Vladimir Strzhalkovsky is an old-school official, a typical person who started his career in the special services, but due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, he had to change his career dramatically. As practice later showed, such changes, thanks to personal friendship with Vladimir Putin, had a very positive impact on Strzhalkovsky’s life.
From KGB officer to official in tourism
Strzhalkovsky began his career in 1980 as a KGB officer in the Leningrad region. He served until 1991, ending his service with the rank of lieutenant colonel. It is noteworthy that he received a lieutenant colonel at the age of 35, and as you know, in the KGB, it is virtually impossible to obtain such a high rank at that age. For what merits Strzhalkovsky rose so early is not clear. At the same time, he met Vladimir Putin. It is noteworthy that Putin received the rank of lieutenant colonel in the same year as Strzhalkovsky, but at that time the future president of Russia was already serving in the foreign intelligence service in the GDR. But it is also important that at that time Vladimir Vladimirovich had been working in the authorities for more than 10 years.
Vladimir Putin at work
Strzhalkovsky felt great in the collapsing Union. The chaotic and non-systematic nature of power allowed KGB officers, in addition to performing state functions, to also engage in deeds on the side. He himself admitted that he had an influence on the tourism industry, working with the popular Intourist and Sputnik hotels. But behind the screen of an allegedly honest, albeit forbidden business for a KGB officer, something else was hiding. In 1998, a pimping and prostitution case was considered in Finland. As the Finnish court established, Strzhalkovsky’s deputy Timraliev and the director of the Neva travel agency Oska sent girls from St. Petersburg to Finland to provide intimate services to local residents. Then Strzhalkovsky escaped with a slight fright.
From 1991 to 1999 he headed the Firma Neva travel company. At the beginning of the 2000s, the company’s activities raised questions not only in the press, but also in the State Duma of the Russian Federation. It was established that “Firma Neva” during 1995-1999, under the guise of tourism, sent prostitutes to Finland. In fact, this is how Vladimir Strzhalkovsky earned his first serious capital.
But this did not affect the career of the former KGB agent at all. On the contrary, after Vladimir Putin’s former colleague came to power, Strzhalkovsky took off.
The next step in Strzhalkovsky’s career was the Ministry of Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism, where he received the position of Deputy Minister. He did not work there for long, because already in 2000 he was appointed Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade. What relation Strzhalkovsky had to trade is a rhetorical question. Obviously none. But this did not prevent the appointment. From the Ministry of Economy, Strzhalkovsky jumped to the position of head of the Federal Tourism Agency, where he successfully worked until 2008.
Leaving for business
The further appointment of Strzhalkovsky is truly shocking. In August 2008, he managed to get into the position of CEO – Chairman of the Board of Norilsk Nickel. Obviously, without the experience of the head of a huge structure, it is impossible to get into such a responsible position. But this does not apply to Strzhalkovsky. Everything in his life is simply thanks to old friends. For 4 years of work on the giant, no particularly impressive results were achieved, but this did not stop him from paying the CEO in 2012 after the dismissal of “lifting funds” in a cosmic amount – $ 100 million. Even for the most profitable Russian enterprises, such an amount is unthinkable, the top managers of huge corporations could receive a dismissal allowance in the amount of 10-15 million dollars, but to immediately 100 million is the first case in practice. Officially, such huge vacation pay was given to Strzhalkovsky for “a special role in the fate of the company.”
But in the future, fate again smiled at the enterprising KGB officer. Strzhalkovsky’s next job was the Bank of Cyprus Public Company Limited, where he took the post of Vice President. Again: where is the official, and where is the banking sector? They have nothing in common, but this did not prevent Strzhalkovsky from working in this position for 2 years, and moving to another bank – Rosselkhozbank, which by that time was headed by Dmitry Patrushev. We talked about how Patrushev ruined the bank more than once. During the period of Patrushev’s leadership, Rosselkhozbank accumulated a huge loan portfolio, which he was unable to repay on his own.
Only thanks to state additional issues, the bank miraculously did not go bankrupt. But how long will this last? Strzhalkovsky, together with Patrushev, took an active part in cutting the bank’s funds. After they left the financial institution, a huge hole was revealed in it, but no one was ever held accountable.
From business to sport
The adventure of the KGB agent Strzhalkovsky did not end there. In 2016, he became chairman of the Dynamo sports club. And here Strzhalkovsky first began to have serious problems with the law. A year after the appointment, law enforcement officers came to the Dynamo office with a search. The investigation suspected the club’s functionaries of embezzlement of funds totaling 2 billion rubles. During the investigation, accounting documents and contracts were seized. But things did not go beyond searches and press releases from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Good friends from above helped, who instructed not to touch Strzhalkovsky. But in 2019, he still had to step down as chairman of the sports society.
It is clear that officially, thanks to his work in the public sector and top enterprises, Strzhalkovsky is a dollar multimillionaire. But he leads a life that even some billionaires cannot afford.
In 2014, among the Russian elites, the purchase of land plots in their homeland began to gain fashion. This can be associated with the first sanctions against the elites of the Russian Federation, and the fear of investing any funds in foreign objects, so that they would not be confiscated later. Gelendzhik has become one of the most elite places in Russia. Many moneybags began to build dachas here. Strzhalkovsky was no exception. He built a house next to his partner in Rosselkhozbank, Dmitry Patrushev.
Houses of Patrushev and Strzhalkovsky
It is interesting that the land plot, together with the building on it, is registered in the name of Wanda Strzhalkovskaya, the daughter of a businessman. At the time of registration of real estate, she was 9 years old. We will not fantasize how a 9-year-old child could buy a land plot and build a house on it, everything is clear here. The land plot of Strzhalkovsky costs about 20 million rubles, the house is about 110. Therefore, the total amount of the project is at least 130 million rubles.
But this is still the tip of the iceberg. The main thing is under water or, as in our case, on the water. Vladimir Strzhalkovsky is the happy owner of the Ragnar yacht. According to open sources, a yacht of this type costs about 600 million dollars. It has everything from huge lounges to indoor pools. In addition, the yacht is equipped with a helipad, jet skis, boats and so on. That is, it has absolutely everything for relaxation.
But the question is: where does she come from in Strzhalkovsky? It is clear that he is not a poor man, but even all his official earnings for life could not afford to buy such an expensive yacht. It’s already intractable about her maintenance, which costs several million dollars a year.
In March, Strzhalkovsky’s yacht got into an unpleasant situation. Most of the Russian oligarchs tried to withdraw their floating funds from European ports so that they would not be arrested. Some have succeeded, some have not. As for Strzhalkovsky, worrying about the fate of his ship, he also ordered the crew to withdraw the ship from Europe, although no sanctions were imposed on him. After calling for refueling in the Norwegian port of Narvik, local merchants refused to sell fuel to the crew members, arguing that the 47-meter vessel belongs to a person close to Putin. The situation had to be resolved by third forces, which nevertheless helped to refuel the ship and quickly leave the “unfriendly” country.
So far, Strzhalkovsky manages to get out of the water dry, and does not shine anywhere. But several times in his biography he was close to responsibility for many committed deeds. Perhaps luck will turn away from the former KGB officer, and he will get what he deserves. k1