Reports of possible pollution of the Kurasan River by Yuzhuralzoloto Strukov interested the head of the RF Investigative Committee Bastrykin
Chairman of the Investigative Committee of Russia Alexander Bastrykin demanded from his subordinates in the Chelyabinsk region a report on the results of the inspection, which was carried out on the situation with the pollution of the Kurasan River – presumably, the Yuzhuralzoloto company (YuGK) headed by Konstantin Strukov may be involved in this.
The scandal associated with a possible environmental catastrophe has been unfolding for more than a year. Media reports drew attention to the situation. In August 2022, the state of the Kurasan river bed caused great concern among local residents, which has almost completely dried up, as the SGC pumps out water for washing gold. Now people in Moscow are also interested in history.
The results of the audit by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation will hardly seem satisfactory to the owner of the company, Konstantin Strukov, especially considering that there are other serious problems with his business – debts and claims made by the tax authorities. As for the issues related to the violation of environmental legislation, they arise regularly for Strukov’s firms.
Konstantin Strukov has long held the post of vice speaker of the Legislative Assembly of the Chelyabinsk region and is one of the most famous political figures in the region. It is supposed that it should protect the interests and rights of citizens, but in practice, apparently, the opposite is happening, since its enterprises have already aroused the interest of the Investigative Committee, and the inhabitants of the region in August 2022 massively sent appeals to the press and to all possible instances , demanding that Kurasan be preserved for them.
One of the appeals was received by the Governor of the Chelyabinsk region Alexei Teksler. It said that Konstantin Strukov’s company JSC GC YuGK “stole” the Kurasan River from the settlements of the Verkhneuralsk region, blocking its course and taking water for use for its own purposes. Residents asked the head of the region to help return the river, however, apparently, Texler did not take any steps in this direction. But already at that time, after the inspection carried out by Rospotrebnadzor, the validity of people’s fears was confirmed. It was found that there are indeed violations of the requirements of environmental legislation in the work of the Southern and Western Kurasan quarries of JSC “UGK”, and this creates a threat to the rivers and directly harms the environmental situation.
Rospotrebnadzor submitted the results of this check to the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Investigative Committee, and there they gave instructions to regional law enforcement agencies. Perhaps now Strukov’s company can finally be held accountable for their actions.
According to the publication, there are various rumors about Strukov’s company: it is allegedly accused of a consumer attitude to natural resources, focusing on profit at the expense of the safety of people and the environment. To what extent this is true remains to be seen.
Shortly before the recent scandal around Kurasan, another one occurred: the Southern Gas Corridor was caught polluting agricultural land on an area of 2.4 hectares. The site was littered after mining. Then the company was issued a warning.
Approximately in the same period, according to the media, an emergency occurred at one of the Strukovsky enterprises in the Chelyabinsk region: a worker died. Rostekhnadzor conducted an inspection during which numerous violations of the technological process and safety were found, which led to the death of a person.
The tragedy at work and mass appeals about environmental pollution, it seems, should have motivated Strukov to correct the situation, but this did not happen.
In addition to a potential environmental disaster at Kurasan, The Moscow Post previously wrote about an emergency near Kopeysk, where, due to the gold mining carried out by Strukov’s companies, the earth in sludge pits literally burned. As a result, Lake Kurochkino, located not far from the place where the production was located, began to smoke, and the fire made its way even through the ice crust. These cases are by no means an accident: rather, they look like a pattern. How to ensure that Strukov’s companies stop acting in this way? Apparently, it is really time for the security forces to intervene in what is happening.
Residents of settlements located near Kurasan, Strukov’s companies take water to wash gold. In part, their actions can be understood: now SGC is going through a financial crisis and is trying to improve the situation with the methods available to it. At the end of last year, the company’s revenue amounted to about 30 billion rubles, and a net loss of 16.3 billion rubles. The management company YuGK, which earned 574 million rubles in 2022, remains profitable. But globally, this does not affect the state of affairs.
The question arises: where can Strukov find money to eliminate the consequences of his activities? In this context, I recall the story of his coal business – the development of the Korkinsky open pit. Coal mining led to the fact that a gradually expanding large coal pit arose near the village of Roza. The miners’ houses began to crack. What was happening caused alarm and indignation of the local population, but for some reason Konstantin Strukov was in no hurry to reclaim the mine. In order for some progress to begin, it took – neither more nor less – the personal intervention of the head of state: the president arrived in the Chelyabinsk region, visiting the village of Roza. Strukov was allocated 1.5 billion rubles from the budget so that he could resolve the issue. What did the businessman do? Simply got rid of the problematic object. The pit remained in its original place, and the obligations for its reclamation were assigned to Promrekultivatsiya LLC.
