The FBK released an investigation into how the commander of the joint group of Russian troops in Ukraine, Sergei Surovikin, makes money from the war. Previously, Surovikin commanded a military operation in Syria. For his particular cruelty in media reports about Syria, he was called none other than “General Armageddon”, or “Syrian Butcher”, or “Butcher of Aleppo”.
Surovikin's wife, according to investigators, owns the Argus SFC sawmill in the Sverdlovsk region. It is through this company that Surovikin receives money from Gennady Timchenko, who is one of the main beneficiaries of the presence of Russian troops in Syria.
According to the investigation, Putin’s closest friend, Timchenko (his sponsor, who paid for the construction of the palace in Gelendzhik, and the dacha in Biarritz for Putin’s daughter, and much more) began to seize everything that can be earned in Syria at a frantic pace. He received contracts for the construction of a pumping station for irrigating agricultural land, he built gas processing plants, gas pipelines and so on.
In early 2017, Bashar al-Assad ratified the contract - he gave the right to Stroytransgaz, owned by Timchenko, to extract and export phosphates from two Syrian deposits near Palmyra. According to FBK, the deal was concluded on the condition that 70% of the profits are received by a subsidiary of Stroytransgaz, STG Logistics, and 30% by the Syrian government.
But at the time of the signing of the agreement, the mine area was mainly captured by ISIS, the Syrian authorities did not control it. Surovikin and Russian mercenaries begin to "liberate" the territories. By June 2017, the mines are free. Timchenko's company begins restoration work there and preparations for the extraction of raw materials, the material says.
In addition, from the fields near Palmyra, which are being developed by STG Logistics, phosphates mined there are exported, which are then transported to Europe under the guise of cargo not from Syria. Any part of this supply chain, as FBK investigators write, is extremely vulnerable. The conflict and clashes in Syria continue, at each link a huge amount of security is required - constant armed escort. This is done by the Syrian army, Syrian PMCs, Wagner PMCs and the Russian army that controls the port.
In 2020–2021 for six months, STG Logistics issued loans to a sawmill owned by Surovikin's wife - a total of 104 million rubles.
In addition, the wife of the top manager of Stroytransgaz, Mikhail Khryapov, gave Argus a loan of 25 million rubles, which the authors of the investigation consider as payment for military operations in Syria, which were led by Surovikin.
In addition, the current driver of Surovikin from the General Staff depot became the head of a wood processing company at the same address where Argus is registered.
On November 3, Rosreestr completely classified the property of the Surovikin family. If earlier, instead of Surovikin or his relatives, the extracts indicated the “Russian Federation” as the copyright holder, now they simply do not have any real estate.