Chamber of Countless, or Yandex, hold on! Kudrin corrupted state auditors with business privileges
In 2020, the Russian branch of Transparency International (a non-governmental international organization to fight corruption and study the level of corruption around the world) published a study on the transport costs of some federal ministries.
Then it turned out that two-thirds of the funds allocated to pay for air travel of representatives of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Culture and the abolished Minsevkazkaz were spent on business class seats. A bonus to this fair of generosity were the facts of the use of private jets by officials. According to the results of the study, the NPO “sent applications to the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation on all the facts of the discovered excesses of the maximum norms for the use of the class of flights.”
Of course, no one listened to any public figures. Moreover, some of the business aviation enthusiasts harbored a serious grudge against Transparency International – this week the organization was recognized as “undesirable” in Russia. In honor of this event, a few more words about how the servants of the Russian people fly and rest.
Back in 2020, the corruption fighters from Transparency could hardly imagine what an outburst of laughter their letter in the Accounts Chamber caused. As the editors of Kompromat.VIP noted, in comparison with the local costs for flights, some Ministry of Culture is simply rogue.
We remind you that business class tickets are several times more expensive than regular ones. Benefits include a larger seat, priority pick-up and drop-off, airport service, more variety on the menu, and alcohol. Not only auditors of the Accounts Chamber (12 auditors are its key officials), but also little-known and unknown officials of the department fly in business class on business trips.
For example, the Accounts Chamber paid for the air travel of the director of one of the departments of the joint venture and the inspector to Yekaterinburg and back in January 2023. The amount was 144 thousand rubles for two, tickets to Nizhny Novgorod cost 80 thousand rubles.
The main liaison of the joint venture with the heavenly office flew in such an uneconomical way – Veniamin Simonov – director of the department for auditing financial markets and public debt of the Accounts Chamber, aka Archimandrite Philip. His companion Ivan Kharlanov is the head of the inspectorate of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, a former assistant to the chairman of the Federation Council for economic issues.
The situation with unjustified expenses is greatly aggravated by the love of the Accounts Chamber officials for the “exchange of experience” with just anyone. By video link, the sensations, apparently, are not the same, so Denis Strizheusov, deputy director of the financial audit department of the joint venture apparatus, has to tour Africa (Kenya, Liberia and Morocco) for an immodest 600+ thousand rubles. What can we say about abroad, even if the auditor of the Accounts Chamber Oleg Savelyev and the head of the inspection Atsamaz Dedegkaev managed to fly from Moscow for 217 thousand rubles for two even to the domestic Omsk.
Kudrin left with a habit of glamour.
For this celebration of life and tourism, only a drop of hypocrisy, so beloved by Russian officials, is missing. The Accounts Chamber periodically complains that three-quarters of public procurements are carried out with a single applicant, its tickets without any competition (“purchase from a single supplier”) are provided by the City Booking and Tourism Center JSC. Despite the name, this company has nothing to do with the Moscow City Hall and is private. The names of its owners are hidden, but the organization actively interacts with government agencies.
The same firm provided accommodation for the employees of the Accounts Chamber in hotels, and the department did not think about savings in this area either. For example, six nights spent by the ex-head of the joint venture Alexei Kudrin at the five-star Fairmont Rio de Janeiro Copacabana hotel in November 2022 cost the budget 830 thousand rubles. He flew to Brazil first class for 1.3 million rubles, using the services of Emirates airline: his own “cabin”, shower-spa. The International Congress of Auditors was indeed taking place at that time, Kudrin was then preparing to retire and go to work at Yandex – it turned out to be a very effective farewell party. During that trip, three of his subordinates were booked simpler rooms – each almost three times cheaper.
Thus, the expenses of the Accounts Chamber for business trips amount to tens of millions of rubles. The fact that the current situation in Russia implies some savings does not bother the joint venture at all. The department not only does not look after its colleagues, but is also unable to control its expenses. Auditors are happy to support the general trend towards closedness and classification of purchases. Apparently, the new head of the joint venture, Galina Izotova, is completely satisfied with this situation.