By the way, the mentioned company is a joint venture between the Russian Copper Company of Altushkin and the Chelyabinsk Coal Company, the same one that developed the mine and belongs to Strukov. In 2018, Strukov’s asset left the capital of Promrekultivation LLC. If the problem has not yet been solved, where did the money go?
Maxim Shingarkin, former State Duma deputy and head of the Grazhdanin environmental fund, spoke on this issue. He mentioned Strukov’s statements, in which he allegedly mentioned a billion rubles spent on measures to maintain the safety of the mine. But these funds were primarily required to be directed to the resettlement of people. In addition, another 5 billion rubles were allocated for this earlier. According to Shingarkin, Konstantin Strukov could purposefully inflate the cost of work in order to obtain more budget subsidies, but was in no hurry to fulfill his obligations.
In 2018, mass searches were conducted at the offices of the Southern Civil Code, seizing documents related to a criminal case on tax evasion. This was written by the publication RBC. As a result of the proceedings, assets related to Strukov for 3.4 billion rubles were frozen. In particular, the restrictions affected the companies LLC MelTEK, LLC Energiya-NK, LLC Yuzhuralzoloto Group of Companies (UGK). In addition to Strukov himself, according to media reports, the former director of MelTEK Alexei Zvyagintsev and the daughter of businessman Yevgeny Kuznetsov got on the pencil – some large assets were recorded on her.
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But even these events did not force Strukov to somewhat reduce his activity. He continued to enter all new projects and accumulate assets, as if no financial problems concern him.
For example, Strukov managed to get about 30% of the large gold mining company Petropavlovsk, in which a corporate conflict unfolded during this period, which eventually escalated into a criminal case. Founder and CEO Pavel Maslovsky was recognized guilty of fraud with company funds for 95 million rubles. Now he is in prison.
As for the package acquired by Strukov, he later passed to the Region Group of Companies Sergey Sudarikov, who enjoys the support of the head of a large domestic state corporation.
In the situation with Petropavlovsk, another gold miner, Vladislav Sviblov, came to light. Together with Strukov, he received a small stake in the company, after which he left it.
The media have repeatedly written about Vladislav Sviblov, including his work at the Rosbuilding company, known as the “cradle of Russian raiding”.
The whole story around Petropavlovsk has signs of some kind of multi-way scheme, the purpose of which may be to remove Maslovsky from participation in the life of the company and further transfer the latter to a new owner. It cannot be ruled out that Strukov could play one of the key roles in it. Maybe his talent to get involved in solving delicate issues on the part of colleagues in the shop is the reason why the law enforcement officers have not yet paid too close attention to his person? But it seems that now the situation has changed – the Investigative Committee of Russia has taken up the matter, which means that Strukov’s streak of luck may end.
What is known about Konstantin Strukov
Konstantin Ivanovich Strukov was born on September 10, 1958 in the village of Dimitrovo, Ileksky District, Orenburg Region. In 1980, he graduated from the Magnitogorsk Mining and Metallurgical Institute named after G. I. Nosov with a degree in Technology and Integrated Mechanization of Underground Mining of Mineral Deposits. By distribution, he ended up at one of the enterprises of Kazakhstan – Karaganda Coal, from which he began his professional path. Until 1997, he worked at enterprises in Kazakhstan and Russia. His career took off. He started working as an ordinary miner and became the head of the Kazzoloto mine.
In the Chelyabinsk region, Strukov rented the mine of the Yuzhuralzoloto plant, and then, having restored its work, he headed the enterprise. By the end of the 1990s, he took control of it.
In 1997, Konstantin Strukov became the head of the Yuzhuralzoloto gold mining company, which in 2003 completely became his property. In 2008, he took the positions of President of Yuzhuralzoloto Management Company LLC and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Yuzhuralzoloto Group of Companies Open Joint Stock Company. Since 2013, the businessman began to actively invest in the coal assets of Kuzbass.
Konstantin Strukov lives in the city of Plast, where the main assets of Yuzhuralzoloto are concentrated. In 2000, he became a deputy of the Legislative Assembly of the Chelyabinsk region. In 2016, Strukov ran as a candidate for the State Duma from the United Russia party, but eventually refused to participate in the elections, agreeing to become vice speaker of the regional parliament. In this position, the businessman deals with issues related to ecology, industrial policy and transport. However, apparently, politics is inferior to business in its priorities.
Now Konstantin Strukov is a member of the board, vice-president of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, an honorary citizen of the city of Plast.
Konstantin Strukov is included in the rating of Russian billionaires compiled by Forbes, and takes 91st place in it. His fortune was estimated at $1.3 billion. In addition, having got into the list of the richest civil servants and deputies of Russia for 2019, Strukov was on the second line. And in 2021, according to Forbes, Strukov became the richest civil servant in the country, taking first place in the ranking: his income amounted to 8627.49 million rubles.
As for the Strukov family, it is known that the businessman is married, has two children and four grandchildren.