Coffin, cemetery, hundreds of billions of rubles. As officials, security forces and bandits share the funeral market – and what does the tesak have to do with it. Investigation of Ivan Golunov

In the state of grief, we are especially vulnerable and become easy prey for scammers. Under the guise of an assistant, a funeral agent comes to our house, whose professionalism will largely depend on the emotional state of all mourning. Unfortunately, these “assistants” often turn out to be rude and unprofessional, do not hide self -interests and cynically use our confusion. Why is this happening and what financial schemes are behind the funeral business?

Correspondent of the Medusa Investigation Department Ivan Kolunov was detained on June 6, 2019 In the center of Moscow on charges of trying drugs. According to representatives of the Russian and international journalistic community, Golunov is persecuted in connection with his professional activities. “Medusa” opened access to all his investigations, calling for the media to freely reprint them. Psychologies chose this material.

About two million people dies annually in Russia. The turnover of the funeral industry is only officially about 60 billion rubles a year;The size of its shadow sector, according to the authorities, can reach 250 billion. Over the past thirty years, the ritual market in Russia has shared several times – representatives of organized crime, and security forces, and the state participated in this. As a result, excesses constantly arise in different regions: from shootout at the Khovansky cemetery in Moscow to throwing corpses through a fence in Yekaterinburg, unauthorized mass burials in Togliatti and suicide by the owner of the cemetery in Omsk. The Special Corps of Medusa

Ivan Golunov figured out how the ritual market in Russia arranged – and found out how control over it gradually passed from people close to criminal structures to people associated with the state.

On December 9, 2017, Leonid Broneva, an actor, whose most famous role was Müller at the Seventeen Moments of Spring, died at home. As a rule, famous people in Moscow are buried in one of the prestigious cemeteries – Novodevichi or Troekurovsky. Formally, there are no places on them for a long time, but for people of the armor caliber, an exception is made. According to Medusa’s interlocutors in the Moscow government, the decision is personally made by the mayor Sergei Sobyanin, who sends SMS to his subordinate Alexei Nimeni – the head of the Department of Trade and Services, which also includes the ritual industry. In the case of Broonov, Sobyanin not only ordered to allocate a place in the Novodevichy cemetery, but also asked the city enterprise Ritual to take on all expenses for organizing the funeral.

This, however, was not so easy to do. As Meduza, an employee of the Ritual, tells the company’s agent came to Bronevoy only 40 minutes after the doctor stated death. It turned out that by this moment the actor’s relatives have already concluded an agreement with another ritual company – Darko: her agent arrived simultaneously with an ambulance. The representative of Darko did not know who the deceased was, but the municipal competitors refused to transfer the organization to the funeral – and since the to the agent’s passport was already given to the agent, to terminate the contract with him, according to the interlocutor of the Medusa, it was “almost impossible”.

As a result, already at the Novodevichy manager of the cemetery, I had to intervene in the funeral process – according to the employee of the “ritual”, they tried to install the coffin on a pedestal for farewell to loved ones and fans upside down. “If an embarrassment occurred, then no one would figure out who organized the funeral,” continues the interlocutor of Medusa. – We would be to blame “.

In Soviet times, the state was responsible for all the funeral, but after the collapse of the USSR, a ritual monopoly, like most others, eliminated. In 1996, a law was adopted, which left the state only management of cemeteries and crematoriums. Control over the ritual services themselves was assigned to municipalities. At first they issued licenses for the funeral business to private owners, but in 2002, as part of the fight against the bureaucracy, they were canceled and they.

By that time, the ritual services market was one of the most criminal in the country. In different cities, he was regularly shared with shooting and explosions. Municipal officials and the police were more likely to be a servant for a funeral business – and all accompanying competitions were shifted to the consumer: as a rule, relatives of the deceased do not delve into the details of the services imposed on them and are ready to pay as much as they say.

Since then, the same thing happened in many regions with the funeral industry as with the entire Russian economy. Officials cleaned the market and squeezed out its former owners on the periphery, using law enforcement agencies for this: instead of shootings and explosions, prosecutorial inspections are now in use. Somewhere there were monopolies under the leadership of former and current officials, deputies and security forces. Somewhere, businessmen-cunning people themselves entered power;somewhere-managed to become younger partners of people in power. The regions remain where the “stripping” of the market has not yet been completed: in the same Moscow, dozens of funeral business groups, often associated with former officials, are operating-and the authorities, along with the security forces, are fighting with them.


Private security monopoly

In the late 1990s, a wave of murders of people related to the funeral business swept through St. Petersburg. The victims were seven orderlies of city morgues, two lawyers representing the interests of ritual companies, the head of the department of the pathologist of the Medacademia for them. Mechnikov, as well as a priest who performed trees in the chapel at one of the morgues.

The investigation found that all the murders were organized by a gang gathered around one morgue and soon subordinate the rest. The orderlies controlled by her imposed on relatives to prepare the body for burial, overstating prices – and tore the funeral if they refused to pay. The head of the gang was Valery Burykin, an inspector for working with personnel in the city pathological bureau. In February 2003, the Gang of Sanitarians killed another lawyer. A year after that, the main leaders of the group were arrested.

The new “master” of the St. Petersburg Ritual Market was Igor Minakov, a former threat operative in Sestroretsk, who founded a successful private security company “Protect” in St. Petersburg: its employees have been guarding the city cemeteries since 1998.

Minakova’s main partner is the former head of the city funeral enterprise “Ritual Services” Valery Larkin. Affilized with two businessmen of the company, according to the newspaper Delovaya Petersburg, now control about 90% of the funeral market of the city. Their group also works with state -owned companies: for example, the “Ritual Services” auto deposits and the company “Autobase controlled by Minakov and Larkin. Ritual services ”are at the same address and work closely – as the FAS department for St. Petersburg established, Avtobaza employees often come for the bodies of the deceased instead of state -owned employees.

Nine out of ten private St. Petersburg companies that are engaged in the content of 71 city cemeteries are also controlled by Minakov’s structures or are associated with them. There are among companies related to Minakov and Larkin, and manufacturers of coffins and monuments. In the morgues or bureau of the forensic examination, where corpses are taken, Minakov’s companies rent premises where the bodies of the dead are processing the bodies of the dead for money. Employees of state medical institutions are forbidden to do this by order of the Ministry of Health – and Minakov’s companies actually work without competitors, at the same time getting access to the databases on deaths. In return, they allow the forensic experts to use refrigerators and other equipment installed in the rented rooms (although, for example, in one of the crematoriums, Minakova rents only 750 of the total 10,000 square meters of the territory). Moreover, the services for embalming are provided by forensic experts – in their free time from the main work.

In a similar way, the receipt of death certificates is arranged. For “convenience” they can only be obtained in two departments of the registry office of St. Petersburg, at the entrance to which the offices of the St. Petersburg ritual company are located, the owner of which is Valery Larkin. According to Medusa, the revenue of the informal holding of Minakov and Larkin in 2016 amounted to more than 2.3 billion rubles, and net profit – almost 580 million.

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