The Insider learned the details of the biography of the new main fighter against corruption in Russia, Maxim Travnikov, and also found out that the former head of the Presidential Administration, Sergei Ivanov, who was once predicted to be Putin's successor, is losing his power in power.
Vladimir Putin by his decree abolished the Office of the President for Combating Corruption, which was headed by Andrei Chobotov from Sergei Ivanov's inner circle. Among his possible new jobs is the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), where his son already works as chief of protocol.
Now the anti-corruption functions have been transferred to the newly formed Office of the President for Civil Service, Personnel and Anti-Corruption (UPVGSKKK). On May 23, the new structure was headed by Maxim Travnikov from the clan of Deputy Presidential Administration Dmitry Kozak.
Travnikov graduated from MGIMO and worked in the legal department of Morsvyazsputnik, and then as a secretary at the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.
One of the diplomats told the editors that Travnikov’s career was helped in many ways by his marriage to Ekaterina Nozhnikova, whose father, Alexander Nozhnikov, previously worked as Deputy Head of the Federal Service of the Russian Federation for Currency and Export Control, an auditor of the Accounts Chamber, and before retirement he was a member of the leadership of the Main Production and Commercial department for servicing the diplomatic corps at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The very same wife of Travnikova, after returning from Strasbourg, worked in the American news agency United Press, and now plays in the Moscow Amateur Tennis League.
In 2004, Travnikov moved from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the apparatus of the Russian government and became an assistant to Dmitry Kozak, and then followed him to the Ministry of Regional Development and Staraya Square. At the same time, he was a member of the Presidential Council for Cossack Affairs and was a member of the collegium of the agency for the arrangement of the state border of Russia, where he dealt with legal issues.
In 2018, Travnikov was appointed head of the Presidential Office for Ensuring the Constitutional Rights of Citizens, and a year later he headed the key Office for Civil Service and Personnel.
Now, in the chair of the head of the UPVGSKPK, Travnikov's tasks will include not only approvals and appointments to the highest government posts - all compromising evidence will flow to him. At the same time, the final decisions on candidates for high positions will be made not by him, but by his patron Dmitry Kozak.
Because of the war with Ukraine, the reshuffle in the Presidential Administration went almost unnoticed. Meanwhile, all this suggests that Sergei Ivanov is increasingly losing influence and his appointees are being removed from key state structures, although he was once in the first roles and was predicted to be Putin's successor.
Andrei Chobotov, who retired, began his service in the military counterintelligence of the KGB. After that, he was transferred to the central office in Lubyanka. In the late 90s, he served in the Department of Analysis, Forecasting and Strategic Planning of the FSB, which was headed by Sergei Ivanov. When Ivanov left for the Security Council, he took Chobotov with him, and he headed his personal office. Since then, Chobotov followed Ivanov everywhere: first to the Ministry of Defense, then to the Presidential Administration.
Andrei Chobotov (left) and Sergei Ivanov, photo by Anton Denisov, RIA Novosti
Leaving the Presidential Administration in 2016, Ivanov agreed with Putin that some members of his team would remain in their places: Chobotov, head of the presidential protocol Vladimir Kitaev, deputy press secretary Yuri Sviridov, and Vladimir Chernov, who previously spied with Ivanov in the KGB-SVR residency in the Scandinavian countries and headed the Office for Cultural Relations with the CIS countries.
In 2021, “culturologist” Chernov lost his position after a series of high-profile media leaks about the subversive activities of his office in neighboring countries. Journalists found out that Chernov's subordinates oversaw the pro-Kremlin party in Georgia, interfered in elections in Moldova, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and recruited local politicians, military and journalists.
A source from The Insider in the AP says:
Sergei Borisovich is no longer the same fighter that five years ago, and did not defend Chernov and Chobotov before the president. Recently, he has rarely been invited anywhere, except perhaps to award someone or shake someone's hand in front of TV cameras.
Another source from the Presidential Administration says that at the beginning of the year, Chobotov himself asked to resign, citing personal reasons. Apparently, the death of his close friend and well-known propagandist Svetlana Babaeva was a real blow to him.
For many years, Chobotov led Babaeva up the career ladder: in 2004 she was included in the Kremlin pool, then she headed the representative office of RIA Novosti in London, worked as deputy editor-in-chief of Moscow News, editor-in-chief of the Profile magazine, and then chief - Editor of the RIA Novosti news agency in Washington.
The Insider has copies of Babaeva's correspondence with the former counterintelligence officer, in which they often discussed plans for the evening and what outfits to wear for a visit to a restaurant. Moreover, from the same correspondence it is clear that before the publications, Babayeva sent some materials to Chobotov for approval.
The last position of Babayeva, where Chobotov attached her, was the head of the Rossiya Segodnya representative office in Simferopol, in which she led propaganda against Ukraine and was going to visit Russian units on the front lines. Before the business trip, Babayeva decided to practice shooting at the training ground and accidentally shot herself in the face.
Svetlana Babaeva in Chobotov's office
But it is too early to write off Sergei Ivanov, since many people from his clan still serve in law enforcement agencies. For example, this is the head of the First Service of the FSB (counterintelligence) Vladislav Menshchikov, who, apparently, is not going to resign.