At the end of 2017, Iryna Solovyova, a functionary of a criminal group from Balashikha near Moscow, became the “chief architect” of Crimea with a “probationary period” of three months. And four years later, this “temporary figure” became one of the shadow leaders of the invaders’ “administration”. This article is devoted to Solovyova’s role in the system of “governing” the Crimea, in the clan of the Russian Minister of Defense and in the international fishing mafia.

Fantastic characters of the Moscow region

In the second half of the 1970s, while the USSR was in a state of “developed stagnation”, the first organized criminal groups in the communist empire appeared in Balashikha near Moscow [3]. The current “chief architect” of the Crimea Solovyova become the “graduate” of one of the oldest modern gangster schools in Russia.

The incident, that brought the criminalized official Iryna Solovyova to the Crimea, took place in Alushta in 1992. Here, in a temporary detention center, a Chechen thief-in-law “Sultan” (Sultan Daudov) and a criminal from Balashikha “Soloma” (Grigory Solomatin) met. In 1993, at Daudov’s request, Solomatin shot the leader of the Balashikha group, “Frol” (Sergei Frolov), who at the time was a partner of the legendary criminal “authority”, “Yaponchik” (Vyacheslav Ivankov).

However, Solomatin was immediately killed by friends of “Frol”, and the criminal “Yasny” (Valery Smirnov) became the leader of this powerful group and he is still in this role now. The bandit, who controls billions of dollars in land operations, construction and operation of landfills in Moscow Oblast, got a “roof” in the form of Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, during the period when he was the governor of the Moscow Oblast. As for the new governor Andrei Vorobyov, who replaced Shoygu, the residents of the Moscow Oblast are not sure – who is the most important in the region, the daytime governor of Russian President, Mr. Vorobyov, or the night boss Valery “Yasny” Smirnov [1]. However, Shoygu did not go anywhere from Moscow Oblast, as the new governor was the son of Shoygu’s old colleague from his work in Krasnoyarsk, a communist functionary Yury Vorobyov.

Valery Smirnov registered his “legal assets” for the wife of his henchman Yevhen Zhirkov [2], who worked as the mayor of Balashikha for many years. In turn, Iryna Solovyova is a long-term close colleague of Zhirkov. A typical video of bureaucratic-thieving communication in Balashikha was posted on the Internet, where it was said that some premises should be re-registered at the request of Solovyova’s relatives [4]. This confirms the high status of Iryna Solovyova in the Balashikha clan, friendly to Shoygu, the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation.

Solovyova, along with her longtime boss Zhirkov, was also linked to the “raider capture” of the Balashikha neighboring town of Zheleznodorozhny. This settlement became a part of the Balashikha District and it began to be ruled by Zhirkov and Solovyova in the interests of the group of Valery “Yasny” Smirnov, of course without taking into account the views of the “attached” town’s inhabitants

For the past thirty years, the Moscow Oblast has been characterized by the Russians themselves as a criminal ghetto, where the underworld operates billions of dollars. Locals describe the land and real estate transactions, construction of neighborhoods of low-quality apartment buildings without social infrastructure, the creation and maintenance of illegal migrants’ settlements. There is also earnings from the work of giant landfills, where toxic waste is dumped from Moscow, which has turned the region into a zone of ecological disaster.

Residents of Balashikha themselves complained that Solovyova and her colleagues had turned the city into a “stone sack without household excesses” and accused her of lobbying for the construction of Moscow Patriarchate temples on an industrial assembly line level at the expense of preserved green areas [9], [10]. Iryna Solovyova became an expert in the administration of such spheres, in accordance with the interests of the transnational Russian mafia. She went to Crimea to implement a real, not a TV “Russian World” after the 2017’s garbage scandal.

It will be recalled that while preparing for the most important image project for the Russian president – the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the Kremlin was concerned about the problem of the giant “Kuchino” landfill. The fact that this object poisoned the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed the ecology of the Moscow Oblast, did not worry the Russian authorities. After all, it brought billions to the leader of the Balashikha group, Valery Smirnov, and to his business partners, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, to Moscow Region Governor Andrei Vorobyov, and to the son of Russian Prosecutor General Artem Chaika.

But possible social protests by locals over the cyclopean dump during the World Cup, and the threat of forced acquaintance of foreign football and fans with this horrible sewer forced the Russian president to close in 2017 the range and dismiss Balashikha Mayor Yevgeny Zhirkov. Zhirkov soon took a job as deputy mayor and then mayor of Pushkino in the same Moscow Oblast.

As a result of the closure of the landfill in Kuchino, a social crisis broke out in Russia due to attempts to start transporting waste from Moscow to the town of Shies in the Arkhangelsk region. Iryna Solovyova was forced to leave Balashikha after Zhirkov’s resignation, and she was sent to the Crimea by “senior comrades”. This was quite timely, as in the summer of 2019, the Russian authorities decided to make Zhirkov a “scapegoat”, and he was detained on charges of bribery.

