you told to readers about activity of Western Military District Military Investigations Directorate of SK and subordinate military investigating bodies in 2011. What were the changes in crime dynamics for the first half of 2012?

- Results of analysis of statistic data allow concluding that this year the tendency towards decrease of the general number of crimes continues. This way, if compared to the first half of 2011 in Western Military District the number of crimes related to violation of regulations governing relations between the servicemen has decreased by 6 %, the number of crimes against order of military service – by 21 %, which can be explained by decrease of general number of the troops and shorter time of military service by conscription.

On the other hand, the number of crimes related to safety rules for handling military and technical equipment has gone up. This includes violations of handling rules for arms and objects of increased danger for the people around, and car operating and driving rules.

I should especially note growth in corruption cases in the first half of the year. There are more than 140 such crimes registered around the District, which is 13 % more than in the same period last year. Moreover, the number of these crimes makes up over 21 % of the total number of registered crimes. There are more than 130 criminal cases opened over corruption crimes.

This is quite alarming, as the increase of corruption crimes has been seen not only around troops and other military divisions of Western Military District. We recognize that Armed Forces are an integral part of the state mechanism. That is why corruption in the Russian Federation, unfortunately, takes place in military organization. In what way corruption is dangerous for the army? In the first place, corrupted army is unfit for action, it can’t fulfill its primary task of its country’s armed defense. Spread of corruption undermines the army and fleet from the inside, cheapening the importance of military service – disinterested service to your Mother Land in a united formation of soldiers – from a private to marshal. Therefore corruption is a direct threat to national security of Russia. And that is why issues of combating corruption become especially urgent in the conditions of building a new image of Russian Armed Forces.

- How successful is the fight against this ugly crime?

- Western Military District military investigating bodies together with military prosecutor’s office, security bodies in troops and headquarters in the first half of 2012 revealed and investigated 150 corruption crimes, criminal cases characterized by special difficulty of investigation, many episodes of unlawful actions, their long time, remoteness, frank pledge.

In all, investigators of Western Military District investigating bodies have been investigating over 200 criminal cases over corruption, 70 of which (against 78 people) have been sent to courts.

One of the main factors of timely revealing of such crimes and their subsequent quick investigation is coherent cooperation with field divisions of Russian FSB, in the first place with security bodies in the troops and Ministry of Internal Affairs as well. In Western Military District Military Investigation Directorate we attach special importance to organization of such cooperation. In the first half of the year military investigating bodies of the District held more than 50 meetings with security bodies in the troops on joint issues of cooperation, including with the participation of military prosecutors within the framework of coordination activity. Investigating certain criminal cases involving heads of military investigation departments of the District and field officers of security bodies in troops, there have been held over 60 meetings and working meetings. In all criminal cases being investigated officers of security bodies in troops were employed as part of search and investigation groups.

Constructive cooperation and wish to reach common goal eventually pay off: most of felonies are solved thanks to close cooperation.

- Tell us, please, about such cooperation in investigation of corruption cases.

- Efficient and coherent work resulted in initiation of a criminal case in Nizhny Novgorod Garrison Military Investigation Department against former head of a branch of 256th military office of Defense Ministry at ZAO Nizhny Novgorod Trucks Factory (CJSC) Lieutenant Colonel Pyltsev over signs of two crimes under part 3 of article 285 of RF Criminal Code. In 2007, Pyltsin, wanting to embellish the situation in front of higher command, signed documents which stated that the factory within implementation of a government contract had manufactured and handed over to the contractor five mobile laboratories of different application based on Ural and UAZ vehicles. The actions of the accused caused the state, represented by Defense Ministry a damage of 8 million rubles. Nizhny Novgorod garrison military court found Pyltsin guilty of all above mentioned crimes and sentenced him to 4 conditional years followed by 2 years of probation, deprivation of right to take government positions related to management powers for 2 years.

Very recently, in June, Saint-Petersburg Garrison Military Investigation Department sent to the court a criminal case against former head of financing capital repairs of (territorial) Defense Ministry Busov, who extorted from leadership of OAO Oboronenergo (OJSC) a bribe of 1.7 million rubles for signing settlement documents and payment from accounts of Defense Ministry to the address of OAO Oboronenergo (OJSC). As a result of timely and correctly planned actions of military investigators and officers of security bodies in troops Busov was detained red-handed while receiving a bribe.

- What other solved corruption cases are the most important in your opinion?

- There are rather a lot of such cases. I want to make an example of criminal cases against a criminal group consisting of former officials – Senior Officer of Department of Housing Operations Directorate of Moscow Military District Lieutenant Colonel Tereshchenko, Head of staffing group of Main Automobile and Armored Department of RF Defense Ministry Colonel Biryukov, Head and Senior Officer of the Department of Automobile Service Colonel Gerasimov and Lieutenant Colonel Fedorenko, Leading Certified Public Accountant of this service Gorbachev, and other civilians. As a result of persistent and meticulous work investigators collected evidence that in the period between 2005 and 2008 this group had committed stealing of various property of Housing Operations Directorate of Moscow Military District. The stolen and later sold property included more than 100 units of equipment – KamAZ, Ural, ZIL, MAZ cars, more than 30 units of special equipment – various autohydraulic hoists, water sprinklers, repairs and water supply vehicles, more than 10 thousand sets of automobile tires, more than a thousand accumulators, more than 30 car engines. In all, they caused to the state losses of over 127 million rubles. The criminal case had 270 volumes which amounted to more than 67 thousand pages. And such cases for Western Military District are not uncommon…

The above mentioned persons were sentenced to long times in prison. During the investigation it was possible to compensate 75 million rubles of damage.

