Taking in account that the series of our publications provides the readers with a clear notion on the not quite legal actions of our neighbor who can be definitely named Gas station-Country, it is impossible not to tell about smuggling the petroleum products in the region, in brief.

According to the data provided by the Federal Customs Service of the RF, the foreign trade of Krasnodar Krai comprised $9.5 bln. in January—October 2019, $6 bln. of that sum is the export income. In 2018, for the same period, the index was about $7 bln. Even according to the official statistics, the most fast moving consumer goods supplied from Krasnodar Krai abroad are petroleum products. On the territory of the region, there are five oil refineries such as Ilsk, Afipsk, Tuapsynsk, Krasnodar, Sloviansk Eco, and 20 petroleum storage depots.  According to the data of the Russian Export Centre, the fuel amount in the structure of the Krai export, in January — October 2019, comprised almost 54%. It is over $3.2 bln.

Besides, there is a considerable smuggling market of petroleum products with visible signs of the control of the RF government and Russian secret services. For instance, in December 2019, as soon as the Russian FSB received the necessary materials, the Russian transport police brought a criminal action acc. to Art. 226.1 of the RF Criminal Code on Smuggling the Strategically Important Goods and Resources. The criminals were accused of the illegal oil supplies comprising 2 bln. Russian roubles. But don’t be so fast. It is not the time to crack open the Champaign. The official government of the RF reported they ransacked the houses and offices of the businessmen being the alleged criminals who are accused of smuggling the petroleum products through Turkey to Ukraine. 

If you take a close look at the accusations addressed to Ukraine, it becomes clear who exactly fabricated them: “We, the Russians, are so good, and the Ukrainian purchaser is a shameless criminal trying to do the best to grab our ‘treasure’. But for the Turkish mediator, whom we ‘respect’, we would have never had such big troubles’. It is interesting how the Russians try to kill two birds with one stone. Since 2015, Russian has tried to take advantage of its own smuggling in order to accuse Turkey and Ukraine at a time.

In particular, the Russian Ministry of Defence that has the evidence including the satellite photos proving the President of Turkey and his close relatives are involved in signing a financial agreement with the ISIS. ‘Erdogan and his family are involved in smuggling the oil’ and ‘The cynicism of the turkish government is without limits’, the French publication Le Figaro quoted the statement of Anatoliy Antonov, the Russian Deputy Defence Secretary. Why not to believe that and take everything for granted? But there is another fact that attracts our attention. After the independent experts discovered Russia was involved in smuggling the petroleum products to Malta, which caused a great international and public stir, they prepared an appropriate resolution of the UNSC, but Russia blocked it.

According to the similar scheme, the RF tries to treat and use smuggling the petroleum, helping the Libyan henchmen supported by Russia and not recognized by the UNO. Although, in such a case, the political priorities a little bit altered, and they accused the USA of smuggling the oil.  So, the Russian Defence Ministry themselves have published their space reconnaissance photos clearly proving the USA involvement in smuggling the Syrian oil. In the photos, as the Russians assure, ‘Both before and after the ISIS terrorists were defeated, they actively extracted the oil, sending it in large quantity in the petrol tankers for the refinery beyond Syria, under a reliable guard of the servicemen of the USA’.

The petrol theme has its own history. Since the 1990-s, in Russia, they started to divide of the criminal market of the petroleum products, which was called The Great Oil War, then. For instance, the fact that, in the middle of the 1990-s,  Moscow City Office of Public Prosecutor united the investigations of 44 murders and a number of attempts on the oilmen as well as the gangsters linked to them. Those crimes were done in Moscow and Moscow Oblast in 1994. 

The criminal gangbangs made a stink in other regions. The 1995-detention of three interregional criminal formations consisting of 23 people in total also helped to understand better the reasons of the bloody manoeuvres in the sphere of oil and gas business. The colleagues from Ukraine and Interpol helped the Russian law enforcement authorities to find the killers and their masterminds because, apart from other things, the leaders of the criminal communities were looking for the opportunities to organize shipping the supplies through the Ukrainian ports.  Since that time, there haven’t been other similar situations in the interaction between Ukrainian and Russian law enforcement authorities.

