In today's #vatniksoup
(I finally put those two words together to make a hashtag!) I'll introduce a politician and mayor of Moscow, Sergey Sobyanin. As of today, he's best-known for running a huge corruption scheme, "My District", camouflaged as a city development program.
Somebody REALLY wants to keep this news hidden, which is why I got struck with several DMCA's and they locked my account for a while. To prevent this,I have now removed all the images, but maybe we can make sure that this corruption is revealed to as many people as possible.
Sergey has been the Mayor of Moscow since 2010, and ironically he has been praised for his efforts in combating corruption. On 7 Mar, 2023, Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation released an extensive report on Sobyanin's money laundering schemes - it seems that he has...
...funneled vast amounts of money to his close associates and to his controlled opposition through the "My District" program. A lot of the money has been channeled to superstar propagandists Margarita Simonyan and his husband, Tigran Keosayan.
The scheme is very simple: the "My District" program, or rather the taxpayers, pays money to the firms controlled by Simonyan and Keosayan (and others) for outright propaganda on Russian TV.
The mix between Simonyan's bloodthirsty rambles about "drug addict Kyiv regime"...
... and talks about the execution of a PMC Wagner member with a sledgehammer, and advertisements for Polyarnaya Zvezda sports and recreation complex and the children's art school in Kuskovo with choral singing and pictures drawn by kids together make an absurd show.
For all this, Simonyan and Keosayan have received over 5,8 million USD, of which 4,8 have been simply deposited on their personal accounts. Keyosayan's daughter, Alexandra, earned almost 2 million USD for directing and composing a documentary show that almost no one watched.
And you must have seen those silly Simonyan videos where she talks about how "Russia never intended to hurt the Ukrainians" making rounds on Twitter? Apparently it takes millions of dollars to produce this crap.
Aram Gabrelyanov, who tried to debunk Navalny's documentary on Putin's palace stating that it's "actually a hotel", was also on the receiving end of the fund. His work on praising Sobyanin's efforts in Moscow was (apparently) worth 4 million USD.
Konstantin Malofeyev, the founder of the Orthodox Tsargrad media network, received only a modest sum of 500 000 USD for praising Sergey on his channels.
You gotta step up, Konstantin, others are stealing your bribes!
But there's more - there's plenty of money in "My District" to share around, so why not give some of it to the controlled opposition, too? Ksenia Sobchak, a prominent opposition figure who has opposed Putin publicly, received 265 000 through her PR firm from the fund.
The work done allegedly consisted of a Powerpoint presentation which stated that the fashion industry is in trouble due to sanctions and because of COVID-19.
Alexei Venediktov, the former editor-in-chief and co-owner of the Echo of Moscow, had also received a hefty business deal of around 9 million USD from the fund. Echo of Moscow is a liberal radio station that was taken off the air in Russia in Mar, 2022, by the Russian...
...propaganda ministry, Roskomnadzor, but this deal was given to Venediktov's personal company and it was worth more than the annual budget of Echo of Moscow with almost 200employees.
The money from the funds were also used on some other rather expensive sociological...
...surveys: over half a million USD was given for research on dog walking, "the most popular professions" survey got 400 000 USD and the "professions of the future" survey received a whopping 1,25 million USD. Why aren't more researchers moving to Russia?
How does Sobyanin stay popular among his voter base? In addition to his "My District" program, he made a statement during the Sep, 2022 mobilization on Telegram that he will "personally make sure that everything is in order" and that illegal summons will be "withdrawn".
This message was amplified by many of the figures who had received money from "My District", including Simonyan and even Ksenia Sobchak. Naturally, the mobilization in Moscow worked exactly the same as everywhere else: the poor go to war, whereas the rich live life as usual.17/18
Ultimately there is nothing new about Sobyanin's "My District" program: it is the same old kleptocratic scheme where taxpayer's money is laundered to a small group of people in charge.
Ping: @Maria Pevchikh @Сергей Ежов @Георгий Албуров
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