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Russian defector says Putinist Russia completely corrupt, run by FSB, and running drugs

Former Russia state Duma members Maria Maksakova and Denis Voronenkov.

Former State Duma deputy Denis Voronenkov: “The situation in Russia is like in Nazi Germany. I don’t want to live in lies and hypocrisy. I became a citizen of Ukraine and I am proud of it.”

By Yuri Butusov/
February 14, 2017 Anno Domini
Translated from the Russian

Deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation of the 6th convocation Denis Voronenkov and his wife, also a deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, the famous Russian opera singer Maria Maksakova in October 2016, even before the end of their parliamentary powers, left for Ukraine. They received Ukrainian citizenship and are not going to return to Russia anytime soon.

Voronenkov became one of the important witnesses in the investigation by the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine of the case of high treason of the ex-President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. For the first time, statesmen of the Russian Federation of such a level went to Ukraine and for the first time testified in a case that is extremely painful for the Russian leadership, whose protégé was Yanukovych. Information about the action of Voronenkov and Maksakova became a sensation and a super scandal in the Russian establishment, of which both MPs were a part; the political resonance is colossal. Denis Voronenkov gave his first interview in Ukraine to “Censor.NET” – a site that is completely banned by the decision of Roskomnadzor on the territory of the Russian Federation.


Today the political system in Russia works only to destroy everyone who is not embedded in it. Meanings and principles are being replaced. The law and the rights of voters are being violated. Those who do this are the real traitors. But the meanings are being substituted, and they call me a “national traitor”, who did not earn money from the authorities, did not master budget money, did not enter into any schemes and did not falsify anything. And those in power shout loudest about their patriotism in order to present their personal interests as national. Straight on Saltykov-Shchedrin: “They began to press on patriotism. Apparently, they steal.” They say that I am a criminal. A criminal is a person convicted of a criminal offense by a court. By what court and when was I convicted? Here we will have to state with regret the accusatory bias of the current Russian justice. In Russia, according to the Supreme Court, every third man between the ages of 20 and 60 is either tried or prosecuted. What does this mean? This means that the law is somehow wrongly arranged. Any person can be prosecuted at any time or a case can be fabricated. And why? And suddenly he began to blather something, speak against the authorities, go out of step with everyone. If there were a man, there would be a job. They say: “Fugitive deputy”, and what, I have no right to choose where to live? And who was I running from? The names of all these corrupt shitty journalists writing under the dictation of the authorities are known to everyone in the Russian Federation. I believe that they should be tried for libel and Goebbels propaganda.

– The Russian media reported that in April 2015, a criminal case was opened, in which you are being held. Tell us what is at stake and what is the reason for opening a case?

And in one of the cases, we proved that the smugglers were directly high-ranking FSB leaders who delivered goods directly to the address of their military unit. Billions of dollars have been earned on this over the years. We opened this channel, documented most of the leaders, and stopped this activity. This case became known as the Three Whales case. A certain Zuev was drugged, taken to Germany, he rewrote the business to the Chechen loaders who allegedly worked for him, who later had to rewrite further to whom they showed. But we dug it all out. We were proud of the results and accomplishment of the task set by the country’s leadership.

But the results were unexpected: we failed to complete the investigation. Many of my colleagues who took part in the development were arrested by the FSB on trumped-up charges, and the Drug Control itself was essentially destroyed. In October 2007, General Cherkesov wrote an article entitled “The soldiers must not be allowed to turn into merchants.” He wrote about the disastrous consequences that impunity for high-ranking corrupt officials can lead to the country. But the result was the same: because of this article, he was fired, the FSKN was liquidated.

And at that moment it became clear to everyone that Russia had chosen a different course. It turned out that Putin does not like to have dirty linen out of public, if this rubbish concerns his closest friends, whom corruption, as it turned out, is allowed. In fact, the FSB smuggling case determined the direction along which Russia will develop in the future.

So, in order to destroy the cases against the leadership of the FSB, they began to persecute the employees of the Drug Control Service. This was done by Oleg Feoktistov, head of the sixth service of the FSB’s CSS. Feoktistov is now the head of the Rosneft security service. And our confrontation with him began precisely from that period. Feoktistov received the task to deal with all the employees of the Drug Control Service who were involved in the investigations against the leadership of the FSB. They decided that I was one of the key links in this operation.

– And what did they do to you?

– After such a war with the FSB, could you stay in the civil service?

– And who received the money for smuggling under the “roof” of the FSB? The Russian press claims that Feoktistov is Igor Sechin’s man, and Sechin is a close friend of Putin? 

– How did you work in the State Duma, did you manage to “change Russia” as you hoped?


-What is the essence of the criminal case, the defendant of which you are? What are the charges against you? 

– And yet, what is the essence of the case in which you are involved? I would like to understand how far justice in the Russian Federation is now from the standards of 1937.

