Putin's bodyguard and an FSB colonel were in charge of the ammunition factory that left more than 20,000 Russians without heat

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered to nationalization the Klimovsk Specialized Ammunition Plant, reports the news outlet Riamo, citing the Governor of the Moscow Region, Andrei Vorobyov.

Vorobyov attributed Putin’s decision to an incident that left around 20,000 people without heating in Podolsk city during the New Year's holidays. He stated that the boiler house, managed by the factory, operated "very poorly" and access to it was restricted due to the plant's classified status.

The governor noted that the two owners of the plant are abroad. Their names have not been disclosed, and according to the SPARK-Interfax system (the Russian business registrar), they are absent due to the factory being a closed joint-stock company.

The Russian Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case on Sunday into the provision of services that did not meet safety requirements, and on Tuesday, it detained the head of the boiler house, the director of the factory, and the deputy head of the Podolsk administration, who had approved the boiler house’s readiness certificate for the heating season. The names of the detainees have not been released.

As reported by Agensvo. Novosti, the SPARK-Interfax database indicates that as of May 2023, Igor Kushnikov has been the plant's CEO. The news outlet writes that this is the same Kushnikov who was accused in the late 1990s - early 2000s of leading the Golyanovo organized crime group while concurrently serving in the FSB (Russian Federal Security Service), where he reached the rank of colonel.

The newspaper Kommersant reports, citing sources, that while working in the FSB's information-analytical department in 1992, Kushnikov established a criminal group in Moscow with 150 members. The investigation alleges that he provided the group with cover and supplied weapons, equipment, special passes prohibiting vehicle inspections, and orchestrated their operations.

The publication noted that the gang was implicated in at least 40 murders, although only four charges were officially brought. The group was also accused of banditry, extortion, attempted murders, bombings, and illegal weapons trafficking.

Kommersant reported that prosecutors, lawyers, and the judge found the quality of the investigation to be very poor, and the case built "mainly on speculation."

As a result, Kushnikov was only found guilty of abuse of power and was released due to the statute of limitations. One gang member was acquitted, another was sent for compulsory treatment, while the rest received up to 10 years imprisonment, the newspaper wrote.

According to SPARK data, Kushnikov headed the Velozavodskiy Market in Moscow in the early 2010s. As of May 2023, he became the CEO of the Klimovsk Cartridge Plant, SPARK confirms. In June 2023, Kushnikov participated in a ceremony handing over a boat to a veteran of the Russian special operation in Ukraine.

The MediaBank of Moscow Region website features a photo gallery from this event. An analysis by Agensvo.Nocvosti revealed that Kushnikov in this photo gallery and the Kushnikov mentioned in the Kommersant newspaper's 2001 publication about the Golyanovo criminal group are the same person.

Prior to Kushnikov, the factory was managed for a year by Igor Rudyka.

As reported by Kommersant, Rudyka is a former FSB "Alfa" serviceman and an FSO (Federal Protective Service) staff member. Agensvo.Novosti suggests that from at least 2017 to 2019, Rudyka regularly appeared among Putin's security guards.

Before these security service veterans took over, Ivan Dorogikh managed the factory for nearly four years. Early in 2023, it emerged that he was hired at the plant using a fake higher education diploma. Kommersant also reported that Dorogikh could face more severe charges related to funneling funds through affiliated companies, leasing premises, and selling factory machinery at reduced prices.

  Putin, Klimovsk, Russia