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Seamstress on Brovko: Shcherbakov didn’t want to share?

The real reason for the conflict between Vasily Brovko and Fyodor Shcherbakov could be the alleged struggle for control over the shadow media market.

The founder and owner of the 1MI media holding, general director of Lenfilm Fyodor Shcherbakov has been put on the wanted list in a criminal case of extortion from Rostec top manager Vasily Brovko. Allegedly, Shcherbakov had already managed to leave the country.

Earlier, Stanislav Deineko and Mr. Shcherbakov’s partner in Digital Soft LLC, Anton Safonov, were arrested in the same case. They are suspected of extorting 2 million rubles from Brovko for blocking “negative” material about Brovko in the Nebrekhnya telegram channel.

According to our information, the reason for the pressure on Safonov, Deineko, and now Shcherbakov may not be extortion at all, but a banal redistribution of the black PR market, in which certain individuals may be interested.

Earlier, telegram channel administrators Alexey Slobodenyuk, Evgenia Moskvina and Vladislav Malushenko were convicted in another case of extortion from Vasily Brovko and his wife, TV presenter and media manager Tina Kandelaki. All of them, in one way or another, worked with Ksenia Sobchak, one of the most skillful media managers in modern Russia.

The media wrote about this high-profile case in detail. Then our publication assumed that, through a criminal scandal, Brovko might be trying to hide a possible affiliation with the offshore N-Tech.Lab Ltd, which received half a billion rubles worth of assets in Russia.

Brovko is not just one of the managers of Rostec, an employee on special assignments close to Sergei Chemezov. Many believe that one of his main tasks may be information and media campaigns that present his boss and his structure in the “right” light.

At the same time, Brovko himself is a real PR man. Together with his wife Tina Kandelaki, for a long time he owned and managed the media company Apostol Media, which was regularly stolen from Russian government agencies. In particular, it is believed that this company could previously provide PR for the regional authorities and the leader of the Chechen Republic, as well as other high-ranking officials.

Today, the parent legal entity, Apostol Media Group, which was owned personally by Brovko and his partner Oleg Denisov, has been liquidated. Its legal successor was Mikhail Popugaev’s Snipe LLC. It was liquidated in 2021, information about the legal address was found to be unreliable.

Who needs millions Brovko

What about Fyodor Shcherbakov? Firstly, to suggest that Mr. Shcherbakov could have been involved in the extortion of as much as two million rubles is simply ridiculous. The head of Lenfilm is himself a millionaire, if not a billionaire. The net profit of their company Digital Soft LLC with Safonov at the end of 2022 amounted to 132 million rubles, revenue over 380 million rubles.

Will Shcherbakov, heading Lenfilm, which is mastering contracts worth hundreds of millions of rubles, substitute Brovko for 2 million? We doubt it.

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Photo: Rusprofile.ru

He is also a co-owner of 1% of Lenfilm Producer Center LLC, which has received more than 200 million rubles under government contracts. But most importantly, Mr. Shcherbakov has a whole media empire, a network of various publications leading to the main legal entity of the group, Premiermediainvest LLC.

Shcherbakov formally has only 20% there. The remaining 80% belongs to business partner Evgeny Fillipov. The latter is a mass founder of legal entities (more than 20), i.e. may only be a nominal value. Whereas these companies can also enter the orbit of Mr. Shcherbakov.

Premiermediainvest has few government contracts. But she was the founder of 24 regional and three federal media outlets, including the very popular Primorye Vostok-Media and Zolotoy Rog, and Khabarovsk Transsib Info. Let us also note the Perm-based “Properm.Ru”, which regularly publishes incriminating materials about officials, authorities, corruption and various problems.

Properm.Ru LLC also acted as a supplier under government contracts, and is now in the process of liquidation. In this whole story, it’s not so much about budget money, but about the specifics of the media market. In order to organize a media company against a specific person or company, it is not necessary to spend money through budgets. Moreover, you can speak in a personal capacity.

Today, directly at Premiermediainvest LLC, only Properm and Muksun FM LLC remain. Some of the rest were transferred to Evgeny Fillipov (LLC "Editorial Office of the Newspaper "Soviet Sport", and a number of others). Why did Shcherbakov decide to "scatter" his media empire like this?