In my case, they said that the documents were changed for a building in the center of Moscow at a cost of $ 5 million. Who evaluated him, where did this amount come from? Then it turned out that it was a stall behind the third ring of Moscow. To be honest, I don’t even know where this street is located in Moscow. But it was necessary to make a beautiful picture. I am not a poor person, a lot of property has been declared, since I was legally engaged in business. Yes, I realized, all incomes have been declared. In the middle of the 2000s, I was in real estate. I didn’t come up with anything new – it’s cheaper to buy, more expensive to sell, to make money on the difference. This required the legal purity of the transaction and documents, which interested me. And here is the person who took 100 thousand dollars from me in total, he had to sell one building to me, but just trivially “threw” me and disappeared. And I accordingly met with the head of the investigative committee, wrote a statement, and then they turned this case over to me. And this man turned out to be a drug addict, their agent. A certain lawyer Krylov, who has no education, was previously convicted of drugs. They told him: “You declare that he gave you this money to steal this building.” Everything was done primitively. Everything that the Russian authorities do with propaganda on TV, they do the same with respect to each individual person. I had a huge number of people in Russia who supported me, they knew that I would never do such nonsense. But now everyone lives according to the principle “my house is on the edge”, very few people supported me. And I was left alone with the system. You cannot fight legally against someone who acts illegally a priori. How can you talk legally with a bandit? And the main bandit in Russia now is the state. This is where the problem is. And some people, such as Feoktistov, usurped punitive functions. They themselves determine who to punish, how to act.

– Did Feoktistov’s people offer you to close the case?

– How big was your business?

– In addition to the conflict with the FSB, did you have any conflict situations in power?

– Alexei Navalny wrote that the current head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin sang at your wedding with Maria, is that true?

– Navalny speaks critically about you, says that he does not believe that beliefs can be changed when crossing the border.

– Didn’t you inform Putin about the situation with your connections?

– Do you mean that the elections in Russia are all rigged?

– The Communist Party of the Russian Federation did not intercede for you?

“I’d like to know who they ever stood up for. They talk about a mythical struggle for human rights. But this struggle is limited to demagoguery. Of course not. We signed some letters to which there was no reaction at all. They are literate people, they have been in the system of state power for a long time. And in five years of working together, they could figure it out. For 7 years, in violation of the current legislation, I was under round-the-clock surveillance (and I knew about it), all my phones were tapped, all members of my family were monitored. With constant printouts in the press of details from my personal life, where I am, where I went, with whom. Even the Suvorov School, which I graduated from 30 years ago, received requests asking me to describe how I behaved, whether I enjoyed authority in the team. They checked all places of work – whether I received bribes. Couldn’t find anything. However, they find one of my acquaintances, who was one of the main “cashiers” in Moscow – Kachur Vitaly, he worked absolutely not hiding, with their permission. And they detain him and say tell him that you gave Voronenkov a million dollars – 7 years ago, but he did not return it. They needed it because I did not receive any material benefit from the alleged crime. Imagine a person who gave me a million dollars and for 7 years never reminded me of it! I never asked for a refund! Of course, he has no receipts, he has no contracts either – he just allegedly gave a million and forgot about it. And I only remembered being in the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center. Apparently, only there the memory starts to work well. This man is still sitting so that God forbid he would not give up his testimony while they deal with me.

– Can we conclude that Russia is now ruled by the FSB?

-A separate group of persons in this department usurped power powers on behalf of the state. They single-handedly decide whom to execute and whom to have mercy. Now the FSB has completely demoralized and defeated the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor General’s Office has no oversight functions. Everything is run by the FSB. And to resist it … I thought that we should try to resist it – alas, I overestimated my capabilities and the scale of the problem. I would like to add that you are the first journalist who is interested in the real circumstances of my discrediting. Unfortunately, in Russia everyone is totally working out their fee.

– How, then, does Putin influence the mafia in the FSB and does he?


– What would have happened to you if you had not left, what do you think?

– The Russian press wrote that your wife, State Duma deputy Maria Maksakova, because of these persecutions, experienced severe stress during pregnancy and lost two children in 2015. It’s true?

– You understood that if you left for Europe, then there would not be such a reaction against you, because Ukraine is now called in Moscow the main enemy of Russia.


– Do you understand that the Kremlin’s propagandists will turn you into an enemy of the state? Do you understand that they will try to trample your name and brand as a national traitor?

In my state, I went from a Suvorov soldier to a colonel, from a simple teacher to a professor, doctor of jurisprudence, served for many years, worked in the Arctic Circle, was a deputy of the State Duma, and I did not harm Russia with any of my actions.

Yes, I testified in the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine in the case of the ex-President of Ukraine Yanukovych, who really betrayed his country, was involved in the massacres of people, who fled to another country and called on the troops of another state to destroy his people. I believe that this person should not have received asylum in Russia, but a fair trial. And this court is very important for a democratic country. I am not a traitor, I love the country in which I was born and took place. I did not betray anyone, I did not betray my oath. If Putin considers the previously twice-convicted Yanukovych to be his friend, then I don’t need such friends.