Unsuccessful architect Aksonov

“ARC” has already told in details, what are the “master plans” and “spatial planning schemes” for the Russian bureaucratic system, as well as what is the importance of such program “documents” for the invaded Crimea [5], [6].

After Serhiy Kolosov, Vitaliy Kuvalin and Andriy Opalinsky from the “Geoplan Institute” won in 2014-2017 Kuban resident Oleksandr Kuznetsov and Muscovite Anna Tsareva, and got the one-man access to “mastering” budget on the Crimean “master plans”, a conflict begun there [5]. After the Tsareva’s dismissal in July 2017, who failed to establish control over the Crimean “project documentation” in the interests of the “Moscow General Plan Research Institute”, Aksyonov “appointed” himself as “acting chief architect” of Crimea. This outspoken farce, even by the invaders’ standards, was tolerated in the Kremlin for six months, and then Iryna Solovyova, whom we were studying, was sent to the Crimea.

The conspiracy theory was spreaded in certain peninsula’s circles, about the alleged agreement of the Russian president with the “speaker of the State Council” Vladimir Konstantinov and with the “Head of Crimea” Sergei Aksyonov, that Crimea is given to them for three years of unpunished looting, for an assistance in the “Crimean Spring”. But Solovyova’s appointment is supposed to be a signal that these three years have passed.

In response, Aksyonov and Konstantinov began to spread rumors through their entourage that Solovyova was allegedly a “temporary figure”, appointed for several months before the “election” of the Russian president, scheduled for March 2018. But in the spring of 2018, it became clear that Solovyova, who had grown up in the gangster district of the Moscow Oblast, in Balashikha, was sent to the Crimea with a clear task. That she should explain to the “Crimean authorities”, according to the Russian “concepts”, that they are now obliged to “share the loot” not only with the Russian president’s Leningrad gang, but also with the influential Moscow Oblast group of Russian Defense Minister.

Since then, “Crimean leaders” Sergei Aksyonov and Vladimir Konstantinov still retain much of “power” and access to the theft of “budget funds”. But they got Solovyova as their actions’ inside supervisor and for the first time they realized seriously that they had become a “used screen” to seize Crimea with more serious criminals, than their own “Saylem” group. From the same moment the mass “development” of

“budget billions” begins in the Crimea at the “Potemkin villages”, done directly by the Russian military and the Moscow Oblast’s mafia, without taking into account the commercial interests of both Aksyonov and Konstantinov.

General criminal architecture of Crimea

“Discussion on projects of the architectural lighting of buildings and structures of Greater Yalta” was a first public action of the Iryna Solovyova as a “chief architect” of the Crimea [8]. Thus, the “official” immediately indicated interest in areas where she can “master” the maximum amount of money with a minimum of costs. But almost at the same time, Solovyova became involved in the implementation of the Russian method of “dive bars’ demolition”, and it was reported that she would “personally visit each object” [13]. Solovyova declared war on both local crime and small and medium-sized businesses with such criticism of the “dive bars”, in order to put everything under strict control of “federal level” organized crime gangs.

Then the Shoygu-controlled Russian Balashikha gang declared its interest in the “gaming zone project in Katsiveli”, for which Irina Solovyova in early 2018 was “included” in the “working group of the project” [11]. Also, the “chief architect” described herself as a “supervisor” of the interests of the Moscow Oblast gangs in the Yalta ‘Primorsky Park’ [8]. As a result of barbaric “reconstruction”, this park lost most of its greenery and turned into a residential area with skyscrapers of Russian bandits, including Moscow participants of the famous “Three Whales” case, as “ARC” already reported [8], [12]. Solovyova in Balashikha has a wealth of experience in turning parks and squares into “multi-storey stone sacks”, which is especially in demand by Crimean bandits and “Russian investors”, laundering billions of dollars on the peninsula.

In the first half of 2018, Solovyova suffered her first defeat in the Crimea. The “Koktebel Park project” was not implemented, with a goal to destroy the unique village and “cleanse” it of local business in the interests of the wife of the “Head of the Crimea” and her partners from Moscow’s criminal circles, who are no strangers to Shoygu. Despite the strengthening, in the form of “chief architect” Solovyova, “Koktebel Park” ended not with construction, but with scandals about large-scale theft of “budget” and “non-budget” money at the stage of “project documentation” development. Subsequent “administrative decisions” on the “transfer of the embankment and parks of Koktebel to the republican property” were an attempt to “pay off” the situation, which was somewhat out of the dealers’ control.

In the summer of 2018, Iryna Solovyova announced the “development of a new architectural look” of the Crimea. Translated from “Russian bandit” language into plain one, this means that the entire financial side of the attempt to turn the Crimea into an ugly construction site, made of concrete and plasterboard, is taken under control by Moscow Oblast criminals [14].