This June the investigator of Western Military District Military Investigation Directorate Major of Justice Sabotakhin sent to the Tambov Garrison Military Court an especially urgent and stirring a great response of Federal and local media criminal case against Chief of Staff – Deputy Head of 4th State Center of Air Training and Troops Tests of RF Defense Ministry Colonel Kovalsky and Air Group Personnel Executive Colonel Sidorenko. They were charged with a crime under paragraph “c” of part 3 of article 286 of RF Criminal Code. Knowing for sure that in accordance with provisions of the order by Defense Minister № 400-А of 17.12.2009 “On supplementary pay-outs to officers doing military service in associations, formations and military units of RF Armed Forces in 2010” their subordinate officers in 2010 would receive monthly supplementary pay-outs, they from March 2010 to January 2011 forced their subordinates to give them a part of the pay-outs every month. As a result, officers of flight personnel suffered a property damage of 7.8 million rubles. I don’t even mention moral damage…

A similar case against Chief of Staff - Deputy Head of 4th State Center of Air Training and Troops Tests of RF Defense Ministry Lieutenant Colonel Li, who had extorted money from militants, was sent to the Tambov Garrison Military Court.

The investigator of Western Military District Military Investigation Directorate Lieutenant Colonel of Justice Igor Spichka has solved a criminal case against a former military commissar of Novgorod Region Colonel Nevmerzhitsky who had committed crimes under part 1 of article 286 and part 3 of article 290 of RF Criminal Code. It was found that between 2006 and 2009 the officer illegally released from conscription 173 people and took a bribe for making fictitious military IDs. Leningrad Military District Court convicted him and took away his military rank.

This June Saint-Petersburg Garrison Military Investigation Directorate sent to the court a criminal case against a commander of military unit 44551 Colonel Karavaev, who is not only a military official, but a Deputy of Deputies Council of municipality of Kuyvozovsky rural settlement Vsevolozhsky municipal district of Leningrad Region. The Deputy is charged with a bribe-taking of 102 thousand rubles…

In July Saint-Petersburg garrison Military Investigative Department sent to the court a criminal case against former Head of 112th Department of Capital Construction of 6th Air Forces and Defense army Lieutenant Colonel Shishov charged with a crime under paragraph “c” of part 3 of article 286 of RF Criminal Code. Shishov, being an official, responsible for correct planning and spending of budgetary funds allocated for capital construction of a 44-apartment house for servicemen in the town of Tosno of Leningrad Region, made and signed forged documents to pay for building work by OOO Vistal (LC), which was not carried out. As a result 27.9 million rubles was illegally transferred to the commercial organization.

Believe me, there are quite enough of such crimes and there is not time enough to name all of them…

- What do you consider an essential condition of successful battling against crimes in the army?

- First of all, as I always say, it is a prevention work jointly with prosecutor’s office, command of district and military units. In the first place such work is carried out in military units with problems in military discipline and order and institutions of all categories of servicemen. Depending on the audience we discuss issues of protection of life and health of servicemen in the army, prevention of acts of violence, assaults and batteries among the servicemen, dodging the draft. As a separate preventive measure we have private conversations with servicemen prone to violation of the army discipline. We regularly have weeks of law knowledge and months of prevention of different kinds of crimes. During preliminary investigation of almost all criminal cases investigators by all means establish circumstances promoting the crime, on the bases of which the investigators give mandatory instructions for competent officials.

Vice-Chairman of Investigative Committee – Head of Main Military Investigation Directorate General Colonel of Justice Alexander Sorochkin has set a task to from maximum trust of public to investigating bodies. Each investigating body has a reception, where any person can apply directly to the SK Chairman. Heads of military investigating bodies regularly receive people. I personally as Head of Western Military District Military Investigations Directorate systematically go to the departments of the district and meet with people who come with different problems. And I demand to do the same from my subordinates. The internet reception of the District Directorate operates round-the clock on the site of Main Military Investigation Directorate. As a result of this work the number of citizens’ appeals has increased by half. All this shows increase in the trust to military investigation bodies.

I would like to add that leadership of Western Military District Military Investigations Directorate pays a lot of attention to informing people about our work through reporting by press, Internet, radio and television about investigation of all urgent criminal cases, and pre-investigation checks especially those stirring wide public response. To this end we have constant relations with media. In the first half of 2012 military investigation bodies made more than 780 statements in media. More than half of them were in the Internet. We actively use information capabilities of sites of Investigative Committee and Main Military Investigation Directorate. There were more than 50 statements on radio and TV.

The results of our work do not give us reasons to complacency. Enlarged meetings of Investigative Committee, Main Military Investigation Directorate and Western Military District Military Investigations Directorate held this July summed up performance in the first half of 2012. Additional measures to improve efficiency of investigators were worked out. We certainly do see what we seek to achieve. And thanks to reserves we will try hard to work efficiently, open and understandable for the citizens of our country.