Source Who gets funeral millions in Saratov and how Ritual suddenly became unprofitable. Since December 22, Alexandra Umirova, in official sources, is finally listed as the director of the Saratov MUSPP “Ritual”. However, as it turned out, Ms. Umirova is no stranger to funeral business – she started working at Ritual in 2017, doing public procurement there, and last summer she headed the key municipal asset of the MKU, the Cemetery Administration.
Alexandra Umirov is considered by market participants to be “Shulekin's man”, allegedly still retaining influence in the funeral segment. And her sudden statements about the unprofitability of Ritual are also not accidental: insiders see this as the impending bankruptcy of MUP in favor of three individual entrepreneurs associated with the ex-management. However, the option of concessions or privatization cannot be ruled out either – after all, a tidbit in the form of an unfinished crematorium is just returning to municipal ownership.
Umirova and purchases
According to a participant in the funeral services market, in 2017, Ms. Umirova finally said goodbye to her career in the former PAGS. And somehow ended up at the MUSPP “Ritual”, where she applied her economic education in the field of public procurement. Recall that Mikhail Shulekin has been the director of the enterprise since January 2016.
The history of public procurement of the IUSPP, published in open sources, is interesting. Thus, according to the Checko portal, over the past seven years, Ritual has acted as a customer in 475 purchases worth more than 565 million rubles. At the same time, 408 purchases account for the period after 2016.
“BV” tried to selectively see how they went, but faced with the fact that all ten test purchases were made from a single supplier. However, the agreements were never published. An exception is purchases under federal law No. 44 – suppliers are indicated there. However, Ritual stopped holding tenders under this law in 2017.
Prigarov, Shulekin and the United States
At the end of 2020, Ritual became the object of attention of law enforcement officers: the latter believe that its leadership paid bribes to the ex-prosecutor of the Kirovsky district Andrei Prigarov. In mid-February last year, Mr. Shulekin was fired, but, apparently, he has not disappeared from the funeral services market.
– During 2021-2022, Shulekin, being an important witness for the prosecution in the Prigarov case, became as if untouchable. Apparently, until the case of Prigarov is over, he will not be “checked” and “touched”, it is possible that this immunity applies to all members of his team, – says an insider familiar with the investigation “BV”.
According to some reports, Mr. Shulekin allegedly needed untouchability in connection with obtaining a residence permit in one of the Western countries – almost in the USA. We do not undertake to assert whether these tales from the crypt have anything in common with reality, but in our time it is no longer possible to be surprised at anything.
Recall that two years ago, TG-channels attributed to Mr. Shulekin a whole house in Miami. Therefore, the possibility that a citizen of an unfriendly country is allegedly able to control half of the funeral services market in Saratov, whose annual turnover is now estimated at half a billion rubles, does not look so fantastic.
Diggers by inheritance
Speaking about control over the funeral market of Saratov, one should not lose sight of Mrs. Umirova. The day after the dismissal of Mikhail Shulekin from “Ritual”, she was appointed director of the MKU “Administration of cemeteries”. This enterprise is controlled by the MUSPP, which after Shulekin was headed by Alexander Nosakievsky from Balakovo.
BV wrote that Sergey Grachev from Balakovo, who then held the post of first deputy head of the administration of Saratov, instructed him to clean up the burials in cemeteries. True, Nosakievsky himself lasted only until October, then surfaced in the funeral industry of Balakovo. By that time, Mr. Grachev had also moved to his small homeland.
It is possible that Ruslan Baryshnikov, Nosakievsky's deputy, remained the true leader. He could have known his boss from Balakovo: in the city of nuclear scientists, in 2015-2017, Mr. Baryshnikov headed the local analogue of “Ritual” – MBSPU “Combine Improvement”.
