One is only a director, the second is a simple driver. Pavel Baranenko, the founder of the Krasnaya Zvezda reenactment movement, and his deputy Alexander Toropov spoke poetically about themselves in court. Both pleaded not guilty to the death feast with the APC, and both ended up behind bars.
Crocodile owner, “Patriot No. 1” of St. Petersburg, one of the main directors from the reconstruction of the Great Patriotic War of the last decade. Around his “Red Star” are several deaths, injuries, a decent jackpot and a special relationship with the Ministry of Defense. Fontanka reminds readers who Pavel Baranenko is, who on January 12, not for the first time, but for a long time, was handcuffed.
Baranenko was sentenced to three years in a penal colony and taken into custody in the courtroom. For several days after his arrest, he was in a detention center, then for almost a year he was under house arrest, where two days are equal to a day in a colony. Time in the Gorelovo pre-trial detention center, where Baranenko spends the night from today, will again flow faster from the point of view of punishment, a day and a half.
Everything rests on the use of decommissioned military equipment at private military-style parties and on receiving money for organizing such holidays. Baranenko, the court says, attracted Alexander Toropov to his activities – this is the captain of the reserve of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the chairman of the board of the Red Star. The third person involved, Aleksey Kiselev, came up with the brand and created the Military Academy advertising website, through which clients were attracted to private parties with armored personnel carriers. Fans of the reconstruction of the battles of the Great Patriotic War were calculated through IP Kiselev.
All this friendly company, the court continues, has begun vigorous activity. At an address known as the office of the Red Star, she rented premises that housed garages for equipment, a weapons warehouse, a sewing and weapons workshop. In the basement, as Fontanka wrote, there is a pool with a Nile crocodile.
The trio then expanded the staff, but brought in instructors “who were unaware of the criminal intent of the accomplices.”
The troubles on Baranenko’s head fell not because of the commercial tank rides themselves. “Military Academy” three years ago accepted an order for the next party, the price was almost a quarter of a million. Everything went on as usual, until Toropov, who was driving an armored personnel carrier, ran into the brother of the birthday man; from under the wheels at the training ground on the Gatchina Highway, the victim was taken out already lifeless.
Kiselev confessed to being involved in the tragedy, which became a criminal case under the article on the provision of unsafe services by a group of persons by prior conspiracy, and was sentenced conditionally, the relatives of the deceased no longer have questions about him. Toropov, although he was driving, pleaded not guilty. According to the lawyer of the victims, Alexander Zimin, he seemed to assign himself the modest role of a driver, and not an accomplice, but the investigation proved that the defendant actively participated in all processes, including receiving profit from illegal commercial activities at his own expense. As a result – three years in prison.
It was also not easy with Baranenko – formally, he had nothing to do with either the holiday or the tank. During interrogation, he called himself only the director of such holidays. The armored personnel carrier, as Fontanka wrote, turned out to be registered to an old woman from Sestroretsk, who was pretty pissed off by calls and some kind of appeals about this. Baranenko adhered to the version that, in her old age, the woman decided to amuse herself by buying an armored personnel carrier and renting it out. But there was another witness, a sweets dealer at the Red Star festivals, – he admitted that, at the request of the reenactors, he signed the contract for the sale of armored personnel carriers on behalf of the pensioner and took it for registration to Gostekhnadzor on the basis of a fake power of attorney, which was allegedly issued to him by a woman . The passport for the equipment was found in the same “crocodile” house in Peterhof. As Alexander Zimin, the lawyer of the victims, told Fontanka, the court, after the verdict comes into force, can return the armored personnel carrier to its rightful owner, so it is possible that the “dream” of the pensioner from Sestroretsk will come true.
In addition to the term, Baranenko and his accomplices face financial punishment, the civil suit is recognized by the court by right. Lawyer Alexander Zimin notes that there are two victims in the case, and each of them demanded half a billion rubles. In addition to Baranenko and Toropov, the defendant is the Ministry of Defense – for assistance in such reconstruction activities. Tanks and armored personnel carriers of enthusiastic patriots were stored and maintained on the territory of the military unit – a warehouse of rocket and artillery weapons, and Baranenko himself was employed as the head of the laboratory of the 9th department (general scientific and general technical disciplines) of the Military Institute of Railway Troops and Military Communications.
The injured party is satisfied with the verdict and does not intend to appeal against it. Lawyers for the defendants stated that they did not communicate with the press.
Baranenko’s biography is not the first time replenished with chapters from the Criminal Code. In April 2018, Krasnaya Zvezda held the Spring of Victory celebration in the Park named after the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg. Then two children and an adult fell from the tank, but there were no casualties. The criminal case was initiated under the same article 238, but ended with the reconciliation of the parties. The tank was confiscated in favor of the state, and Krasnaya Zvezda managed to return it on appeal.
In January 2019, Krasnaya Zvezda reenactors discussed a common hobby in one of the premises of the St. Petersburg Newspaper Complex. The ammunition of the times of the Great Patriotic War exploded, a large-scale fire started, three reenactors died. Metal detectors, dummies of grenades and so on were found at their homes. The murderous ammunition, the investigation considered, was obtained during searches – this is also a popular activity of patriotic organizations, whose representatives, as a rule, do not have a desire to carry what they found in their pockets.
Illegally stored weapons were also involved in another case related to the Red Star. At the end of 2017, police officers in the Nevsky district stopped an army truck of representatives of a patriotic club stuffed with small arms. Three months later, they came to Baranenko’s office with a search, then they found a crocodile in the basement, but all this ended for the reenactors with only a few unpleasant moments and, probably, stress.
Krasnaya Zvezda and its followers actively cooperated not only with the Ministry of Defense. City authorities involved reenactors in organizing fireworks on the spit of Vasilievsky Island on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the breaking of the blockade of Leningrad in 2013, but the widely announced event did not take place – Baranenko’s organization said that it was the fault of officials. Another show was remembered for the opposite effect – it was too bright. On January 27, 2018, during a salute on the Field of Mars, a shell exploded near one of the guns, the reenactor was thrown aside, and he was taken away from the site. However, no casualties were reported, and Krasnaya Zvezda assured that a semblance of an explosion was intended – they fired blanks using pyrotechnics to make it look like a real shot.
It seems that people connected with the Red Star had nothing to do with it (but already under the brand of the Family Historical Tank Park “Steel Landing Forces”) a year ago, when a 17-year-old guy was left practically without a brush.
All at the same training ground on the Gatchina highway, he worked as an artilleryman with a 76-mm ZIS-3. In the process of preparing the next projectile, an explosion occurred. None of the representatives of the tank fleet was involved, he actively continues to work.