Igor Lebedev sought revenge for the interest in Nadezhda Grishaeva.
Vladimir Kolokoltsev fired the police officers who uncovered the secret wife and undeclared property of Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s son.
What do authorities do when a high-profile journalistic investigation comes to light? Do they verify the information presented in the article and dismiss the individuals involved? No, they look for the source of the "leak." This is what happened with the investigation by "Baza," which focused on Igor Lebedev, the son of LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky and the vice-speaker of the State Duma, and his wife Nadezhda Grishaeva.
A few weeks after the publication, on March 1st, the internet publication "Project" released its own investigation into how the LDPR became a business for the family and associates of Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Both articles mentioned that Igor Lebedev had a young spouse, former basketball player Nadezhda Grishaeva, whose income and assets he did not declare. In turn, the wife of the vice-speaker and his mother, through a chain of legal entities, own expensive assets in Spain, such as villas and hotels in Barcelona and Ibiza.
Official extracts published by "Baza" demonstrated that Lebedev violated three points of the law "On the Status of a Member of the Federation Council and the Status of a Deputy of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation." As a deputy of the State Duma, he managed a business abroad, and his spouse, whose income he did not declare, owns real estate in Spain. Our inquiries to the State Duma and the prosecutor’s office went unanswered.
However, police officers who may have tried to verify the information published in the investigation found themselves under investigation. As "Baza" discovered, in May, the Main Directorate for Own Security of the Ministry of Internal Affairs initiated an inquiry into the leak of personal data belonging to Nadezhda Grishaeva through the information systems "Sledoput-M" and "GIBDD-M." These systems provide information such as a person’s phone number, passport details, place of residence, and details of their registered vehicles.
Several officers from different units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were suspected of "unjustified access to information resources." It’s essential to clarify that there were three recorded instances of Grishaeva’s data being accessed by employees of the Directorate for Own Security. These incidents occurred at different times but after the publication of "Baza’s" investigation.
One of the individuals investigated was Deputy Chief of one of the Ministry of Internal Affairs departments, Colonel Nikolai Tsurkan (the name has been changed). On February 25th, he requested information about the spouse of the vice-speaker of the State Duma from his "Sledoput-M" account.
During discussions with members of the Directorate for Own Security, Tsurkan explained that he had received information indicating that senior officials of state authorities were moving funds outside of Russia through a company called "Destiny," the alleged leader of which was Nadezhda Grishaeva.
— According to Tsurkan, he verbally instructed one of his subordinate officers to determine Nadezhda Grishaeva’s place of registration through the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ information resources. Subsequent verification activities did not confirm any unlawful activities by Grishaeva, as stated in the investigation materials.
Authorities acknowledged that Colonel Tsurkan’s actions were within the scope of his official duties. Two other police officers were less fortunate.
The second instance of accessing Grishaeva’s information through the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ system was also recorded on February 25th, but it was through the account of another police officer, Major Boris Zheleznyak (name changed), who was the duty officer at the Rostokino district department.
Zheleznyak explained to the Directorate for Own Security that he was indeed on duty that day but did not request information about the spouse of the vice-speaker of the State Duma. He suggested that other police officers who entered the duty office and used the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ information system under his account might have done so.
According to Zheleznyak, during his duty shift, criminal investigators and precinct officers frequently entered the premises to conduct various checks on information accounts. He was not aware of whether other officers from the Rostokino district department had checked Grishaeva’s records.
This explanation did not satisfy the authorities. They saw a violation of the "Personal Data" law in Major Zheleznyak’s actions because he did not ensure measures to protect this data from "unauthorized access and dissemination."
Another case of accessing Grishaeva’s information occurred on March 27th. Someone attempted to obtain information about the vehicles registered to the vice-speaker’s spouse through the "GIBDD-M" system. This time, it was queried from the account of Major Sergey Znatkov (name changed), who works in one of the registration units of the State Traffic Safety Inspectorate (GIBDD).
The request for information about Grishaeva’s vehicles was made from Znatkov’s account.
Znatkov could not provide specific details regarding the information obtained about Grishaeva, citing the passage of time and the large number of citizens who accessed the system daily.
However, Znatkov informed the authorities that visitors frequently parked their cars haphazardly near the department’s building, and inspectors had to check the owners’ vehicle numbers through the system to have the cars removed. Nonetheless, the authorities did not believe this theory, as on March 27th, Grishaeva and her representatives did not approach the GIBDD unit.
The conclusion of the investigation by the Main Directorate for Own Security recommended the dismissal from service of Major Boris Zheleznyak and Major Sergey Znatkov for "gross violation of official discipline." The investigation results and proposed penalties were approved by the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, General-Lieutenant Alexander Makarov.
Vice-Speaker of the State Duma Igor Lebedev declined to comment on "Baza’s" question about who initiated the investigation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs officers.