For example, as many as five contracting companies of businessman Ashot Chovushyan and his brother Ashri transferred “ER” a total of almost 200 million rubles. So, the company “Orlovskaya Metallobaza” in 2019 supplied Russian Railways with metal products for almost 400 million rubles, and the next year gave to the fund “United Russia” an amount greater than its official profit – 43.3 million rubles. Another company of one of the brothers, Central Wholesale Base Metizkomplekt, which supplies fasteners to Russian Railways, generously donated almost all of its profits to the party – 26.5 million rubles. However, Chovushyan’s holding annually receives hundreds of contracts worth billions of rubles from Russian Railways. So, by calculations “Novaya Gazeta” in 2017, the businessman’s companies received contracts for 15.7 billion rubles.
Another 30 donor companies received orders from Russian Railways for hundreds of millions of rubles. Moreover, we are talking not only about the supply of special equipment, but also, for example, about sewing clothes for the needs of railway workers. For example, the Bashkir Workers’ Clothes Factory, together with its trading house, transferred 86.6 million rubles to ER. And the company for the production of turnstiles “MFM-Partnership” donated 20.4 million rubles.
In total, there are more than 300 companies on the list of donors, and among them there are companies with low incomes that have nothing to do with contracts for Russian Railways, but who managed to donate to United Russia amounts commensurate with their annual income. Some legal entities were later liquidated. The Insider found at least five firms that donated more than half of their proceeds to United Russia.
Thus, the StroyExpertProekt company near Moscow, which develops alarms, earned 52.7 million rubles in 2020 and transferred 43.3 million rubles to ER. The Yakutsk company “Zelenaya Ulitsa” donated more to the party than it received in total in 4 years. And the Moscow company RailTransService, engaged in scientific research, despite losses of 20.5 million rubles in 2019, in 2020 was able to donate 15 million rubles to United Russia.
The micro-enterprise “Pantograph” from the city of Zhukovsky near Moscow, which traded in electrical goods, was able to donate 43.3 million rubles to the ruling party, despite the fact that its profit in 2020 was only 4 million rubles. The firm closed in 2021.
Sometimes “United Russia” uses a hidden system of financing to receive money – money is transferred to the party’s account through funds for “supporting regional cooperation and development.” In 2020, the party received almost 2 billion rubles through funds. At the same time, reports on the receipt and transfer of funds of the party itself and the funds often do not coincide.
Funds for “supporting regional cooperation and development” appeared in the early 2000s and became a platform for the creation of the party and its regional branches. At various times, more than 150 fund branches were registered throughout the country. They are managed by trusted parliamentarians – for example, ex-Senator Franz Klintsevich and Senator Viktor Abramov.
At the time of publication of the material, not all support funds sent reports to the Ministry of Justice, but inconsistencies were found in the available reports of The Insider. So, for example, the Ivanovo Support Fund transferred the amount to United Russia, exceeding the maximum donation of 43 million rubles – as much as 53.3 million rubles. The Nizhny Novgorod fund, in turn received 96.5 million rubles from the budget and gave the ruling party half (44.9 million rubles). At the same time, the fund’s report does not indicate to whom the rest of the donations went and on what basis the fund generally received budget money.
Murmansk Regional Cooperation and Development Support Fund listed “United Russia” 43.3 million rubles, and in the report indicated that he spent the money on “supporting the activities of non-profit organizations created to achieve socially useful goals.”
As follows from the reports of the foundations, they essentially collect money from regional businesses as donations and transfer a significant part of the United Russia party. If the reports of Russian political parties indicate that they receive money from commercial companies and NGOs as a source of income, then United Russia members record significant donations from these funds.
Thus, the published reports of the parties indicate that they receive money from commercial companies and NGOs as a source of income, and the financial report of United Russia indicates significant donations from these funds.
In 2019, the chairman of United Russia Dmitry Medvedev called on to transfer members of the same party to the needs of the party at least for one of their salaries. The party itself, attracting funds, convinced that they would go, among other things, to charity and the fight against coronavirus. Taking into account budget money, party contributions and personal donations from individuals, United Russia received 9.6 billion rubles in 2020. However, less than 0.1% was spent on charity – only 7 million rubles.
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