Three high-ranking law enforcement officials have been dismissed in Daghestan by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Commentators have speculated the dismissals could be a result of their involvement in several controversial investigations.
The 7 September decree from President Putin dismissed around 30 senior law enforcement officials across Russia, Kommersant reported. The list included Daghestan’s chief prosecutor, Denis Popov, and the head and deputy head of the republic’s Investigative Committee, Sergey Dubrovin, and Tugay Tugayev.
The Deputy Chief Prosecutor of Daghestan, Aleksey Yezhov, replaced Popov as Chief Prosecutor. Popov received an appointment as head of the Moscow Prosecutor’s Office.
Sergey Dubrovin was appointed the head of Daghestan’s investigative Committee two years ago, after heading the Stavropol Investigation Committee.
The Investigative Committee declined to comment on his and Tugayev’s dismissals, saying only that they were not yet aware of who would replace them.
‘Connections’ with the Arashukhov case
Daghestani newspaper Chernovik reported on 3 September that Dubrovin had offered to resign over the criminal case against the Arashukov family.
Rauf Arashukov, a Russian senator for Karachay-Cherkessia, was arrested in January along with two family members. The family was accused of stealing millions of dollars worth of gas from Gazprom en route from Stavropol Krai to Daghestan.
[Read on OC Media: Russian senator for Karachay–Cherkessia arrested over double murder]
Karachay-Cherkessia’s Chief Prosecutor was fired in April, reportedly over the Arashukov investigation, and the office of Dubrovin’s deputy, who subsequently resigned, was searched in Daghestan in February.
On 3 September, the Daghestani Investigative committee denied that Dubrovin had resigned, saying he was on sick leave.
Magomed Magomedov, a political observer for Chernovik, told OC Media that Dubrovin’s resignation was also related to a criminal case against the former head of Derbent District, Magomed Dzhelilov.
A case against Dzhelilov was opened in March 2018 on fraud charges. A court in Daghestan released him under house arrest and the charges were subsequently dropped.
According to Magomedov, the charges against Dzhelilov were dropped thanks to the intervention of Dubrovin, then–deputy prosecutor of Daghestan Aleksey Yezhov, and head of the legal department of the General Prosecutor’s Office.
‘After his release, Dzhelilov tried to get back his job through the courts, but in April this year he was again detained for illegal distribution of land in 2015, but this time by employees of the main investigative department of Russia’, Magomedov said.
According to him, Dzhelilov was taken to a detention centre in Moscow later that day.
Magomedov said that at this point, law enforcement officials in Moscow faced a choice: to dismiss Dubrovin and Yezhov or to prosecute them. He said that the president’s decision to re-assign them presented them with a convenient solution.
‘The situation will not change much’
According to Daghestani Political commentator Eduard Urazayev, Denis Popov’s career has been helped by the support of his candidacy from the leadership of the Prosecutor’s Office.
‘This is evidenced by the short terms of his service in various positions and by the specifics of the regions in which he worked. It’s a plus to him that in Daghestan, he generally implemented an anti-corruption campaign’, Urzayev told OC Media.
According to Urzayev, under Dubrovin, the course of investigations into many criminal cases as part of the anti-corruption campaign ‘raised questions not only from lawyers but also from many experts and journalists’.
‘Many investigations give rise to doubts about their quality, while the Prosecutor’s Office provides supervision and indictments for the investigation’, he added.
‘The resignation of Sergey Dubrovin and his first deputy Tugayev suggests that the leadership of the Investigative Committee of Russia also had complaints about the work of the Investigative Committee of Daghestan as a whole. This is confirmed by the fact that no one was immediately appointed in their place, as is usually the case’, he added.
According to Urazayev, the situation will not change much for the Daghestani Prosecutor’s Office after Popov’s resignation, since his replacement, Yezhov, had worked with Popov for many years including in other regions.
‘He already knows the team and the specifics of the situation and will continue the anti-corruption campaign with which he is sufficiently familiar’, Urzyev said.