The case of Yuri Pichugin’s organized criminal group: without corruption ties, conspiracy, discipline and territory
In the Supreme Court of Komi, with the participation of jurors, hearings on the case of Yuri Pichugin’s organized crime group continue. Lawyer Vasiliev, who defends the main accused, denies the existence of a criminal group, the presence of corrupt ties among the defendants, their observance of secrecy, the presence of a hierarchy in the group, adherence to strict discipline, as well as the “territoriality” of the activities of the organized criminal group.
BNK argues defender.
Without officials and security officials
Referring to the corruption ties of the defendants, Pichugin’s lawyer stated:
– The indictment alleges that the “Pichugins” had corrupt connections in the authorities and law enforcement agencies. Do you see any of the security forces or officials in the dock? They are not there. Because all these loud statements are nothing more than fantasies, rumors and gossip. Here [в ходе слушаний по делу] they mentioned either the former mayor of Usinsk, then the head of the local police department Zavyalov, according to witness M. (the last name is given here and below), then the head of SIZO-1 Rozhkov, with whom Azizov allegedly contacted already according to witness S., then simply some unnamed security officials. But the fact remains: there are neither officials nor law enforcement officers in the dock. Only two security officials we saw here are former police officers. [Григорий] Modyanov and [Анатолий] Krivoshapkin. Yes, and this episode, upon closer examination, does not withstand any criticism, – Alexander Vasilyev made a reservation.
The lawyer sneered at the assertion of the prosecution that conspiracy was observed in the group:
– Somehow, the prosecutors managed to “squeeze” out of the witness M. the mention of some secret phones. This witness went so far as to force Pichugin to set up a secret telephone in order to warn M. about when he, Pichugin, was coming to Syktyvkar, so that M. could meet him by car. It turns out that a secret phone was needed to coordinate the time of arrival. I’m even willing to admit that this actually happened. Taking into account the extremely intrusive attention to Pichugin by the Komi law enforcement agencies, it is unlikely that Pichugin wanted to visit his parents or friends every time he came to Syktyvkar, receive searches and give explanations about the purpose of the visit.
According to Vasiliev, another witness, K., also mentioned that some of his acquaintances from Syktyvkar got themselves phones registered to other people. But at the same time, he said that those who wanted to make such phones for themselves, and those who did not want to, did not.
– It turns out that there was no general conspiracy in this regard. At the same time, witness K. could not name those defendants in whom he had seen such phones, – the lawyer emphasized.
The speaker admitted that after the entry into force of the Yarovaya law, which made it mandatory to record both telephone conversations and Internet traffic, he himself uses the phone only to arrange a meeting or wish someone a happy birthday.
– Who knows how privately my conversations with clients or acquaintances can be interpreted. Thus, for me personally, there is nothing surprising that during the “wiretapping” of telephone conversations, the defendants very often break off the conversation with the motive – we will talk at the meeting, ”explained Alexander Vasiliev.
According to the defense counsel, the investigator groundlessly and unsubstantiated attributed to Pichugin the use of more than ten telephone numbers.
The main thing is conspiracy
– The investigator deliberately enters into the protocol of the inspection the information that was actually missing in the information being examined. And I cannot regard these innovations as otherwise than a deliberate and cynical attempt to deceive the court. Pichugin did not use the numbers assigned to him. It is a fact! And neither the investigators nor the prosecutors could prove the opposite. So we went to an obvious forgery in the hope that you [присяжные заседатели] pay no attention to him,” said the lawyer and moved on to another topic. – Another element of conspiracy, the state prosecution declares that some of the defendants have nicknames or nicknames. Yes, you can’t argue here. After all, it’s not a single intelligence officer who will guess that Kirsei is Kirseev, and Soldier is Soldiers.
The defender does not agree with the assertion of the investigation about the system of counteraction to law enforcement agencies that existed in the group.