However, at the end of the summer of 2018, Iryna Solovyova’s patrons and she herself suffered a second major defeat in the Crimea. After the “Head of the Crimea” Sergei Aksyonov, with the help of Yury Chaika, the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, bought from Moscow torture chambers his close ally Andrei Rostenko, the idea of transporting garbage from Moscow to the salty desert of Northern Crimea was talked about. The son of Russian Prosecutor General Artem Chaika was the initiator of this project, under whose leadership Iryna Solovyova, as the deputy mayor of Balashikha, controlled before the famous “Kuchino” landfill. However, as a result of intraspecific struggle between groups of Russian special services, this project was not implemented.

By the end of 2018, with the participation of Solovyova, the Crimean “authorities” reported on the “approval of master plans” of Crimean cities [5]. All these “documents” passed through Solovyova as the “chief architect”. Thus, the Moscow Oblast mafia gained comprehensive knowledge about the specifics of the Crimean “conceptual architecture’s” layout. This allowed to the Shoygu’s and Vorobyov’s groups to put pressure on the “weak spots” of Crimean collaborators and colonizers, in order to capture the main “feeders” in the most monetary, “construction industry” of the invaded Crimea.

In 2019-2020 Solovyova actively participated in various “reconstruction projects” – parks, public spaces and the center of Simferopol, parks and squares of Yalta. In this case, by “agreement” with Solovyova, “tenders” for these multimillion “projects” were received by firms, provided by the “kickbacks”, with “taking into account” the Balashikha group’s interests. Because big finances “like silence”, Solovyova, despite her serious powers to distort Crimea, rarely appears in the media. While “Crimean leaders” Sergei Aksyonov and Vladimir Konstantinov, distract attention and gather all the negativity, Iryna Solovyova is collecting money and information for her Moscow curators under this guise.

After Kovalchuks, friends of Russian President, claimed their rights to exploit Yalta, Irina Solovyova focused, from the end of 2020, on the Simferopol most monetary projects. She began to impose ugly projects on the Gagarin Park reconstruction and the transformation of the Zavodske Airport area into a multi-storey concrete ghetto in the interests of the Balashikha gang [15], [16]. Now Solovyova’s skills in suppressing public resonance, honed by gangster methods over the decades near Moscow, proved to be in demand.

Fish mafia

We need to note that Iryna Solovyova is also a representative of the largest Russian fishery mafia group. Its former boss, the aforementioned governor of the Moscow region, Andrei Vorobyov, through his brother Maxim, was in shares with a friend of the Russian president, Gennady Timchenko, over Russia’s largest profile group of companies, the “Russkoe More”. Hiding from sanctions in 2015, “Russkoe More” was renamed as “Russkaya Akvakultura”, and Timchenko allegedly lost his stake in the corporation to his son-in-law, Gleb Franko. However, the real beneficiaries of this mafia, involved in fishery and fish processing, as well as with the current Russian Minister of Defense, have remained unchanged, and “chief architect” of Crimea represents exactly their interests on the sidelines of the Crimean “government”. The palace of Arkady Volozh, a co-founder of “Yandex” Corporation and a partner of “Russkoye More” Holding, grew up above Gurzuf with Solovyova’s support.

Solovyova also agreed with the “Kaliningrad” team of the FSB “Crimean Directorate” on the large-scale barbaric fishing of bottom trawls off the coast of Crimea in the interests of structures, controlled by the mentioned fishery mafia. This level of patrons explains the lack of any discussion about Solovyova’s future in Crimea. While all others, including “officials”, who came from Russia under Putin’s colonization program, are regularly the subjects of rumors on “resignations”.

Solovyova is “not talked about”, even in the context of a large-scale campaign to “degrease” more unnecessary collaborators and as part of the Kremlin’s loud statements about “punishment” for those, who steal too much or who sabotage the implementation of the “federal target program of Crimean development” However, by signing the main “construction documents” of Crimea according to her “job descriptions”, including the “federal target program” ones, Solovyova cannot but become a key link of the announced “fight against corruption”. The question is only in her final “procedural” role as of such link.

The recent show, when “mobile military hospitals” were set up in Crimea under the guise of fighting the COVID epidemic, and when millions of rubles were “mastered” without local intermediaries, speaks on the strengthening of Shoygu’s positions and on the enforcing the role of the defense minister’s clan in the Crimean “economy”. The deployment of such “medic” facility on the Greater Yalta territory [18] signals on a possible satisfactory relationship between Shoygu and Kovalchuks, who now control the Yalta city. This is evidenced by the current switch of Solovyova from the Southern coast of Crimea to other financial “pastures”.

However, Solovyova’s further prospects, in the conditions of intensification of landslides and other technogenic processes in Crimea, as well as of the water crisis, provoked by the occupiers’ mismanagement [19], are rather vague, even considering her role as a key staff at the “winners’ banquet”.

Eugen Gaivoronsky