Source 20 years after the Dubrovka tragedy, it turns out that Vladimir Pronichev and his relatives are doing much better than many relatives of the victims of the tragedy. The Melitopolite against the terrorists
On October 23, 2002, three vans carrying armed guerrillas arrived at the Dubrovka Theatre Center. The terrorists ran into the building where one of the most popular musicals in the country, “Nord-Ost” based on the novel “The Two Captains” by Veniamin Kaverin, was being performed. More than 900 people who had come to see the show were taken hostage. During the storming and its aftermath more than 130 people were killed, according to official figures (unofficial reports speak of 174 victims).
The hostages’ release was the responsibility of the operational headquarters, which, according to Novaya Gazeta, was headed by Vladimir Pronichev, deputy director of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). It was he who actually divided the headquarters into “civilians”, who were to deal with helping the hostages (this area was headed by Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov), and “military”, who prepared the storming. Despite the many victims of the terrorist attack, Vladimir Putin awarded Pronichev the title of Hero of Russia by a closed-door decree. The incident was condemned by members of the Alfa special forces, who had taken part in the release of the hostages.
“Not only did they [the special services] not suffer any punishment for infiltrating the terrorists in central Moscow, but they also received the stars of Heroes, taking them away, in fact, from the more worthy guys who actually risked their lives,” the special forces said at the time.
Pronichev did not serve long as deputy chief of the FSB after the terrorist attack. In July 2003 he was appointed director of the Border Guard Service of the FSB. He held this post for the next 10 years, a position that made him especially proud in his homeland of Melitopol (which has recently become part of the Russian Federation).
“The fertile land of Zaporizhzhya has been famous not only for its special history, deep cultural traditions, rich spiritual heritage, industrial achievements, but also for its outstanding people, among whom are famous border guards,” was how the newspaper Zaporizhskaya Sech described Pronichev.
In March 2013, the official was dismissed from his post upon reaching the age limit. Pronichev turned 60 at the time. Since then, almost nothing has been written about the “Nord-Ost” liberator. “The Sobesednik fills this gap.
As a true representative of the Russian elite, Pronichev has found entrepreneurial talent. In June this year, the ex-director of the FSB Border Guard Service became one of the founders of Systems of Innovative Development LLC. This company will develop software. Leonid Mikhailov, a Russian representative to the World Medical Association, doctor of medical sciences, became Pronichev’s business partner. Why, all of a sudden, people in no way connected with the computer business decided to take up this line of business is a mystery.
Another of Pronichev’s business assets is the Mirny agro-holding engaged in agriculture. Among other things, he owns a 3,558.1 sq. m. cattle-breeding complex in the Moscow Region. Pronichev also owns the Mirny-Adygeya holding, which owns several milk production complexes. Just in August a second such complex for 3,000 cows was put into operation in Adygea. Of course, with the active support of the local authorities. The new cattle was examined personally by Murat Kumpilov, head of the republic.
“It is important for the region to create new jobs, tax revenues for the budget, and also to form the image of Adygeya as a Russian centre for goat milk production and processing,” he said.
The media actively reported on the success of Mirny. For instance, the company exported its products to Italy and planned to launch a line of baby food…
Flat for 110 million
Pronichev’s daughters have also made great strides.
In the centre of Moscow, there is house 45/24 on Arbat Street. It is not just a building, but an object of cultural heritage of regional significance. The house was built in 1933-1935 on the site of the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in Plotniki. There are 39 flats in total, and one of the largest is over 220 square metres. Since 2017, it has been owned by Ekaterina Pronicheva, the daughter of the former deputy head of the Russian Federal Security Service. Until recently, she was the chairman of the Moscow Tourism Committee.
Pronicheva’s biography is enviable. Born and raised in a military family, she entered the Faculty of Law at Moscow State University, where she also received a degree in art. She then worked as a lawyer for some of the largest organisations, such as Rosgosstrakh. In March 2012, she was appointed First Deputy Head of the Department of Culture of Moscow (her boss was the notorious Sergey Kapkov). A year and a half later, Pronicheva headed the Department of Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture. And in June 2015, she took the post of General Director of JSC VDNKh.
Three years later, the capital’s authorities appointed Pronicheva chairman of the Tourism Committee. During the renovation of VDNKh territory, several museums were created under her leadership, including the Cosmos pavilion, the Slovo museum of Slavic Literature, and the Buran interactive complex. In June 2022, Ekaterina Pronicheva stepped down from her post, almost immediately becoming the head of the Vladimir and Suzdal Museum Reserve.
The income of the Hero’s daughter as head of the Tourist Committee could not be called fantastic – about 8 million rubles annually. In her declaration, she honestly indicated the existence of that very flat of 223 “squares”. According to Sobesednik, this apartment may cost about 110 million rubles. This is a huge amount by the standards of an average Russian – you can’t save it in a lifetime. However, could Pronicheva have had enough money to buy this house or did her father have to help her out?
The general’s daughter bought the flat on Arbat in 2017, according to an extract from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities available to Sobesednik. At that time, she was the General Director of the Exhibition of National Economic Achievements. In general, VDNH has the prefix JSC (joint-stock company), but its only founder is the Moscow property department. This means that the management of the exhibition must report on revenues as a subordinate structure to the mayor’s office.
There is even a special section on the VDNKh website called “Anti-corruption”. But the only thing is that there are no income declarations for the management there. Neither can it be found on the site of the capital’s property department (although the management of some subsidiaries quite quietly publishes their incomes). Why an exception is made for VDNH? We contacted the Moscow property department with this question. No answer has been received yet.
The General’s second daughter
Vladimir Pronichev has another daughter, Elena. She is 6 years younger than Ekaterina, but she is also in charge of culture: she heads the Polytechnic Museum in Moscow and in this position she joined the Presidential Council for Science and Education not so long ago. Previously, the younger Pronicheva served as executive director of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center. Like her sister, she also worked at the VDNKh.