– The indictment reads: “… in case of detention, prosecution of members of the criminal community, providing them with assistance aimed at maintaining a pre-designed form of behavior that involves denying the fact of acquaintance between the members of the criminal community (criminal organization) and its very existence, categorical denial of involvement to committed crimes. For some reason, the state prosecution believes that only defendants who are really guilty of committing crimes can deny their acquaintance and their guilt. For example, before joining the case in 2019, I also did not know any of the defendants, including Pichugin, and also did not commit any of the crimes together with them. According to this logic, it turns out that I am also a criminal. And here is another question: if the defendant pleads guilty, then according to the logic of the prosecutors, he is not guilty and is subject to release? Something I do not see the implementation of this principle for example in relation to [подсудимого Леонида] Ivanova or [подсудимого Сергея] Nasonov.
The defense lawyer acknowledged that a number of witnesses for the prosecution and, above all, “trial judge” M., stated that the group had the strictest discipline, for violation of which they could demand money, and cripple, and kill.
– But what really? Let’s look at specific examples. Witness V. (the name of the former “observer” was given) allegedly testified against one of his accomplices. What was done to him? Beaten up? Killed? No, they just stopped talking to him. True, the prosecution insists that he was expelled from the group. Witness S., also a former “watcher”, allegedly sold weapons, which is prohibited by thieves’ concepts. Punishment? Yes, the same thing – they also stopped communicating with him. Witness L., former “watcher” of Kotlas. So, according to the testimony of witness F., L., to put it simply, was stealing, collecting money in the “common fund”. What was done to him? They just removed it from the “watchers” and that’s it. Witness E. stated that he had squandered the money he had collected “for black money”. What is the result? Nothing bad happened to him. Nasonov testified against Minin. So what? And nothing, not even kicked out of the OPS. Or maybe there was simply nowhere to expel?
The defense lawyer reminded about the “wiretapping” of the conversations of the defendant Sergei Vanuyto.
– He was approached on a variety of issues, including the inappropriate behavior of individual prisoners. What were the punishments for them? Yes, the same ones, maximum “driven into wool”, which, translated into human language, meant that those who considered themselves a decent prisoner stopped contacting this person. No beatings, no killings.
The defender also questioned the territorial sign of the activities of the organized crime group:
– Discussing the existence or non-existence of the Pichugin gang, it is impossible not to raise the question: on what, in fact, territory did it conduct its criminal activities? According to the accusation, the organized criminal community seemed to operate throughout the Komi territory, but in fact it turns out that over the 25 years of its existence, according to the accusation, the organized criminal community was noted only in three cities: Syktyvkar, Usinsk and for some reason in Kotlas. In other settlements, the OCG did not commit anything illegal, according to the accusation. Neither in Vorkuta, nor in Ukhta, nor even in Zheshart, native to some of the defendants, is there any crime.
“Anarchy is the mother of order”
Then the lawyer went to the payroll of the group.
-Now let’s take another look, but take a closer look at the “personnel policy” of the OPS. I absolutely do not understand the principle by which the prosecution appointed the members of Pichugin’s gang. However, at that moment we had not yet studied the evidence and concrete facts. Now I can again analyze the list of group members, but with all the trump cards in my hands. People of different ages, social status, places of residence, fields of activity, nationalities… There is practically nothing in common between them, except for one accusation for all. Of course, it is difficult to talk about the membership of specific people in a group that did not actually exist, but since the prosecution forces you to do this, you will have to deal with this absurdity. The prosecution is talking about a certain hierarchy of the criminal world, its structure and discipline. But the prosecution itself, throughout the entire process, constantly demonstrated evidence to the contrary. Those whom the prosecution declared as representatives of the criminal world simply could not agree on the key issues: what is a “common fund” or “statute”, whether a thief in law can start a family or take people’s lives, who and when was “looking ” etc. In court, we heard wiretaps involving Vanuito. Every conversation there is a clarification of what and how to consider right and what is wrong, who to respect and who not to respect. What is discipline? Just try to imagine such conversations in any more or less centralized organization – a municipal government, a serious commercial firm, I’m not talking about the police or the army.
No matter how hard the prosecution insisted on the existence of strict discipline, we saw the exact opposite – anarchy. Everyone does what he wants. For example, from a public prosecution point of view, [заключивший досудебное соглашение Игорь] Parmon organized the murder of Zamyatkin in order to get rid of a competitor for the role of “looking” for Kotlas. Can you imagine such a situation in the army, for example, when some ensign Sidorov kills Lieutenant Petrov in order to become a company commander himself? What is discipline and unity of command? AND [покойный Рустам] Amonov – on charges – decided to kill [подсудимого Хадиса] Azizova also within the framework of the service-criminal discipline? – continued ironically defender.
