I would like to express my deep gratitude to the journalists of Novaya Gazeta who showed interest in my situation, their attention, and professional approach.

Below is the article, an interview, where I speak about the reasons for my criminal prosecution, the hopes I set on the "Titov's List", and some problems of Russian reality.

I am glad that the article has already brought both the public reaction and the response of Boris Titov, whose support gives me the hope for justice, which I have almost lost. The article is available at the link, but I also post it below without editing.

The article of Novaya Gazeta:
Being included in the "Titov's list" gave me hope for a quick resolution of the situation.

In February 2018, the business ombudsman Boris Titov sent a list of dozens of names of various businessmen to Russian President Vladimir Putin. These entrepreneurs were persecuted in their homeland for unclear and even questionable reasons, forcing them to leave the country eventually. Titov proposed to ensure the safe return of these businessmen to Russia so that they could deal with their issues within the law. "Titov's List" caused great resonance in the media and in the corridors of power. The press secretary of the president, Dmitry Peskov, expressed his approval of the initiative. And on April 2, at a meeting to protect the rights of investors in Yekaterinburg, the Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika called an amnesty for businessmen who left abroad, "the right decision".

One of the businessmen included in the "Titov's list" is Konstantin Dyulgerov, who left abroad a few years ago in an attempt to escape from criminal prosecution, organized by the members of law enforcement who tried to "extort money from him" and who collected "a tribute" for years. In an interview, Dyulgerov talked about how his history of confrontation with the siloviki started off, and what he expects from being included in the Titov list.

– Why did you have to leave Russia?

– It all started back in 2000. My business started to have problems with law enforcement after I was invited to a meeting where it was "plainly explained" that I must pay a "tribute" of one million rubles every month, otherwise "there will be problems." You know what time it was – the late 90's and early 2000's: businesses were being eliminated in every possible way if their owners refused to get "protection". On the other hand, if you agreed to pay, you could work relatively quietly, even various checks became much more loyal.

Of course, I agreed – what else I could do? You can not turn to law enforcement agencies - the extortionists were from these agencies themselves, and their status high. So this went on until 2007.

– What happened next?

– Earlier I simply paid money, but then I had to pass 49% of the authorized capital of the company to a certain Sergey Kiryanov – the son-in-law of Major General Nikolay Brykin. Brykin, by the way, in the early 2000s, led the tax police of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District, and also held the highest positions in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. At the same time, I continued to pay money, their new scheme simply became a way to maintain control with the help of their man, who did not even sign a contract to buy a share. A year later, I put forward my conditions: I agreed to pay only if Kiryanov was removed from the founders since it was a great inconvenience to me. They agreed, but Kiryanov again was not present at the signing.

Soon it started to seem that times are changing, and there is a serious war on corruption in Russia, and it may be the time to stop paying tribute. I stated this to my extortionists, asking to leave me alone.

But this is when all the worst has just begun. They started to threaten me and even my family, burned my warehouses and caused huge damage to my property. They started criminal proceedings against me, due to the fact of "fraud" - allegedly I illegally removed Kiryanov from the founders list of the company. By the decisions of the arbitration courts, these 49% of shares were returned to him. However, they did not leave me alone, and also instituted another criminal case, accusing me of bribery of witnesses, including Kiryanov himself. It is notable, that these criminal proceedings were initiated by former subordinates of Nikolai Brykin.

And how do you imagine this situation? How can an ordinary businessman, roughly speaking, "stiff" a partner, whose father-in-law is one of the most powerful chiefs of law enforcement in the region? So powerful and high-ranking that he has a lot of weight even at the federal level. I'm not insane – and, of course, I would never do that.

– Do you see revenge in your case, an economic dispute, or is there also politics?

– No, not only revenge – both the economy and politics are there. There was a time, shortly after I refused to pay for "protection", when I ventured to join the public struggle against corruption. I began to talk about what is happening in the region. My activity, apparently, disturbed someone: for example, my warehouses were burned on the eve of the election of the mayor of Nizhnevartovsk, and right after I publicly opposed the regional authorities. Later, when I began to support the opposition, the pressure greatly intensified.

I have always stressed that my opposition sentiment is exclusively a civic position, not political activity. I'm a businessman and I am far from politics, but I do not like many of the processes taking place in Russia. I honestly and openly speak about the changes that Russia needs.

Perhaps, with my public activity, I wanted to draw more attention to the problem, which could help in establishing the lawful outcome. But it turned out quite the contrary – my participation in the opposition events has negatively affected the process of seeking justice. I guess they decided to silence me by any means.

– Returning to your criminal prosecution: what difficulties did you encounter? Why do you consider yourself innocent, but cannot prove it?

