The criminal “head of the state council” from the occupiers, Volodymyr Konstantinov, recently reported that “since the beginning of 2023, 1,890 long-distance trains have arrived in Crimea, transporting 1.9 million people, which is more than 67% more than last year’s figure”.
In the best traditions of the occupying “powers”, the fake “speaker” presents the mentioned fake numbers as another “gain”, but what is the real state of the railway infrastructure of the Crimea, who control it and launder money from it, associate professor Andriy Chvalyuk researched specially for the Association of Reintegration of Crimea.
Earlier, we already covered the criminal “work” of the illegal “state unitary enterprise” “Crimean Railway”, through which the funds of “federal investments” were laundered until 2021, and our predictions that “the money will soon run out” quickly became a sad reality for the Crimean collaborators.
The facts indicate that this time people “from the mainland” were tasked with “utilizing federal subsidies”, and the criminal “management” of “Crimean Railway” is increasingly pushed away from the federal “feeder”.
Recently, the aggressor’s “court” imprisoned the former criminal “general director” of “Crimean Railway” Gennady Frolov for embezzlement of 40 million rubles due to the alleged “performance of construction and installation work on loading and unloading platforms”, which traditionally were only on paper.
If the previous “general director” of “Crimean Railway” was sent to prison because of the “miserable 40 million”, it is difficult to imagine the appetites of the “new chief” – Mykhailo Goncharov, who has been holding a fake “position” for the third year.
After all, he is now engaged in the same thing as his less successful predecessor – “reconstruction of platforms” at railway stations. However, “learned from other people’s mistakes”, he nevertheless “heeded” and “ordered a project” from the Siberian company “Sibgiprotrans” and received “positive conclusions on the reconstruction of passenger platforms” from “HlavGosEkspertyza” at 18 stations, which is why the money was laundered until they run out.
Let’s return to Gennady Frolov again. It is noteworthy that the news about the detention of the ex-director was reported by the aggressor’s “press” under the interesting headline “the flow of cargo left Kherson – and embezzlement was revealed on the Crimean railway”. It is not difficult to guess that it was the occupiers who were criminally deported from Kherson in the summer of 2022 with the help of the “Crimean Railway”.
Before the start of the large-scale invasion of Ukraine, “Crimean Railway” was kept “afloat” mainly thanks to its participation in the military logistics schemes of the Russian occupiers. The company actively contributed and still continues to contribute to the occupation and militarization of the Crimea, carrying out the transportation of Russian troops and military equipment, and also illegally transports a number of goods from the peninsula to Russia, which also violates Ukrainian legislation and sanctions restrictions.
In order for the “Crimean Railway” not to stop its ineffective activity, the occupiers “subsidized it annually from the federal and republican budgets”. But if in the first years after the occupation of Crimea, sums of 7 billion rubles appeared, part of which was to be received by “Crimean Railway” to support its activities, then over the years the tranches became smaller and smaller, and “full compensation” took on the character of “partial”. Instead, “Crimean Railway” was included in the corruption scheme “reimbursing losses in income arising from the establishment of preferential tariffs for the transportation of agricultural products”. It should be noted that the Prime Minister of Russia personally ordered “to send in 2022 budget allocations … in the amount of 2 billion rubles to provide subsidies from the federal budget” to “Russian Railways” and “Crimean Railway” for such “compensation of losses”.
It will be recalled that the Russian government began to subsidize the export of grain at the end of 2017. Due to a sharp drop in prices, a decision was made to export grain from “regions of Russia far from ports”. It was planned that this “will allow to stabilize the price situation in the regions participating in the program”.
It may come as a surprise that occupied Crimea is on this list, given that the region has several of its own ports controlled by the invaders. But everything becomes clear if you compare several dates. On March 1, 2022, the Russian invaders capture the city of Kherson and all its infrastructure, earlier this also happened in Melitopol and Berdyansk. And on March 22 of the same year, the government of Russia makes a criminal decision to allocate subsidies to the “Crimean Railway” for “compensation of grain transportation costs”.
Taking into account the fact that the export of stolen mainland grain and its delivery to the ports of occupied Crimea and to Russia via Crimea was carried out by “Crimean Railway”, the decision made by the Russian government shows signs of a planned criminal plan.
However, the occupiers did not stop there. On November 11, 2022, the “subsidy provision rules” were amended, and “cereal processing products” were added to the “list of subsidized products”. Flour, groats, flakes, tolokno, food bran – “Crimean Railway” kindly helped the occupiers to loot in the occupied areas of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. It is noteworthy that, in contrast to stolen grain, “subsidies” for “suburban transportation”, namely for the so-called “compensation of income losses arising as a result of state regulation of tariffs” are often stolen even into the pockets of criminal railway operators.
For example, in the spring of this year, the fake “Sevastopol Arbitration Court” refused “Crimea Railway” to “collect” from the criminal “city government” “compensation for the transportation of passengers in the territory of the region” for 2019 in the amount of 102 million rubles.
This is not the first dispute between the “city authorities” and the “Crimean Railway”. The previous story was related to the “reimbursement of 180 million” allegedly “underpaid by the carrier for the years 2017-2018”. The fake “arbitration” lasted more than three years and ended with the decision of the Russia’s Supreme Court dated March 7, 2023, which was also not in favor of “Crimean Railway”. The aggressor pointed out that “Crimean Railway” “accepted the obligation to provide services” “receiving subsidies directly from the federal budget”.