According to him, no matter how much the evidence presented by the prosecution is examined in court, there is not a single fact that one of the defendants gave instructions and orders to anyone.
– A strange situation with membership. The prosecution refers Pichugin, Karpov, Azizov, Birlov, Tervonin, Vanuito, Kirseev, Rokhlin, Guziev, Parmon to the leadership of different levels of the grouping. And in their submission are: Smolnikov, Soldatov, Sirotkin, Abubakarov, Isaev, Popov, Nasonov, Egorov, Efendiev. A wonderful criminal army – there are more generals than privates. It becomes even funnier when we try to correlate the “positions” of these generals with the territory on which they allegedly have their own groups and performers subordinate to them. Let’s take the same Tervonin. According to the accusation, he controlled the underworld of Usinsk. So controlled that in submission he had only himself. In reality, we have no one else from Usinsk, either on charges or in fact. True, there were two – one juvenile R., before whom adult experienced men reported and called to solve the problem: to kill [Олега] Tokmacheva or let him live. There was also some secret person who saw everything, heard everything, but in the end mixed everything up. True, according to the prosecution, it turns out that even these two were not included in the Tervonin group, since in our case they are witnesses, not defendants, – the defender noted.
According to him, it is also “deaf” with subordinates of the “watcher” for Zheshart Birlov and the “watcher” of Kotlas Sirotkin.
– It’s more fun at the Sawmill. It’s not at all clear who is “watching” there: either Smolnikov, or Karpov, or they command each other at the same time, or in turn, they take away the croaker together and collect caramels for the common fund. At the level of Syktyvkar, there is some kind of absurdity in general: either Vanuyto is the main one – and how the main one runs around the camps and delivers parcels, or Azizov Khadis, who since 2016 left Syktyvkar for his permanent residence in Pyatigorsk. Kirseev and Rokhlin are also the main ones, though it’s not clear what or who they command, who obeys them, the defender continued.
25 years of activity
The defense lawyer noted that some of the defendants did not know each other at all before this case, and some acquaintances were at enmity with each other and are still at enmity.
– About the enmity of Abubakarov and Azizov Hadis in the courtroom, only the lazy one did not speak. So you can appreciate the sense of humor of the convoy, constantly putting Azizov and Abubakarov in the same cage. And here’s another question: if Pichugin is credited with leadership in the criminal world of the entire Komi, then where are the territorial divisions of the “Pichugins” in Ukhta, Ezhva, Knyazhpogost, Vorkuta? The state prosecutors, to the best of their ability, are trying to give us some names of some supposedly “watchers” in these settlements, but somehow I don’t see these people in the dock,” the lawyer said.
The speaker raised the question: how is it proved that the leaders of the organized crime group gave any orders to ordinary participants? And he answered himself:
– Well, of course: the fact that they were the leaders of the criminal community. The wind blows because the trees sway, the trees sway because the wind blows. We will talk about the murder of Nikolaev separately, but what about all the other 23 crimes that Pichugin is accused of? Can you recall at least one piece of evidence that Pichugin gave any orders to commit them, or at least was aware of these crimes? You can not. You can’t because there were no such facts in reality. The same is true of the rest of the so-called leaders. Karpov was charged with 15 episodes of criminal acts. Vanuito was measured out 9. But in each of them, the description of the role of Karpov and Vanuito was reduced to common, boring phrases: “kept in charge and approved.” If there is no criminal community, then there can be no material traces of the leadership of this community. The conducted judicial investigation confirmed this very eloquently.
According to the defense attorney, the situation is no less paradoxical with the “ordinary perpetrators” in the criminal group, which the prosecution is talking about.
– Let me remind you that on charges, the Pichugin group existed from 1992 to 2017. Twenty five years. During this time, again according to the prosecution, 31 people passed through the group. This is only from among the type-established, and after all, unidentified persons also appear in the charge, – the defense lawyer said and began to list all the defendants in alphabetical order with the charge and his commentary.
Hearings in the case are ongoing. (BNK, 22.01.2023, Alexey Smirnov)