– There is simply no crime in my case. The subject of this criminal case is civil law relations in a multi-year arbitration dispute. There can absolutely be no theft there. Material damage has long been gone too. There is even no need for any compensation, everything has already been decided in the arbitration court.

Moreover, the so-called victim presents as a proof of payment for a share in the authorized capital, two fake receipts to non-existent cash order, both with the identical sum and the same date. This is obviously impossible and clearly speaks that the receipts are counterfeit. The name of the organization in which he allegedly acquires a share which I allegedly tried to steal, is stated incorrectly on the receipts. Evidence of my guilt does not stand up to any criticism! However the investigation does not pay any attention to this. I hope they will understand it, and decide that it is time to close the criminal case.

– Do you consider this a systemic problem or is your case more of an exception? Do you have hope for a favorable outcome?

I never give up hope, but I also absolutely really assess the circumstances. The recent absolutely horrible example of the murder of a businessman innovator Valery Pshenichny in St. Petersburg detention facility is absolutely monstrous, but it also indicates of what might threaten an entrepreneur in a Russian prison.

A businessman who has information about other crimes (for example, corruption) is a threat to certain influential people, while his assets are a titbit for everyone: for those who initiated his imprisonment, for the prison administration and for other prisoners.

In such circumstances, detention should be an exceptional measure. There is a lot of discussions about it, even Vladimir Putin noted that entrepreneurs are being pressured and robbed, and their business is being destroyed or captured.

But the reality is that the system, as before, works in an accusatory manner. Perhaps it could be justified in some cases, with the goal to not allow criminals to escape justice, especially in case of serious crimes. But there is a huge number of cases that are ambiguous and complex, in which there may not even be an object or event of a crime. They require an objective and comprehensive investigation, even if it is in the context of a criminal investigation. Such cases ultimately suffer from an accusatory approach. An investigator in Russia cannot be a lawyer to a suspect. My case is among these.

After the start of criminal proceedings, there is little hope for justification. Detention is the most popular measure of restraint in Russian courts.

Moreover, investigators often resort to increasing the gravity of the allegedly committed crime. For example, business fraud, which is a crime of small gravity, is deliberately aggravated to reclassify it into a case with the large or particularly large amount of damage, supplementing it with other articles of the Criminal Code. As a result, the suspect is in the detention, which does not give him any chance for defence. Under such conditions, the cases rarely fall apart, also because the officers and their superiors who allowed this can be held responsible. Naturally, the system prefers to cover, rather than expose itself.

One could hope for a trial, but knowing that there is only 0.2-0.3 percent of acquittals in the country, it is clear that after getting into the detention center, the entrepreneur is doomed. And not only an entrepreneur.

I consider this to be a systemic problem that needs to be solved, to find a balance between the accusatory and defensive mechanisms in the criminal process. And, of course, a lot depends on the personnel – those particular individuals who conduct criminal cases, and their superiors who control this process.

– Earlier this year, the business ombudsman and presidential candidate Boris Titov published the so-called "Titov's list", in which he compiled a list of entrepreneurs persecuted in Russia for "questionable" cases. "These ex-businessmen all have similar stories: they managed to leave the country before they were imprisoned. Some have lived outside Russia for 20 years, with even the Interpol already excluded them from the wanted list. Yet in their Motherland the cases against them still exist", said Titov. The list originally had 16 names, one of them is yours. What do you think about it?

– I turned to Boris Titov, but I did not even hope for such an effect. It was highly unexpected for me to get into the "Titov's list". My lawyers had previously appealed to the coordinator of the business ombudsman Boris Titov with a petition, stating that we are asking to cancel the order for my arrest so I could return to Russia and sort out my case, to hold an investigation.

My case in Russia is purely a property dispute. And it is at maximum, it is absolutely not a crime!

The list was noticed even in the administration of the president. Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary of the president, said that the list “is going to be examined by the relevant divisions of the presidential administration, involving the consultants from those law enforcement structures which at the certain period of time had questions to the citizens from the list”. And I agree with him when he says that "every case is unique" and each history has to be examined individually. But as practice shows, when the President of Russia is informed about the issues, they are usually resolved very quickly.

Literally, on April 19, the representative of the business ombudsman Dmitry Grigoriadi confirmed to the media that they are actively working on my case, with the serious progress, and also that the Prosecutor General's Office initiated checks on the validity of the criminal proceedings. Several cases have already been re-qualified with the less serious articles.

Thus, being in the "Titov's list" gave me hope for an unbiased approach and a quick resolution of the situation. I would like to put an end to this nonsense, in which I found myself involuntarily involved.

“Novaya Gazeta”
April 25, 2018