How Russian elites fly abroad in a pandemic
With the coronavirus in Russia it turned out, like with any misfortune: the dollar exchange rate in 2014, sanctions, the game of the national football team or all sorts of rallies – they made noise, they got used to it. COVID, among other things, has become a gray background in our lives. And against this background, some manage to live truly beautifully. Always topical for our elites, the issue of traveling to their native land has demonstrated the outstanding creative abilities of the ruling class.
How the tops flew abroad in the midst of a pandemic
At the end of March 2020, the OpenTown.org portal, referring to the source charter97.org, wrote about how the planes at the disposal of Igor Sechin, Igor Shuvalov and his wife Dmitry Medvedev, flew abroad. In February and March last year – 21 times. The data were obtained by MBH Media by studying the flight schedule of business jets. There was no list of passengers on these flights in open sources, but the publication believes that the approximate Putin could safely fly even to countries where at that time there was a catastrophic increase in the number of cases and deaths from COVID-19.
At the same time, most of the flights were made by the wife of the former Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev Svetlana – 11 times. The first flight from Nuremberg, Germany to Moscow was performed on February 2. After that, the board visited Innsbruck three times, Geneva twice and once Zurich, Paris, Milan, Barcelona, Dubai, Munich, Riga, as well as the French resort of Aix-les-Bains. The last flight took place on March 9, Medvedeva’s jet returned from Paris via Riga to Moscow, the newspaper reports. The nature of the trips is not reported.
The planes of Rosneft head Igor Sechin and former First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov have flown from Russia five times since the beginning of February. On February 4, Sechin’s board made a flight from Moscow to Delhi. The next day, a jet from the capital of India headed for Rome. In the following days, the ship visited Stavanger, London, Minsk and the island of Malta.
Shuvalov’s business jet flew from Moscow to London on February 7, after which it visited Tallinn, Riga, Dubai, Birmingham, Farnborough, Salzburg and again London. The last flight took place on March 14, the plane returned from Salzburg to Moscow. The planes of the head of the state corporation “Rostec” also flew abroad these days. Sergey Chemezov… Jet Chemezov by the total number of flights bypassed the planes of Sechin and Shuvalov.
Announce the entire list, please
Other publications also reported that the Russian elites ignore the ban on international air travel, despite any restrictions and bypassing the logic of the Cold War with the West. A whole list of such visits was provided at the height of the summer by the First Anti-Corruption Media. According to the newspaper, just two weeks after the introduction of a total ban on foreign flights from Moscow to Riga, a Bombardier BD-700 aircraft with the tail number M-MAVP took off. This board belongs to Arkady Rotenberg. He stayed at the Riga airport for about half an hour, and then flew back.
The plane of another famous billionaire Alisher Usmanov has been abroad for several months. Since March 3 of last year, it has been parked at the Swiss-French airport 7 km from the Swiss Basel. And at the end of May, the billionaire’s business jet moved from Basel to Munich, Germany. At the same time, Usmanov himself assured everyone that he had isolated himself in Uzbekistan. There was no confirmation of this, except for the words of the businessman himself.
As reported by The Bell, many Russian billionaires from the Forbes list, after the announcement of the pandemic and the introduction of a ban on international traffic with the Russian Federation, put their planes on the other side of the border, including in Basel, whose airport is a major center for parking and maintenance of business jets. Among them were the owner of Renova Victor Vekselberg, founder of AFK “Sistema” Vladimir Evtushenkov, former presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov other.
According to the First Anti-Corruption Media, an Airbus A319 aircraft with the tail number P4-MGU, which belongs to the family of a State Duma deputy, also appeared in Basel. Andrew He jumps… This board left Russia three times in several months. He flew to Switzerland on April 4, returning back to Vnukovo on April 18. On May 15, the jet went to Helsinki. On June 14, he repeated his route. Representatives of the State Duma deputy could not explain where the parliamentarian could fly during the general regime of self-isolation.
But officials of a lower rank “shone” in foreign countries
Sometimes, by the way, not without consequences. Two employees were suspended from work due to neglect of the security measures introduced in Russia due to the coronavirus. The portal “360” wrote about two similar cases.
There was a scandal in the Perm region: the mayor of the city of Kungur went to rest in the United Arab Emirates in March. In the Perm region, a high alert regime was introduced on March 15, at the same time all officials were recommended to postpone vacations and other trips abroad. After his return from the UAE Gordeev went into quarantine for two weeks, and then decided to quit.
