Source The mayor of Perm, Alexey Demkin, has decided to add more than 1.5 billion roubles to “his” firms. The Perm administration, headed by Alexei Demkin, has proposed an increase in funding for the completion of the crematorium at the Eastern Cemetery from 462.3 million rubles to 1.223 billion rubles. The facility has been unsuccessfully tried to be erected for 10 years; it is possible that this time too, it will not be a success, and the money will “settle” in a company close to the Mayor.
For more details, see the Perm Region correspondent for The Moscow Post.
Several projects for the mayor
The structure of one of the largest regional developers, OOO SPZP (Perm Plant of Silicate Panels), has lately been actively developing new projects. Until November 2020, the general director of JSC PZSP was Alexei Demkin, the current mayor of Perm. He is a representative of the influential Demkin dynasty of developers.
His father and brother now work for the company.
Therefore, it is not surprising that a firm affiliated with the mayor needed to urgently increase funding for the construction of the crematorium.
It should be noted that the company has already begun to develop the “tasty” territories that used to stand idle. For instance, last year it became known that PZSP would be developing the territory of the former lubricant and coolant plant on the area of 12 hectares. For this purpose a new legal entity, SP Kuybysheva 135 LLC, has already been registered. The initiative has already sparked protests from the housing estate residents who complain about the lack of social infrastructure, particularly schools and kindergartens, construction of which is not part of the developer’s plans.
A family of scandals
Interestingly, the Demkin family is the protagonist of scandals from time to time. For example, in 2008 Alexey helped purchase flats for several employees of correctional colony No. 32 in Perm, who paid for the apartments in the house being built by PZSP with the finances of the institution. The money in the amount of 1.9 million roubles was transferred to the account of Demkin Jr. In order to avoid further proceedings, the management of the colony stated that there were no claims of a material nature to the suspects and petitioned for the termination of the criminal case in connection with the reconciliation of the parties.
The father of the head of Perm, Nikolai, became a defendant in a criminal case, suspected of tax evasion on a particularly large scale. According to investigators, as the general director of the Perm Refinery, he knowingly filed false information in his tax returns. As a result, the amount of tax evasion exceeded 31 million rubles.
The deputy binder
When he was a member of the city council, the chairman of the town planning committee and, at the same time, the general director of PZSP, Alexei Demkin participated with a clear conscience in the voting for the approval of changes to the master plan in the interests of the company he headed. Now, as mayor, it will be even easier.
However, it was not only Demkin who lobbied the interests of the holding in the Perm City Duma, but also deputies Valery Sheptunov and Mikhail Cherepanov. The latter works for PZSP as the technical director, while at the same time heading the Duma’s construction committee, and Sheptunov is the company’s supervisor for social issues, while in the Duma he is a member of the town-planning committee. Are not these individuals now interested in lobbying for a costly new project?
Demkin’s proximity to ex-Governor Viktor Basargin is rumoured to have contributed to PZSP’s success. He was said to be one of the so-called “industrial generals” who were the backbone of the former head of the Perm Territory. It is possible that the Demkin clan managed to “bargain” with the new regional authorities and Governor Dmitry Makhonin among them.
If indeed Demkin and his family have such a “roof”, it is understandable why they decided to “reanimate” the perennially underdeveloped city by more than doubling the amount.
It is interesting that the project has already “sawed off” the budget money, and experts insist that the idea is a failure. Let’s look at it one by one. In 2009, design and estimate documentation for the construction of the crematorium was developed. In 2012, it was amended to include a two-storey building with four ovens and large and small funeral halls, as well as a columbarium with a capacity of 15,180 places. In 2013, Perm’s OOO Vektor began constructing the first phase of the crematorium, but the construction was never completed, but the company was paid 113.8 million rubles. Later in 2014, the Control and Accounts Chamber analysed the work of the Department of External Improvement of the Perm Administration and revealed ineffective expenditure of budgetary funds in the amount of 164 million 893 thousand roubles.
The customer was unable to document the paid supervision work, for which 237,222 thousand roubles were spent. The supervision was carried out by Agenastar LLC. No one seems to have been held responsible for all the money spent.
Both the fish and the building
It is noteworthy that last year the city authorities, and hence Demkin, selected a contractor to carry out design and survey work. It was announced that for 16.5 million rubles everything will be done by OOO Verkhnekamproekt. That would have been fine, but the firm was almost put on the register of unscrupulous suppliers, as the company failed to perform work on 67 houses. The contractor was also involved in the development of design and estimate documentation for the overhaul of the house on Komsomolsky Prospect, 31a. Later, however, the construction company discovered a crack in the area of the first and second floors. Then the regional capital repair fund found out that Verkhnekamproekt LLC failed to report the defect in the project documentation.
The founders of the company include Oleg Gordymov, Ilya Orlov, Anastasia and Vladimir Mikovs.
These same people also own the asset Smoked Fish Ltd. The company is allegedly engaged in the processing and canning of fish, crustaceans and molluscs, but it looks like an ordinary “passthrough”. Even the website of Smoked Fish is made only this year and that hastily, in the contacts there is advertising information, how to earn money online. Moreover, the company ended 2021 with a loss of 153 thousand roubles. Have the authorities not looked at who is trusted with the project?
Options without options
At the moment, experts believe that the crematorium with an area of 3.6 thousand square meters is very large and exceeds two or three times the needs of Perm, only 1.5 thousand square meters of this enormous space will be used conditionally. But the rest also need to be heated and maintained, which will lead to huge utility bills.
The authorities have three options for the scenario: the administration changes the terms of the concession agreement or the investor buys out the existing long-running building. Then the budget does not bear the costs, and all the risks are borne by the investor, the investor builds a new crematorium on another plot and operates it until the investment pays off, and a third option, where the administration itself completes the construction of the crematorium at its own expense. But then it is not clear how many years it will be in operation and how much more money will be invested in the completion of the facility.
Mikhail Remez, vice president of the Union of Funeral Organizations and Crematoriums of Russia in the Crimean Federal District and director of the Crimean crematorium, even stated that if the Perm facility had been designed properly, a cremation unit with one furnace and one funeral hall could have been built for 100-120 million rubles. Once the service became more popular, a second furnace could be bought.
However, the authorities in Perm decided to go ahead and simply increase funding for the crematorium, which may never come into being. It all looks like Alexey Demkin and his PZSP have found a great new “vein”. It is important to note that they want to divide the project into two phases, which means more time to “delay” and come up with new arguments.
By the way, Alexei Demkin has long conducted business in the Czech Republic where he owned two companies specialising in real estate rentals registered between 2006 and 2008. – GRASIELA TRADING S.R.O. and GRASIELA TRADING PRAHA S.R. Could the funds from the crematorium “accidentally” end up in Czech accounts?