The media indicated that he started out as a simple gravedigger. However, this surname is well known in the funeral industry of Saratov. Back in the 90s, a certain Vladimir Baryshnikov kept a brigade of diggers at the Elshansky cemetery and, it seems, the whole cemetery in general.
steaming in a cemetery bathhouse with a high-ranking official from the transport police, although he did not publicly boast of high incomes and connections. In 1999, Baryshnikov Sr. was shot with 13 shots in the back at the entrance of his house.
Ruslan Baryshnikov is also not very lucky: in August of this year, the deputy director of the Saratov “Ritual” was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. He was accused of extorting bribes from relatives of the deceased.
In addition, it turned out in court that the deputy head of “Ritual” demanded a bribe from a businessman who kept trading pavilions in the city cemetery, and that he had to pay the ritual employee 150 thousand rubles a month. Thus, Baryshnikov, the investigators concluded, received more than 600 thousand. At first, the accused denied his involvement in the crime, but at the end of the trial he admitted his guilt. Moreover, it is possible that cash from relatives and from business could go further to bribes.
Leapfrog in “Ritual”
In less than two years, several more directors have changed at the IUSPP. Following the Nosakievsky leader, the ex-director of the MKU Sergey Bazhenov, who also visited Ms. Umirova as a deputy, became the leader. After working for three months, he gave way to Vladimir Ovchinnikov (he worked for 5 months), and he – to Evgeny Lepkov (7 months).
It was during this period that the enterprise began to show losses, and after the appointment of Lepkov, he was almost preparing for liquidation or bankruptcy.
Alexandra Umirova, the newly-minted director of the MUSPP, said about the losses at the first meeting in the City Duma. Despite the fact that the company's revenue last year decreased by only 1%, amounting to 127.7 million rubles. But the net profit really decreased by 77% to 2.2 million rubles. Which fits into the picture of a sudden increase in competition followed by the bankruptcy of a municipal enterprise.
“MUP's big advantage is that it was easily controlled by law enforcement agencies and the prosecutor's office because everything was done officially, according to documents. the market was pegged to these prices and they could not grow uncontrollably. All private enterprises compared their prices for services with the prices of municipal unitary enterprises,” say market participants familiar with the situation.
But this order, apparently, is already in the past. On the Ritual website, you will have to look for prices for services for a long time, the result will be a link to the resolution of the Saratov administration dated September 14, 2020. According to it, urgent digging of a grave should cost 1200 rubles, but in practice now you will have to pay 9000-12000 rubles. Prices also differ for related subburials, hearse services, etc.
In addition, the IUSPP also controls the endpoints of the provision of funeral services – the territories of cemeteries. “Whoever controls the cemeteries controls the entire market,” the insiders state. How the enterprise turned out to be unprofitable under such conditions is a big mystery, over which, apparently, the chief accountant of the enterprise decided not to rack his brains, preferring to quit.
This, however, may not be so much about the bankruptcy of “Ritual”, but about the probable transfer to the concession. This is exactly what federal legislation prescribes to unprofitable MUPs. For example, by analogy with MUPP SGET, an LLC will be created, which will offer the municipality to conclude a concession agreement.
Three from the casket
However, it seems that there is no need to create anything already. Firstly, Ritual LLC and SK Ritual LLC have been operating in Saratov for several years. The director of both is Natalia Sadilenko, who also manages other businesses of Mr. Shulekin. For example, the Roshcha ski base, which was founded last year Shulekin's wife, Yulia, or the Nega-Spa, which was liquidated in the summer, owned by his mother Tatyana. Three sole proprietors have been registered in Saratov over the past year, all businessmen were involved in municipal ritual enterprises in the past. Both of them appear on the website of the funeral company “Ritual”.
The cherry on this cake is the email address of this private “Ritual” – [email protected] In Saratov, until 2016, there was Burmania LLC, headed by the already mentioned Natalia Sadilenko.
Private “Ritual” is located next to the MUSPP “Ritual” – on Kiseleva, 13-1.
Moreover, the design of the websites of these two organizations is confusingly similar, not to mention about his address: the name is the same, but in different languages - Russian and English. And just MUSPP – in English.
