Capture_2014-05-25_a_10.19.01

The company Incom Real 2 belonged to Kichedzhi when he acquired property near the Bulgarian Black Sea city Varna for 2.2 million levs

Vasiliy Kichedzhi, Vice Governor of St. Petersburg and media mogul, has not declared property in Varna, worth 2.2 million levs. This was revealed by an inquiry of Bivol, after the Russian newspaper Vedomosti published information on the assets of Russian politicians in Europe.

According to the article in Vedomosti, two of the most influential Russian politicians from the ruling party “United Russia” of President Vladimir Putin and of Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, have properties in Bulgaria.

Interestingly, the properties are not small, considering their prices in Bulgaria, which are on average 4-5 times lower than in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Family of Media Moguls

So, the wife of Vasiliy Nikolaevich Kichedzhi, media mogul and Vice Governor of Russia’s second largest metropolis St. Petersburg, has an apartment of 262 square meters in Bulgaria. According to the newspaper “Vedomosti”, the family owns two houses with a total area of 277 square meters

Capture_2014-05-27_a_12.40.11

A check in the Bulgarian property registry shows that Antonina Alexandrovna Kichedzhi has purchased a land plot in the Bulgarian “Saints Constantine and Elena” resort in 2008 from the company Estreya Ltd for 382 531 levs.

Capture_2014-05-25_a_10.10.18

However, Vasiliy Kichedzhi, himself, has acquired through another company property for a much larger amount. The company INCOM REAL 2 has bought on August 4, 2008, a 2424-square-meters plot for the impressive sum of 2 275 647 levs. (EUR 1,1 millions) At that time, the owner of the company was Vasiliy Kichedzhi, while his wife was the manager. This acquisition is not reflected in the tax declarations of the politician for 2011, 2012 and 2013.

To cover the tracks, in June 2013, Kichedzhi sold the company to the owner of Estreya Ltd Atanas Karageorgiev. In November 2013, the same company acquired an additional 535 square meters in the vicinity of the first plot, thus consolidating lucrative property, which is immediately adjacent to the winery Euxinograd.

Capture_2014-05-27_a_12.35.14

As it is well-known, Kichedzhi as a typical last name in Bessarabia, in today’s Moldova and Ukraine, where local Bulgarian minorities live. But he was born in the village Pesochni in the Chelyabinsk Region in the South Urals. His parents are indeed Bessarabian Bulgarians, and after the war the young minority population was deported to the Urals. His father worked in a factory, and his mother was a hospital nurse. “I am Bulgarian, but I was born in Russia and I think the way the Russians think,” he told the St. Petersburg-based online media “My Region”.

Vasiliy Kichedzhi is now in his fourth year of Vice Governor of St. Petersburg after taking office on September 14, 2011. He is in charge of the sectors “Culture,” “Science,” “Sport,” “Education” and “Media”. Regarding the latter sector, the Vice Governor of the old Russian capital is also in conflict of interest, which does not impress Russian media, let alone the country’s rulers. Kichedzhi is a media mogul because he is the owner of the radio stations “Govorit Moskva” (Moscow Speaking) and “Glavnoe Radio” (Main Radio) and is also a big shareholder in the Moscow-based TV “The Capital”. In addition, the fact that he is the creator of a religious organization “Russian Athos Society” does not prevent him from being in charge of the sector “Religions” as Vice Governor.

In 2012, when he declared income of 272 million rubles (about 5.78 million dollars) he was placed on the 33rd place in the rating by income of Russian officials, published by the magazine “Forbes Russia”. On October 19, 2012, he was also promoted in the party – he became First Deputy Chairman of the regional branch of “United Russia” in St. Petersburg. His wife, who owns property in Bulgaria, also works in media – Antonina Alexandrovna Kichedzhi is the Deputy Director General of the Consortium “Radio Center”. They have a daughter.

According to the Petersburg-based information agency Balinfo, in 2011 he literally stunned the public with an income of 253 million rubles, plus his wife’s 53 million rubles, but in 2012 he earned only 3.1 million rubles. The tax returns data for 2013, released last month, showed income of 65 million rubles plus 17 million rubles owned by his wife. Thus, he has become once again one of the wealthiest members of the government of St. Petersburg. Vasiliy Kichedzhi’s real estate and assets in Russia remain unchanged – he has a 1051.4-square-meters house, an apartment of 222 square meters, and a whole fleet of Audis and Mercedes-Benzes. It is reported, however, that in 2013 his wife has acquired a house in the Czech Republic with an area of 102 square meters. Besides, the wife of Vasiliy Kichedzhi owns a garage in Bulgaria and still has an apartment of 261 square meters in this country.

Member of the Parliament and Lawyer…

Another politician also owns two properties in Bulgaria, registered to his wife as well, because the new legislation in Russia punishes officials who have properties abroad and dual citizenship. Vladimir Pligin is a member of the notoriously known for its cruel backstage games ruling party “United Russia”.

In Bulgaria, his wife owns an apartment of 171 square meters and a land plot of 0.5 decares, suitable for construction. The same exact data is quoted in an investigation of the newspaper “Vedomosti” – the Russian edition of the British “The Financial Times” (FT).

However, no data of such property, listed to his wife Nina Alexandrovna Pligina, can be found in the Bulgarian property registry. In 2009, she became the owner of the company “Jupiter Pro,” dealing with real estate, and in 2013, she transferred the company to Alexander Vladimirovich Pligin. Neither the company nor the two of them, however, have registered property.

For Pligin it is known that besides being a member of “United Russia,” he is an entrepreneur and lawyer. He occupies an important parliamentary position in the hierarchy of the ruling Russian party – Deputy Chairman of the State Duma (Parliament) for constitutional and state law.

The MP is known as dubious businessman. In 2007, according to the newspaper “Kommersant,” Pligin owned a plot in the most luxurious suburb of Moscow – “Barvikha” – better known as “Rublyovka” over the name of the road leading to it. The MP wanted to build a luxury suburban villa village, but the project was not finished. In May, “Sberbank,” as a lender of the project, sold the property for 7 224 billion rubles because Pligin’s companies owe to it 170 million dollars.

The Running Trend

Russian media and the middle class with critical or opposing political views have long used an otherwise slang saying “Valit is Rashki,” which is translated as “Get out of Russia” and the name of Russia is mentioned in a derogatory sense.

The news about the properties abroad of at least twenty Russian politicians and their families first broke through the list made by the site nazapade.ru. The idea of the site is to show that the families of Russian politicians have properties abroad, and often live abroad, provided that they, themselves, conduct active propaganda of patriotism in their media appearances and even informally in their social and cultural life.

The headline of the article reads: “The children of Russian Officials Have Long Justified the West.” “It has long been observed that their children and grandchildren live in Western countries; buy real estate there; send money there and even have dual citizenship.”

The site explains that this is most likely because they “just despise Russia, its people and have long forlorn the country, which they rule.”

This post is also available in: Bulgarian