A similar case took place in the Stavropol Territory. There, however, it was not an official who behaved irresponsibly, but the chief freelance infectious disease specialist Irina Sannikova. She spent her vacation in Spain, but decided not to comply with the self-isolation regime upon her return and did not tell anyone about the trip. Soon at Sannikova symptoms of coronavirus began to appear: fever, sore throat, cough. The result of the analysis for the virus turned out to be positive, the woman even ended up in intensive care.
Two criminal cases were brought against Sannikova under the articles “Negligence” and “Concealment of information about circumstances posing a threat to life or health of people.”
After that, there was another incident. Deputy Head of the Department of Health of the Smolensk Region Christina Ryabkova also decided to rest, despite the pandemic. Then at the official level it was reported that “it is impossible to dismiss for violation of common sense,” but the regional governor said that he would seek to remove the official from affairs.
Such inequality, and most importantly, complete indifference towards compatriots, manifested in the unwillingness to make transparent information about the flights of Putin’s inner circle, as well as the sheer rudeness of at least some raised “princelings” could cause a public outcry, but by the summer the first wave of coronavirus went into decline. And along with it – and tension in society. Allowed to make tourist trips to a number of countries. But by the fall, the problem of foreign travel became urgent again. Moreover, they were looking for ways to get around all sorts of travel bans, not only the highest VIPs.
Four ways to get around bans
The publication “Snob” in the July material laid out a whole TOP of ways that you could get as you need and where your heart desires. To them we have added the fourth, which appeared recently.
We will remind, on March 30, the exit from the country was limited by a special order of the government. On April 29, another order was adopted: it was allowed to leave Russia for citizens who had a second citizenship or a residence permit in another country. From June 6, it was possible to leave Russia for treatment, to needy sick relatives, guardians and trustees, for one-time work trips, for training. But you can also cross the border without a special permit, and in several ways.
Method one: Belarus
Before the relaxation of travel restrictions, it was impossible to officially cross the border with Belarus. However, people used the services of illegal guides who showed the way to bypass the checkpoint. The Foreign Ministry knew that the Russians had this loophole, but, according to the head of the department, Sergei Lavrov, they could not forbid people to use this opportunity.
On June 7, relaxation of restrictions on exit came into force, and the practice of leaving for Belarus moved into the legal field. The overwhelming majority of travelers do not stay in Belarus for a long time: they cancel the booked vacation and fly further – wherever they want.
Method two: “terminal F”
It was possible to fly away not only through Minsk. Sheremetyevo airport has its own “branch of Belarus” – terminal F, the only international terminal of the airport, which was not temporarily closed due to the pandemic.
“I flew safely to New York. I did not have any special documents – neither for work, nor for medical treatment or to visit relatives. Only a ticket for a direct flight from Moscow, a B-1 / B-2 visa, ”journalist Alexandra Fomina wrote on her Facebook page.
Method three (elite): private jet
For owners of overseas property, travel abroad was also available with closed borders. The price for a one-way flight on a business jet to Nice or Cyprus varied from 20 to 30 thousand euros. However, the money alone was not enough for the flight.
For a flight on a business jet, a whole chain of approvals was required, starting with the Civil Aviation Control Center and ending with the approval of the Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova… Despite all these difficulties, 669 flights were made from the largest Moscow terminal for business aviation Vnukovo-3 in June alone.
Method four: elite with fiction
Journalist Vladislav Shurygin recently spoke about another way to bypass any quarantines on his page on the social network:
– All these guys, who have enough money and the desire not to change their usual way of life, massively get a job in … an airline. But not to Aeroflot, of course, and not to Pobeda. At the service of these gentlemen there are many small private airlines, where for several thousand dollars they are registered as crew members of aircraft, on which – attention! – bans on movement around the world and mandatory quarantines practically do not apply.
The second wave of COVID turned out to be tougher than the first one almost all over the world, but the activity of Russian high-ranking voyagers did not decrease. Free Press even published a separate material. Dmitry Rodionov how she continued to fly to London Svetlana Medvedeva, despite any prohibitions of the most foggy Albion and the danger of bringing in a new strain of the virus.
According to recent information obtained by Svobodnaya Pressa from a source close to the State Duma, a parliamentarian Leonid Slutsky (not to be confused with a football coach) flew through Turkey to rest in more “presentable” resort regions. In general, COVID has not so much turned into the scenery of our life as it has merged with the background of the disorder and rudeness of Russian bosses of various ranks, which are new to them, and have shown their main inalienable features.
To summarize: for the average Russian, the pandemic is remembered for the prices of medical masks, unemployment, domestic confinement and fines for violation of self-isolation. But for the powerful of this world, COVID has become an occasion to once again feel their specialness and elitism.