Private “Ritual” meanwhile provides services to provide places in cemeteries. Recall that cemeteries and places on them are disposed of exclusively by municipal enterprises.
MUSPP takes money for the burial itself: the minimum price is 3.1 thousand rubles. With an inspection of the burial place – plus 1100 rubles. Paperwork – another 467 rubles. Recall that places in the cemetery should be provided free of charge. Trade in them has already become a pretext for a criminal case and for searches in cemeteries.
At the same time, the prices of the MUSPP are three times cheaper than the “social burial” from the private “Ritual” – there it will cost more than 15 thousand rubles.
The third individual entrepreneur was registered in December last year and in Moscow, although the TIN was issued in Saratov. We are talking about Vladimir Shishkov. His full namesake was the head of the funeral organization of the municipal “Ritual”. Whether the Moscow registration means that the whole company will enter the capital level is still unknown.
– About 15 funeral organizations were formed on the territory of the city of Saratov. They are all created in one way or another by former cemetery workers or their relatives. There are no strangers in this market. Everyone understood the rules of the game – Municipal Unitary Enterprise “Ritual” is the main one, the rest work, but do not interfere with the municipalities and, if necessary, help with “orders”. For this, MUP and MKU help to quickly and correctly organize a funeral, find a good place in the cemetery, and the like. All market management was in one place – MUSPP “Ritual”, – market participants conclude.
Speaking of the newly-minted funeral agents, the insider stated that they “immediately and dramatically increase the number of services, put their cash registers on the territory of cemeteries, begin to provide services for burial and digging of graves.”
– Their incomes and profits are growing sharply. They are united under the Ritual brand, they have a large number of hearses under the Ritual sign. How were these successful startups able to achieve such significant results in such a short time? Why are their premises with cash registers located on the territory of municipal cemeteries? Why do they have preferences for grave digging services at municipal cemeteries? The answers to all these questions will also give an answer why MUSPP “Ritual” is in the pre-bankruptcy stage! – stated the insider.
It is unlikely that Umirova and Shulekin are unaware of the stormy commercial activity in the cemeteries. For observers, what is happening is reminiscent of the withdrawal from MUSPP “Ritual” of people, orders and services that brought profit to the enterprise. Could this mean the loss of control over the funeral activities by the municipal “Ritual”? With self-created competition, this is not excluded.
The appearance of private owners at municipal cemeteries has a negative impact on the quality of services: insiders note that graves often do not meet standards and norms, and random people dig them.
It is curious that the private “Ritual” of two individual entrepreneurs offers cremation services in Saratov and the region, promising “aesthetic results and European style.” At the same time, the funeral agency itself accompanies a photo of the building of the future crematorium at the Elshansky cemetery. Now there are no stoves here yet, but there is a large and small hall of farewells, the rent of which is also offered by the private “Ritual”.
The crematorium is also under investigation in Prigarov’s criminal case: allegedly, in 2017, the ex-prosecutor found out that Ritual plans to build a Funeral Services Bureau at the cemetery in the village of Elshanka, the actual interest in the construction of which, according to the investigation, was Mikhail Shulekin.
Prigarov allegedly offered Shulekin to “unfasten” him at least 500 thousand rubles. monthly and transfer a 50% stake in Ritual LLC to its trustee Oleg Vartanov. This fee was intended to ensure that the prosecutor's office did not take action if violations were committed during the construction of the Bureau.
However, the proceedings on this matter are still ongoing in court. True, the regional prosecutor's office recently sued the building and the lease agreement for the site from Oleg Vartanov's Ritual LLC.
But if Ms. Umirova is really affiliated with Mr. will not change: the house of farewells, also known as the future crematorium, still ends up in the hands of the former director of the MUSPP. And in the event of the bankruptcy of the municipal “Ritual” may fall into the bankruptcy estate, but even more accurately – into the portfolio of a potential concessionaire. With the announced scenarios, it seems that there is no longer any doubt about who they can become.