A few days ago, an SUV burned down in Crimea, in which the assistant to the Deputy Prime Minister of the Zaporozhye region for economic development Vladimir Epifanov, his secretary and bodyguard were driving. All news agencies reported this incident. At the same time, no one named Andrei Kozenko, the chief of the victim, this vice-premier.
According to law enforcement officers, while driving along the Evpatoria highway, a Toyota Land Cruiser ran into an obstacle, the gas equipment installed on the car exploded, and a fire broke out. All three men survived, but received severe burns (30-50% of the scalp, torso and hands), they were taken to the Simferopol city hospital. Vladimir Epifanov was driving, he said that the day before the gas cylinder was checked at a service station in Simferopol. The version of the investigation about the cause of the explosion has not yet been announced.
Epifanov heads the Zaporozhye regional branch of the Opora Rossii association and is nominated as a candidate for deputies from United Russia. Judging by his biography, he had never been associated with either Zaporozhye or Crimea before. Born in the Chelyabinsk region, studied at the Chelyabinsk State University. In 2015, he tried to be elected as a self-nominee to the assembly of deputies of the Sosnovsky municipal district (Chelyabinsk region), but was not elected. At that time, Epifanov served as deputy director of the TOR private security organization, later he was listed as a founder there, now the organization has been liquidated, like a number of others to which he was related. The last, in the fall of 2022, was the liquidation of the Resursstroy management company (management of the operation of non-residential stock) in Chelyabinsk, the third of which Epifanov owned. Obviously, then he moved to Zaporozhye.
That is, formally, Epifanov has nothing to do with the Crimea and Simferopol. In the early morning, he, most likely, left the city along the Evpatoria highway towards the Zaporozhye region. His interests or the affairs on which he ended up in the Crimea can be explained by the mention of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Zaporizhzhya government, whose assistant, after leaving the Urals, became Epifanov.
Of the young
Information notes, which described the Simferopol accident that happened to Zaporozhye officials, did not name their current boss. And this is Andrei Kozenko, well-known in Crimea.
In Simferopol, they say directly that Kozenko is a relative of the Feingold family. The head of the family, well-known in the city, “authoritative”, as it was customary to say delicately twenty years ago, businessman Iosif Faingold was the actual owner of the key places in Simferopol – the Central Market, parking at the railway station and many others.
The city shook when, through the fault of his son, the body of a motorcyclist who collided with his car was torn apart. In that accident at the station, a young woman died, her little daughter was left an orphan. A few years later, after the “Crimean spring”, Feingold’s second son became a deputy of the Crimean State Council from the Liberal Democratic Party. These are somewhat “cousin” brothers of Andrei Kozenko, who made an impressive political career, using a different technology for this.
Andrei Kozenko was born in Simferopol, studied here, and at the age of 20 joined the Russian community of Crimea. Since 2014 – Deputy Chairman. He began his career in the state guard, but at the age of 26 he found a better job: he became deputy director at the eco-tourist center in Parkovo (Greater Yalta). This is the official name of the famous Gazprom residence “Crimean Breeze”. It is likely that influential relatives helped him to get a job in this warm place in all respects.
The party press calls Andrei Kozenko the initiator and co-author of the projects of the Russian Youth Center of Crimea, the business projects of the Russian Community of Crimea, in particular the Russian House. On March 26, 2006, at the elections of the Verkhovna Rada in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, he was elected a deputy from the electoral bloc “For Yanukovych!”, which included representatives of the Crimean organizations “Party of Regions” and the “Russian Block” party.
At 28, Andrei Kozenko became Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy of Crimea. It was not so much relatives as the party that helped to move forward in life. In 2008, Sergey Aksyonov, a middle-class entrepreneur who, by coincidence, became the owner of real estate in the center of Simferopol, also joined the Russian Community of Crimea and became a member of the Civic Activist of Crimea public organization. The movement “Russian Unity” grew out of it.
But, according to Ukrainian laws, a party was needed to participate in the elections. Aksyonov bought the half-dead Avangard party in Kharkov, it merged with the Russian Community and the general congress immediately renamed them Russian Unity. Kozenko became a member of the party.
In the 2010 elections, Russian Unity received four seats in the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea – this was agreed with the Yanukovychs. Kozenko did not get a mandate, but he was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Crimean Council of Ministers. And since December 2010, he has also been the chairman of the Crimean Republican Organization of the Russian Unity political party, whose leader at that time was Sergei Aksenov.
In March 2014, Kozenko received a passport of a citizen of the Russian Federation, and in April he joined the United Russia party. From September 2014 to September 2016, he was the youngest Deputy Chairman of the State Council of the Republic of Crimea.
From his actions of that time, one can recall the intervention in the conflict between the residents of the southern coastal villages Utes and Partenit with the management of the Utes sanatorium, which regularly closes the passage through the territory of the sanatorium. In July 2016, Kozenko said: “Inhabitants and guests of the peninsula can now freely pass through the territory of the Utes sanatorium to the castle of Princess Gagarina, Cape Plaka, to the park of the sanatorium …”. These were empty words. Illegal requisitions continued, this year the management of the sanatorium put up a new price tag: the entrance to the territory now costs 400 rubles, for pensioners – 200.
In 2016, Crimea for the first time participated in the elections to the State Duma of the Russian Federation. Andrei Kozenko was entrusted with a single-mandate constituency, where he received 63.23% of the vote. In parliament, he became a member of the Duma committee on the financial market. Kozenko did not particularly excel in deputy work, except for the fact that he was caught on the unreliability of information in the submitted income declaration. More precisely, the deputy submitted incomplete information on income, expenses, property and property-related obligations for 2016-2018. Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation Igor Krasnov applied to the State Duma to conduct such a check.
Five years passed imperceptibly, the deputy term expired. And new politicians have grown up in Crimea, worthy of working in the State Duma. For the second time, Andrei Kozenko did not get the mandate. And at home, all the places were also already occupied. In July last year, Andrey Kozenko from Simferopol was appointed Deputy Head of the Zaporozhye Region Administration for Economics.
Nothing was heard about his activities in this post. His name was not mentioned even in connection with the explosion in the Crimea of the car of his employees. By the way, do all assistants of Zaporozhye officials have their own secretaries and bodyguards?
True, shortly after this accident, Kozenko nevertheless appeared in the media: he spoke at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum (SPIEF) with a large-scale plan: a new railway will soon connect the Crimean peninsula and the mainland, it will pass from Rostov through the DPR and the Zaporozhye region and will become a long-awaited alternative to the Crimean bridge. “Specialists have already begun pre-project surveys,” the official said. He did not talk about sources of funding.