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A judge to retire crated a fire precedent


Maxim Biryukov

When the law does not specifically state which fire emergency signals should be taken by the Russian fire stations, then they are free to choose to take the signals which they want to take. Such a startling conclusion, based upon incredible motives was made by the Panel of Judges of the 13th Arbitration Court of Appeal chaired by judge Valeriy Gorshelev. This court proceeding is one of the last trials for judge Gorshelev, who has filed an application to terminate his powers. Evidently, the judge wanted to put a bold exclamation mark to his career. 

 

There is no corruption

The 13th Arbitration Court of Appeal cancelled a ruling by the Arbitration court of St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region that obliged the staff of the Managing Office of the Ministry of Emergencies of the Russian Federation of the Leningrad Region to take the fire emergency signals incoming from “Volna”  (“The Wave”) monitoring centre.  Appellation Board of Judges ruled out that the employees of the Ministry of Emergencies are to decide themselves which incoming signals they can take.

The mentioned ruling could probably be considered as ridiculous if not for one fact – the conflict that the Panel of Judges reviewed under the chair of judge Valeriy Gorshelev did not take into account a corruption component.

On numerous occasions we already wrote that fire monitoring equipment “Strelets Monitoring” that was installed in federal fire stations of the Leningrad Region suddenly stopped taking fire emergency signals incoming from “Volna” monitoring centre at the beginning of 2012. At that time, “Volna” was servicing an automatic fire prevention equipment, that was installed at more than 500 locations among which were 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 played a role.

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-programme the “Strelets Monitoring” monitoring equipment installed at fire stations so that it won’t take emergency signals coming from “Volna” monitoring centre. It is not a coincidence that Boris Alexandrov has called the contracts that have been terminated  a covert form of bribe.

“Volna” representative had to appeal to Arbitration court of St. Petersburg and Leningrad region in order to make the firemen take fire emergency signals. In the first court instance the representatives of the regional Ministry of Emergencies lost the battle. Afterwards, the representatives addressed the claim to the 13th Arbitration Court of Appeal which under the chair of Judge Valeriy Gorshelev cancelled the earlier ruling explaining it with irrational reasoning.

 

The law does not explain

The main argument of an almost retired Judge Gorshelev begins with a peculiar phrase: «No regulations on these issues exist in the current legislation ». An ironic conclusion rounds off an argument: in this case it is advised to proceed according to the positions of the Ministry of Emergencies of Russia that defines the tools, techniques and procedures to address these issues”. It’s not surprising afterwards that a suggestion that all the matters in this issues are decided by the Ministry of Emergencies imminently leads to an assumption that “Volna” is redundant in this relations chain between various departments of the Ministry and consumers of fire emergencies services.

Valeriy Gorshelev describes in greater detail the departmental order, which states that the Ministry of emergencies departments are obliged to take fire emergency signals incoming from fire tracking automatic systems installed at various locations. But there no mention about private companies that install such an equipment at these locations – therefore the Panel of Judges makes a conclusion that private companies have no place in the fire emergency services market. The court chose to ignore the fact that there are thousand of such companies in Russia and that some of them, including “Volna” have allocated licensed radio frequencies that transfer fire emergency signals to the federal fire stations.

The appellation board under the chair of an almost retired Judge Gorshelev resolved that “Volna” company has no place within this system of relations, and neither the legislation, nor departmental orders of the Mininstry of Emergencies specify otherwise.

To make the arguments more convincing the Panel of Judges referred to the facts that lately several objects of social importance (including schools and various hospitals of the Leningrad region) were terminating their service contracts with “Volna”. However, the judges did not mention that actually the staff of the Ministry of Emergencies are following the orders of General Biryukov and companies are literally forced to do so. Meanwhile, the close family members of the General are financially interested that various companies in Leningrad Region are serviced by the specific companies, and not by “Volna”. Nevertheless, the judges decided to ignore this fact too.

Furthermore, the degree of corruption of this situation was even more evident during the court hearing. The interests of the regional Ministry of Emergencies as in many other arbitration processes before were represented by two delegates from «Argus-Spectre» company which produces «Strelets monitoring» programmable machine units similar to what «Volna» does.

A general impression is that the actions of the Ministry of Emergencies are being controlled by «Argues Spectre». We already wrote (http://oglaskaspb.com/eng/authority/a153/) that a high-ranking official, a deputy minister Alexander Chupriyan might know more details about this matter. 

 

When there is nuclear war

Other arguments that were stated in an almost unreasonable ruling of the 13th Arbitration Court of Appeal are even more inconceivable. For instance, the Panel of Judges somehow concluded that by transferring fire emergency signals using radio frequencies the company provides telecommunication services. However, as the judges pointed out, it is not licensed to perform such activity. In the reasoning part of the ruling it was stated that “the case file does not contain evidence that the Complainant is the telecommunication operator”. But “Volna” company never claimed that it was.

The trio of the judges did not take into account the letters from the Ministry of Communications and Roskomnadzor that stated the legitimacy of “Volna’s” activities on the account that the letters presented only private opinions of certain officers. Such an innovative approach to an official standpoint of the higher bodies of state authority is extremely convenient and allows not to take into account any bothersome arguments even from other government agencies.

Another bizarre conclusion made by the judges stated that the case files lack the evidence of the fact that the Complainant’s company possesses an equipment that uses radio frequencies. Several pages earlier the same reasoning stated that such an equipment provides services illegally and can not be part of the business. A logical question arises: why it is important to prove the existence of such an equipment if it's operation is not legal?

A creative conclusion made by the judges that «Volna» provides telecommunication services went even further. The judges stated that in case of nuclear war (earthquake and other global disasters) the Secret Services will switch off private network operators, so that they don’t interfere with military actions. “Volna” fire monitoring systems will also be switched off, as the company is the telecommunications operator.

The appellation board made also another stunning conclusion that it has not been technically proved that «Volna's» equipment can be connected to the equipment installed at federal fire stations of the Leningrad region. What is more stunning, that the Ministry of Emergencies representatives stated during the hearing that everything functions technically and there are only management issues to be solved.

After all the above-mentioned grotesque conclusions page 22 of the resolution states: «In this case the absence of regulations for the matter in question and the relevant law that could be applied was stated». This means that all the conclusions made by the Appellation Board are only hypothetical and do not estimate anything. After this resolution the judges chaired by the judge Valeriy Gorshelev concluded to cancel the verdict of the court of the 1st instance that obliged the fire stations of the Leningrad region to take fire emergency signals from “Volna” company.

 

The case described is an absolute precedent in the Russian unprecedented legislation. It is not a coincidence that a week after the hearing had finished the Highest Ranking Boar of Judges of Russia accepted the resignation application from judge Gorshelev. By his actions the judge put a bold exclamation mark in his career.

08.10.2013
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