The “arbitration” papers show that “according to the agreement with the Federal Railway Transport Agency” in 2017, the illegal carrier received 5.7 million rubles, and in 2018 – 5.5 million, but “the full coverage of incurred expenses is not stipulated in the agreement”. And these “incomplete compensation” funds, of course, “are not reimbursed automatically” and “applications, for various reasons, are rejected by commission members”.
Which is not surprising, because they need not only to get a kickback, but also to lobby for the interests of the “new Crimean carrier”, which since the beginning of 2020 has become a fake “limited liability company” “South Suburban Passenger Company”, “subsidiary” of the “transport company” “Grand Service Express”.
As for “Crimean Railway”, it is a steadily unprofitable “enterprise” and the decrease in the amount of “federal subsidies” is rapidly bringing it closer to bankruptcy. If it was a “private enterprise”, the process of liquidation would have started a long time ago, but the propaganda and military importance of the “Crimean Railway” forces the occupiers to keep it afloat.
If from 2015 to 2017 “Crimean Railway” drew “profit” from 355 to 50 million rubles per year, then the “losses” recognized by the occupiers amounted to hundreds of millions, and in the last two years before the large-scale invasion they were 2.8 billion and 3, 4 billion respectively; in 2022, this figure was 3.6 billion rubles.
As noted by Yuriy Smilyanskyi, “Crimean Railway” is a “forced necessity” for aggressive Russia and Crimean collaborators who seek to “launder” funds “through the implementation of fake projects, including infrastructure ones”. But in this story, we should not forget “Grand Service Express” (“GSE”). This is a private Russian company and at one time it was the first private railway carrier in the Russian Federation. It is noteworthy that it was he who was “entrusted” with the illegal “transportation of Russian tourists” to Crimea, of course first changing the owner, or it would be more correct to say hiding the ends to him.
In May 2019, the company was “bought by a private railway operator” “TransKlasService” and a month later “resold it to an unknown buyer”. Most likely, the occupiers tried to avoid Western sanctions with the help of such manipulations. The Russia’s Ministry of Transport indicated that the “GSE” company itself took the initiative to carry out transportation to Crimea. Its head, Oleksandr Ganov, said in an interview with “Vidomosty” that “he does not plan to create a separate structure for transportation to Crimea, because he does not see sanctions risks”.
However, less than a month after “GSE’s” “daughter”, “Southern Suburban Passenger Company”, delivered the first Russians to the Crimea, “GSE” and its director were sanctioned by the EU, the US and some other European countries. Journalists were able to unearth that 50 % of “GSE” belongs to the Cypriot company “Sorena Investments Limited”, another 50% – “Piper Participation Corp”, registered in the British Virgin Islands. But its ultimate beneficiary is still unknown.
Oleksandr Ganov, the general director himself, who headed “GSE” in August 2019, is an interesting personality. Before that, he managed to work as the first deputy head of the administration of the Tambov region, the deputy governor and the first deputy head of the government of the Voronezh region, the minister of investments and innovations in the government of the Moscow region, the first deputy head of the administration of the Moscow region. So, as can be seen from his biography, he is not just a person close to the “decision-making centers” of the aggressor country, but also a classic “apparatchik” who does not like the livery of a “private railway carrier for the delivery of Russians to Crimea”.
Well, therefore, it is not at all surprising that the daughter of “GSE” became a washing machine for the funds of the “departmental target program” “Ensuring the availability of railway transport services”. The latter was supposedly “aimed at ensuring the functioning” of the infamous “Crimean Railway” and in 2024, “subsidies to the “Crimean Railway” from the federal budget” regarding “free travel by rail transport in suburban traffic” were drawn in it. Only these subsidies, “according to the results of consideration of competitive applications”, are not received by “Crimean Railway’, but rather by “Southern Suburban Passenger Company” from “GSE”.
For example, in 2023, the “Southern Suburban Passenger Company” received a “federal subsidy” in the amount of “861 thousand rubles for every thousand passengers-beneficiaries transported in Crimea” and it is easy to guess that “for some reason” the number of such “beneficiaries” “suddenly increased”.
And since, among other things, the daughter of “GSE” serves the illegal suburban train “Kerch Anapa”, the fake thousands of beneficiaries who crossed the Kerch Strait by electric train turn into the millions of tourists painted by Aksyonov However, this financial “poultry” did not work and starting from 2022, the newly created “enterprise” began to “show losses”. But its “mother” “GSE” for 2022 showed an increase in net profit almost tenfold to 3.7 billion rubles. And this is not surprising, because “GSE” “collects the cream”, not even wanting to launder funds for the “repair” of worn-out equipment, platforms and station buildings controlled by “Crimean Railway”. However, collaborators like the criminal “head of the directorate for passenger services” of the “Crimean Railway” Volodymyr Reznichenko are all right, because the occupiers trust the “state enterprise” to steal “at a loss”.
Therefore, the appearance of a “private railway carrier” for “work” in the occupied Crimea and the creation of a “maximum favorable regime” for it are based on the propaganda goal of the aggressor, an attempt to circumvent sanctions, as well as the desire to “assist federal funds on passengers” leaving the fake “Crimean Railway” to carry out cargo fraud and infrastructure.