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The Ministry of Emergencies of Leningrad Region blows a fire in a court dispute

Maxim Biruykov

The representatives of the Ministry of Emergencies are desperately trying to prove that they are not bound to take the fire emergency signals coming from the private monitoring centre “Volna” (“The Wave”). The centre services fire prevention equipment at approximately 500 locations (including hospitals, schools, kindergartens). The Arbitration court ruled out that it is the direct responsibility of the Ministry of Emergencies to take all signals, however the latter is not willing to agree. In revenge, the heads of the organization are using every chance to bring the “Volna” to the administrative responsibility. However, until now such attempts were nothing more than a showcase of pure incompetence.


Taking the emergency signals only after the court's ruling

The conflict between the Head of the Managing Office of the Ministry of Emergencies of Leningrad Region and the private monitoring centre “Volna” (http://oglaskaspb.com/eng/authority/a116/) has taken on to a new level. It’s representative (here the “15th Squad of the Federal Fire Prevention Services of the Leningrad Region”) was not content with the court’s ruling that obliged it to take the fire emergency radio signals that come from the  “Volna” monitoring centre. The representative took the case to the 13th Arbitrary court in order to litigate the ruling of the first instance that can only be defined as legally justifiable and based on a common sense.

The 13th Arbitrary Court accepted the protestation only at the second time. The Ministry of the Emergenices Representatives is being persistent. According to them, the law should bound the fire brigades to take fire emergency signals that come only from the companies that make financial payouts to the companies of their families and upper management.


Contracts kept within the families

The conflict goes back to the beginning of the 2012 when the installed equipment programmable machine unit «Strelets-Monitoring» abruptly stopped to take fire emergency signals that were coming for “Volna” monitoring centre. The monitoring centre, in turn, was servicing the automatic fire prevention equipment that was installed at more than 500 locations, including hospitals, schools and kindergartens.

The “system failure” was due to personal factors – after Boris Alexandrov, Director General of “Volna” monitoring centre terminated service contracts with “Fire Monitoring Services” and the “Monitoring Service – Leningrad Region”. These contracts were purely fictional and not their contents but their connection to Sergey Biruykov, the former deputy of the Head of the Managing Office of the Ministry of Emergencies of St. Petersburg.

The latter is the father of Maxim Biruykov, the Head of the Managing Office of the Ministry of Emergencies of Leningrad Region, whose subordinates followed the orders to re-programm the “Strelets Monitoring” monitoring equipment installed at fire stations so that it won’t take emergency signals coming from “Volna” monitoring centre.

The allegations coming from Boris Alexandrov are not at all surprising. He openly claims that terminated contracts were a covert bribe for the members of the Biruykov family in order to be able to operate in the fire safety domain.

Why does the Head of the regional Ministry of Emergencies battle so desperately for the positions of the companies of his family members in this particular business sector?  The question can be answered by simple calculations.


7 000 000 Euro

“Argus Spectre”, the producer of programmable machine unit “Strelets Monitoring” signed a government contract for the instalment and service of the equipment in federal fire stations of the Leningrad region. In addition to the contract the management of the “Argus Spectre” agreed that the locations will be connected free of charge with “Strelets Monitoring” units by the above-mentioned company “The Services of Fire Monitoring”. However in the North-West Region, “Argus Spectre”, “The Services of Fire Monitoring” and the managing office of the Ministry of Emergencies of the Leningrad Region are interconnected by private commercial interests of the Biruykov family. Therefore the representatives of the managing office of the Ministry of Emergencies of the Leningrad Region obliged the heads of the local municipalities and management of the companies to purchase only “Strelets” monitoring units and only from  the “Services of Fire Monitoring” and “Monitoring Service- Leningrad Region” that have the authority to sell the units at an approximate cost of 16 000 roubles per unit.

The amount of the facilities that need to be equipped with such fire monitoring units ranges from 700 to 1500 in every district of the Leningrad regions. Approximately 16 000 000 roubles should be spent on “Strelets” units if we take 1000 facilities as an average quantity for every district. Leningrad region has 18 administrative districts, so after a simple calculation we can see that Buryukov family can earn 288 000 000 roubles (approx.. 7 000 000 Euro) as a result of such sale.

In order to obtain such a revenue other companies have to be eliminated from the market. However, other producers argue that various equipment can be connected with “Strelets” monitoring units. There are no indications against that fact. Connecting it only to “Strelets” unit is, as if trying to make the people buy a Nokia phone when they want to make a phone call to Nokia phone owner, falsifying that other brands  simply can’t connect with Nokia devices.

It’s peculiar to know that the ally of the director of “Argus Spectre”, General Viktor Krivoshonok, represents the interests of the Managaing Office of the Ministry of Emergencies, therefore he is directly interested in the sale of units.

The specialists claim that Leningrad region would benefit more if the aforementioned 7 000 000 Euros would be spent on the construction of additional fire stations or organising voluntary fire brigades. On the other hand, the Biruykov family will have no revenue then.


When there’s a will, but there’s no way

It’s not surprising then, that while this conflict lasts, the representatives scrutinize the “Volna” company. In order to do so they are using every legislative chance to bring “Volna” to administrative responsibility, related to fire safety. Nonetheless, all the attempts have been failures so far due to legislation “illiteracy” of the representatives.

Recently inspectors from the Supervision Department of the Office of Supervisory activities of Vsevolzhsk region came to secondary school #2 in Sertolovo village and declared fire-prevention equipment installed there by “Volna” company as invalid and working with various violations. But when we detach ourselves from the details of this brawl, we are left with a really important matter – a secondary school where children come to study every day.

Employees of fire inspection organization write out reports on administrative offenses by “Volna” company but due to their professional ignorance they mistaken the clauses of the Codex of Administrative Offences. Under the pressure of the upper management the mistake is corrected and the claim goes to Arbitrary court. At this stage other nuances are being revealed. It is found out that the inspection was carried out in secret, without notifying “Volna” and that the inspection report is dated behindhand and in absence of “Volna” representatives, which is a violent breach of law.

The Arbitration court of St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region predictably refused the claim for administrative responsibility , then “firemen” took the matter to upper levels and went to the 13th Arbitration Appellation court. However, the court declined the claim on the grounds of the legal unsuitability. But the “firemen” were determined to go further and applied to the Federal Arbitration court of the North-West region.  The representatives were also rejected there, as it is only eligible to apply to Federal Arbitration Court after the hearings in the 13th Arbitration Appellation Court.

The described example of the total inability of the General Biruykov’s employees to provide fire safety of the facilities in Leningrad region is not a unique one. In a similar way failed the attempts to bring “Volna” to administrative responsibility due to violations in Vsevolzhsk District Hospital and Lycee #1.

Numerous are the cases that didn’t get to the court:





This story could have even been entertaining if not for one obstacle: during the last 1.5 years only facilities serviced by the “Volna” company are being subjected to such inspections. Moreover, inspectors are trying to get not only the “Volna” and the facilities cooperating with “Volna”, but also the management of the corresponding municipalities. The next question is logical: when this blackmailing will eventually come to an end?


It seems that instead of performing its direct duties according to the Federal law, the Managing Office of the Ministry of Emergencies of Leningrad region forces  facility managers to terminate contracts with “Volna”, piling them with inspections and fines. “If you keep cooperating with “Volna” the reports about the availability of the facilities will not be signed”, - these phrase begins every inspection of the Supervision Facilities Department of the Ministry of Emergencies of the Vsevolozhsk Region.


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