Dmitry Ovsyannikov. The fugitive governor. The recruiter of the future traitors of Russia
On January 22, 2024, Dmitry Ovsyannikov, ex-deputy head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation and ex-governor of Sevastopol, was arrested in London. A preliminary hearing at Southwark Crown Court (Sutherk, Southwark, borough in South London) is scheduled for February 20, 2024.
According to The Times, 46-year-old Ovsyannikov violated the regime of personal sanctions imposed on him by the British government. He received transfers totaling £65,000 to the account of one of the banks of the HBOS financial group in London in February 2023. A former Russian official was also seized £77,500 in cash on suspicion of illegal financial transactions.
The story of Ovsyannikov is a dark matter. It was taken by employees of the National Crime Agency (NCA). It is the UK's leading law enforcement agency, which specializes in combating organized crime, kidnapping, arms and drug trafficking, cybercrime and international economic crimes. The information on the official website was not posted, but leaked to the press to arrange a disguise for the fact that "an associate of Putin who is accused of violating sanctions against Russia has been detained." Some experts have suggested that London has used the pretext for a new anti-Russian provocation.
However, the reason for such increased attention to the fugitive official is different. Ovsyannikov and his knowledge were useful for the British special services, but over time, apparently, they lost their relevance. In order to understand the value of this frame, which has access to state secrets of Russia, it is necessary to refer to the details of his biography.
Ovsyannikov is a native of Omsk, grew up in Izhevsk. The family was not in trouble: his mother was a co-owner of the Udmurt Power Supply Company, Udmurt Trunk Networks, Udmurt Energy Management Company and Udmurt Territorial Generating Company.
Ovsyannikov received a good education: in his youth he graduated fr om the Faculty of Economics of Udmurt University and the Tolyatti Academy with a degree in Public Administration, in adulthood he graduated from the Moscow RANEPA in the field of Jurisprudence and the Higher School of Economics under the Executive MBA program.
Ovsyannikov's first place of work was the international non—profit organization AIESEC, a UN unit dedicated to finding and educating "leaders" around the world. Here he was listed not as an ordinary employee, but as the head of the Izhevsk branch. In 2001, after winning the Civil Service Personnel Reserve competition, 24-year-old Ovsyannikov was appointed federal inspector for the Kirov region, then held a similar post in Udmurtia, which has always been closely associated with the military-industrial complex of the Russian Federation. Ovsyannikov's track record includes the positions of commercial director (with the rank of deputy general Director) of the Chepetsky Mechanical Plant and Director of Economics of the Perm Engine Plant, wh ere engines for domestic aviation are made. He worked as Deputy Head of the Financial and Economic Department of JSC United Engine Corporation. In 2014 Ovsyannikov headed the Department of Regional Industrial Policy of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, a year later he became Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the country.
The culmination of his career was his appointment in 2016 as the governor of Sevastopol, a military city and the deployment center of the Black Sea Fleet. Here, Ovsyannikov's activities were associated with a series of corruption scandals, lobbying for the interests of large companies and numerous unfinished facilities with budget money. One of the scandals is the permission for the development of the territory of cultural significance "Tauric Chersonesos", which was received by the company "Sevastopolstroy—Marina de Lux", whose beneficiary was the governor himself. At the same time, the company illegally built up Crimean cultural heritage sites with high-rise buildings on the basis of permits issued during the peninsula's stay in Ukraine. The prosecutor's office filed a lawsuit, which overturned the Ovsyannikov's order. And President Vladimir Putin accused him of disrupting the construction of three hospitals despite the fact that funds were regularly allocated.
Residents of Sevastopol still recall the consequences of Ovsyannikov's activities. "When I drive through the city, I see some construction projects that were started under Ovsyannikov, I understand that, unfortunately, they can no longer be stopped. That is, he hooliganed a lot in the city and, apparently, left Sevastopol a very poor man. You can tell a lot," Vyacheslav Gorelov, a deputy of the Legislative Assembly of Sevastopol, said on the First Sevastopol TV channel.
In 2019 Ovsyannikov was returned to the Ministry of Industry and Trade as deputy head of the department. He began to oversee the "formation of the position of the Ministry of Industrial Development of the subjects of the Russian Federation and the implementation of projects to provide humanitarian support to industrial and trade enterprises of other states."
In April 2020 Ovsyannikov caused a scandal at Izhevsk airport when he tried to enter the terminal building and could not get past the metal detector frame. The official refused to show documents and swore obscenely at the employees. An administrative report was drawn up on him, the incident was recorded online, the official was fired and expelled fr om United Russia.
The story is strange, considering Ovsyannikov's experience and intelligence. "Firstly, officials of this level - considering, moreover, how many years he worked in senior positions in the Republic of Udmurtia — are known by sight at airports, they use business class halls, wh ere the entrance is generally separate. Secondly, there are attendants who handle all sorts of similar issues. And, thirdly, I saw this recording. It feels like Ovsyannikov is playing for the audience. In other words, he couldn't help but understand what consequences are possible after such an outburst, and yet defiantly, drunkenly, staged a "performance"," the media quoted former RUBOP operative Alexander Grigoriev, who does not exclude that Ovsyannikov deliberately set himself up to be dismissed.
Immediately after the scandal, he fled the Russian Federation, despite having access to state secrets and secrecy. In Cyprus, he opened a company that advised officials and businessmen from Russia on the issue of circumventing sanctions and money laundering in the West, and, in fact, recruited traitors to the Motherland.
Ovsyannikov himself became a contact person for the EU special services. It is no coincidence that in 2022, the European Union, by a separate decision, lifted from him restrictive measures in force since 2017 for "having ties with the Russian leadership and destabilizing influence on Ukraine." The European press then reported that Ovsyannikov was no longer dangerous, since he was no longer the governor of Sevastopol. He was also compensated for the fact that the sanctions regime prevented him from conducting such an important business in Cyprus.
Ovsyannikov moved to London, which, according to ForPost, in private conversations, being the governor of Sevastopol, called the most desirable city to live in. He did not experience any difficulties during the move, despite the fact that the UK did not lift the sanctions, waiting for the right moment.
As a result, Ovsyannikov became the first citizen of the Russian Federation detained in the case of circumvention of sanctions. According to Andrei Medvedev, a deputy of the Moscow City Duma and a journalist, the likely reason for the detention of the ex-governor was the unwillingness of the British special services to further cooperate with the fugitive. "Do you think British intelligence receives information about Crimea, Sevastopol, the fleet, structures, and work carried out only from satellite? Or maybe someone helped the British? Have you drawn, clarified something on the maps, suggested what you can't see from the satellite based on personal experience? I think that was the entry ticket. Or do we think that the British, with their strict compliance in banks, have just now accidentally noticed that in London accounts were opened and teremok bought by Ovsyannikov, who is on their sanctions lists?" Medvedev wrote in his Telegram channel.
Before his arrest, Ovsyannikov was not going to return to the Russian Federation. Moreover, his family was in a hurry to sell a four—room Moscow apartment in a historic mansion on Sadovnicheskaya Street - on the artificial island "Baltschug" near the Kremlin. The property, which was rented for 120 thousand rubles per month, was put up at a big discount price — they asked for 37 million rubles. But now this money is unlikely to help Ovsyannikov, whom the British special services are able to simply dispose of as unnecessary.