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Denis Sugrobov had an important benefactor and protector: Yevgeny Shkolov, who served in the KGB in Dresden with Vladimir Putin in the 1980s before becoming a presidential adviser in charge of monitoring the real estate and other business dealings of state officials. While serving at a precinct in Moscow’s northern district, he partnered with rookie detective Boris Kolesnikov, and they rose through the police ranks together. In 2011 Russian president Dmitry Medvedev named Sugrobov to head GUEBiPK, the Interior Ministry’s Economic Security and Anti-Corruption Department, with Kolesnikov as deputy head. Before their appointment, GUEBiPK was regarded as an entrepreneurial empire, but when they took over the department concentrated less on doctors who took small bribes from patients or traffic police who shook down motorists and began targeting people closer to the real levers of power in the Putin system, though not any systemic reform. However, they introduced a tactic from their early days together on the narcotics beat, the “operational experiment” in which, acting on the instructions of GUEBiPK, a businessman or bureacrat working undercover tries to pass a bribe to a higher-level bureaucrat (“provocation” in Russian law). One of their first big cases led to an indictment against more than 100 suspects accused of embezzling 5 billion rubles from state hospitals. In 2013, the two became the youngest police generals in the post-Soviet Interior Ministry (Sugrobov was 37, Kolesnikov 36). Late in 2013 a former agent for the rival FSB (the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, the country's main security agency) claimed that Igor Dyomin, an agent for the "kontora," the FSB's internal-security department, was taking bribes to provide various corrupt services. The undercover agent offered Dyomin a monthly payment of 10,000 dollars for his protection and was immediately arrested by the FSB. Within days Putin dismissed Sugrobov and soon both generals were arrested, charged with organizing a criminal group, abuse of power, and bribery. In May Kolesnikov suffered a dual fracture to his skull; prison officials claimed that he had fallen off a stool while trying to wash the small window of his cell. After two weeks in various hospitals he was sent back to his cell, but he continued to experience frequent bouts of debilitating nausea and had trouble standing, even for short periods. In June, while being questioned by the Investigative Committee, the chief investigator Sergei Novikov asked for a private talk with him, during which Kolesnikov jumped from a 6th floor balcony to his death.In August, Moscow’s Basmanny District Court seized assets owned by the two men, estimated at over 300 million rubles ($4.1 million). Many of the earlier cases were alleged to have been fabricated by the Sugrobov ring and dismissed.
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