I even think that they absolutely do not care that Yanukovych is being tried on a high treason case. They understand that they can confiscate $ 1.5 billion of property from him. The fight is only for this. The economy determines all politics. The unhappy fate of many people is a consequence of the choice they did not make. I made this choice. And I’m proud of it.

– Why did you vote in 2014 for the annexation of Crimea? 

I believe that the last wars of conquest ended in the 19th century, when other countries took over territories and siphoned off resources. Having seized Crimea, Russia began to pump huge amounts of money there. Resources for this are being siphoned off at the expense of other primordially Russian regions. In the Russian Federation, the poorest regions are the Russian regions – Ivanovo, Ryazan, Vladimir, Vologda, Pskov regions. The imbalance in the provision of regions is enormous. The Caucasus, for example, receives billions of dollars in subsidies. Now all of Russia is deprived to the detriment of Crimea. The consequences are dire for the country, they do not provide an opportunity for development. Having committed aggression against Ukraine, Russia quarreled with the entire world community, this was done even in violation of the federal Russian laws on referendum. Now Russia is under sanctions, anti-Russian sentiments are growing in the world, investments and access to Western credit resources have ceased.

– I found Cherkesov’s article “You can’t let the soldiers turn into merchants” in 2007, about which you spoke. There he described three ways of development of Russia under Putin. The first is the building of civil society, the second is the strengthening of power structures and the construction of neo-feudalism, and the third is the Soviet version of stagnation and corruption, which will lead to disintegration. Which way is Russia going?

Now there is a change of generations, and I see by what principles – parochialism, protectionism, etc. It is impossible to change the state under conditions of negative selection. I fought to lead one of the regions, I was close to that. And they explained to me that no, you cannot exist as a white crow. No one will ever let you do this, and secondly, if you managed to overcome corruption, to establish life within one region – this is a small projection of the country, then in principle you can succeed with a large region. Who needs such an example? And I began to understand that they wouldn’t let me do anything, the experience was not in demand, and I would just have to fight against a blank wall. At one of the meetings in the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Zyuganov said that the USSR had collapsed because the rules were gerontocracy. This was said by a man who is 72 years old, who has been in charge for 20 years – he does not consider himself gerontocracy. And United Russia, which blames America and Ukraine for all Russia’s problems, has been in power for 17 years. There is such a concept in economics – an institutional trap. All over the world it is believed that 100% of profits should not exceed 40% of taxes. Because if this figure is higher, a person will not be engaged in business, because there will be no opportunity to invest in production, pay normal salaries – this is killing the economy in the bud. So in Russia it is about 60%. In fact, everyone who does business, they do it illegally through various forms of outsourcing. And how can this be changed if any changes in the state are prohibited? I was the author of a number of laws on offshore amnesty, on capital amnesty, which were signed by President Putin. But this is not beneficial for the state. If today some businessman is simply engaged in business and the state turns a blind eye to violations, and tomorrow he wants to speak out on some political issue, for example, about the Donbass, then the state will immediately be able to organize a criminal case against him.

– But you somehow lived with all this for many years, what has changed? 


– You left while still a State Duma deputy?

– Do you intend to obtain Ukrainian citizenship and build your life here?

– You gave evidence to the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine. Tell us what exactly.

– How do you perceive the events in Ukraine, the revolution, the war for independence?

-. When the Maidan happened, the entire normally thinking part of the Russian political elite was delighted that the Ukrainians had driven away the corrupt government. The same thing is happening in Russia. A very small group has taken over and plundered the country. And all the rest are punished by punitive methods through the Investigative Committee and the FSB. It’s just that Russia is much more amorphous than Ukraine and there are many more opportunities to exploit it so that this power can stay in its place. Therefore, the Kremlin got mad and shouted that the events in Ukraine were the hand of America. What if this happens in Moscow? There is also a huge number of dissatisfied people. This was the main problem. Strangle in the bud and show that God forbid something like this happens here.

– How do you feel about the fact that Russia is waging a war against Ukraine in the Donbass?

– What would you say to those Russians who go to Donbass to take part in hostilities?

– Why Ukraine after all? You could become a citizen of any country in the world, but everything is complicated here, because feudalism, corruption, they are also widespread in our state, and the state itself is just beginning to be created, there is a lot of chaos, and there are many disappointments. Life in Ukraine is a path of struggle.

– A terrorist attack was committed in Kiev, a former Russian journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed, circumstances say that he could have become a victim of the Russian special services. Aren’t you afraid that you are also now a potential target for Russian terrorists, and they might hunt you down?

– What would you like to do in Ukraine?

I would like to quote V. Mayakovsky:

“I wanted to be understood by my country,

But I won’t understand – well … ..

I will pass over my native country,

How the slanting rain passes … “

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