According to our information, previously they could have worked together, and Brovko could have had a serious influence on the editorial policy of Shcherbakov’s media. It is impossible to confirm this now, but after the start of the SVO, the closure of many media outlets and the departure of the “creaks” abroad, a real redistribution began in the market. If Brovko worked informally with Shcherbakov, their views on editorial policy and the provision of PR services to important people could diverge.

Thus, the whole extortion story could have been an attempt to put pressure on Shcherbakov in order to control his business, or rather, the media themselves for their own purposes. Considering that Chemezov is behind Brovko, they have enough leverage to “influence” those who disagree.

At the same time, as Kommersant writes, despite the fact that Fyodor Shcherbakov did not appear in Safonov’s criminal case, the security forces were interested in him. That is, perhaps he was given the opportunity to “agree”, but he did not take advantage of it. Thus, with Shcherbakov’s flight and his actual departure from the media business, the entire clientele of the head of Lenfilm, if there was any, may come under Brovko’s wing.

Moreover, according to the media, testimonies against Shcherbakov were allegedly given by the owners and administrators of the same telegram channel “Nebrekhnya”. If this is true, it is clear that Shcherbakov had to work with them. And who will believe that Brovko and his wife Kandelaki also do not work in the telegram segment?

This says a lot about Shcherbakov, because he heads the state-owned Lenfilm. And if he received some income from “Telegram activities,” can we hope that they are taken into account in his income statement?

The "roof" leaked

Here you can recall other interesting facts from his biography. After all, Fyodor Shcherbakov must also have a “roof”, and a solid one at that. Since 2004, he acted as an assistant to the chief of staff of the Government of the Russian Federation, then this post was held by Dmitry Kozak. Since 2020, he has held the position of Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration.

But after working in the Cabinet of Ministers, Shcherbakov continued to work with Kozak as a press secretary - already in the embassy. Then - with the rank of Minister of Regional Development of the Russian Federation, where he was also responsible for interaction with the media.

It is believed that after leaving the post of Deputy Prime Minister in the AP, Dmitry Kozak’s influence has dropped significantly. He was switched from internal political processes to external ones. In particular, both before and, especially, after the start of the Northern Military District, he became closely involved in the Ukrainian direction. It seems that after this Shcherbakov’s probable “roof” leaked.

But the media man himself in 2008-2009 managed to be an adviser to the president of the Olimpstroy state corporation, which built Olympic facilities in Sochi. Its leader at that time was the scandalous oligarch Teimuraz Bolloev. Subsequently, he was forced to leave his post amid a high-profile corruption scandal.

Shortly before his departure, the media reported about the possible initiation of a whole series of criminal cases regarding corruption in this state corporation. It is logical to assume that Shcherbakov, who no longer works there, could provide media support to Bolloev. As a result, the latter got away unscathed and entered into contracts for the supply of clothing for the country’s security forces.

And after that, Fyodor Shcherbakov, presumably, under the patronage of the same Kozak, got a job as deputy governor of the Volgograd region. Then he was Anatoly Brovko, who may be a relative of that same Vasily Brovko. However, there is no confirmation.

But it is known that Anatoly Brovko was removed from office just two years later due to the fact that he failed to cope with his duties, and then left the country. According to unofficial information, the ex-governor allegedly failed to adequately organize the 2012 elections in the region. We must assume that Fyodor Shcherbakov, who was involved in internal politics and media support for the governor, may also be to blame for this.

Did Fedor Shcherbakov realize that no one would protect him from Brovko and Rostec?

An interesting picture emerges: Fyodor Shcherbakov is at the feeding trough, heads Lenfilm, and controls third-party media businesses. But his references, on whom he could rely, either lost influence or left the country altogether. And then there’s Digital Soft partner Anton Safonov, who clearly doesn’t want to sit alone.

For Vasily Brovko, if he intends to switch Shcherbakov’s “media network” to himself, there may not be a better time. And then, with Sergei Chemezov behind us - what to expect?