At a time, one of the killers was ordered to kill a competitor who was the head of the Department for the Foreign Economic Affairs at JSC Astrakhangazprom run by Yuriy Makhoshvili. The latter was shot down from Makarov pistol. He got four abdomen wounds and two back wounds. Fortunately, it was a narrow escape for Yuriy as far as he underwent a quick and highly professional surgery.  

After that, Yu. O. Makhoshvili even left Russia for Kazakhstan where he had worked at Kazakh-American joint venture Tengizshevroil founded in April 1993, for several years. Later, Yuriy Oleksandrovych came back to Astrakhan and kept on supervising the marketing and foreign economic activity, working as a Deputy General Director of Astrakhangazprom.

It is advisable to remark that, after the Caspian Pipeline Consortium was put into operation in 2001, all the oil of Tengiz, where Yu.O. Makhoshvili worked before, went to Krasnodar Krai (Novorosiysk).  Thanks to the support from above, Yu. O. Makhoshvili managed to get considerable administrative resources as far as he had become the Minister of the Fuel and Energy Complex and Natural Resources in Astrakhan Oblast since 2007. The ministry had changed their name many times.  The Governor of Astrakhan Oblast issued the Resolution No. 629 as of 10th Dec. 2008 and ordered to adopt Yu.O. for the office of Deputy Chairman of the government of Astrakhan Oblast, i.e. Minister of Industry & Transport.  

As Mr. Makhoshvili was adopted for the Minister, one of the sources informed that the new minister is not an cannot be influenced by Kostiantyn Markelov the Chairman of the government of Astrakhan Oblast. Besides, the source stated that Yuriy Makhoshvili ‘rode on a tremendous capital’. Before he was fired from the state service, he actively promoted and advocated the concept of the formation of a special economic sector on the territory of the region. The sector did not include the biggest shipbuilding regional enterprises such as Lotos, International III, and ASPO as basements for the economic sector. The formation of the sector allowed its members to get considerable economic preferences in the oil and sea industries, first of all. 

There was a little detail: Yu.O. Makhoshvili had his own office in Gazprom, too. The readers who love to do difficult sums can surf the net and find one of his interview he gave right in his Moscow office of Gazprom. Then, correspondent paid attention to the phone call made from London, and Makhoshvili fluently spoke English to his abonent. He explained that fact simply: he was a graduate of some special English courses, so, the communication with foreigners was a piece of cake for him.

Yu.O. Makhoshvili was allowed to contact the representatives of Iran government and business. For example, on 11-15th July 2010, he was invited by Astrakhan Chamber of Industry and Commerce to take part in the meeting with a delegation of business circles from Mazandaran Province, the Islamic Republic of Iran. The meeting was held in Al Pash Grand Hotel, and the delegation, including Musa Vafayan, President of Mazandaran Chamber of Industry, Commerce & Bowels was headed by Province Governor-General Ali Akbar-ol-Taha. Was that possible to organize without the decision from above? We should not think up.

Taking an active commercial part in the oil business, Yu.O. Makhoshvili headed TOV Astrakhan-Neft, working as a general director.  After Mr. Makhoshvili retired, he became the general director of the Southern Oil Company YuNK. It was one of the leading enterprises of the gas and oil industry in Astrakhan Oblast. It carries out geological survey, geophysical, and geochemical works in the field of the research of the interior part of the earth as well as the hydrocarbon deposits development.

To add more strokes to the image of a respectable businessman and Maecenas, it is advisable to mention that Mr. Makhoshvili was the president of Astrakhan Football Club Volgar-Gazprom from 2013 to October 2017. Later, he was into water polo      and engaged into building of two facilities, working as a member of the Presidium of the Russian Water Polo Federation and president at Water Polo Federation in Astrakhan Oblast. 

One of our sources reported Yu.O. Makhoshvili visited the Autonomous Republic of Crimea twice on 2nd-7th September and on 22nd – 24th November in 2013, before the occupation. Besides, as he crossed the border, he showed three different passports No. 1200102079, 511956953, and 731277939. It was not difficult at all to figure out that Yu.O. Makhoshvili became a partner of some very interesting businessmen, but we will tell you about that in the next part of our story.  

To be continued…