Chief Physician, minister, businessman
How Igor Kovalev from Murmansk got his 4.6 billion rubles
out of the regional medicine
Igor Kovalev from Murmansk was a physician, chief physician and regional minister of health. However, even when he was doing public service, he remained a businessman inside. Only since 2011 and just in the Murmansk region his companies received state orders for 4.6 billion rubles. Igor Kovalev is holding second place in "7x7" regional ranking "State order kings".
Physician
"Hospital — to sum it up: its everything. Because to make your way in the hospital from attendant to the chief physician... its a school of life, sort of", — reminisces Igor Kovalev in the movie dedicated to the jubilee of Murmansk regional hospital of P.A.Bayandin. Back in Soviet times, he served in general surgery department, and in 1988 — perestroika times — a young doctor was chosen, yes, namely chosen by the personnel and not appointed, like it mostly happened at those times, as a chief physician of the hospital.

Kovalev served ten years as a chief physician, and those were the hard years, due to perestroika bringing with itself not only democracy but economic chaos as well. Kovalev has proven himself to be an effective crisis-manager. The book, dedicated to hospital's jubilee, says that "during these years financing of the hospital was cut abruptly, there were real problems with basic medical supplies and equipment. Under such circumstances Kovalev I. V. was able to": "save the collective," carry out the reconstruction of the old and start construction of new hospitals, actually get new equipment, form new departments and much more.

In 1998 he was appointed as a chairman of the regional health committee. But even before, in 1997, Kovalev's main company — "Nordmedservis" — have made its first contract with the hospital.
Minister
"Nordmedservis" was founded in 1996. Its founder, as the company website says, was Viktor Alekseevich Kovalev — "a skillful economist, a man with a rich experience of a leader, outstanding vitality and neverending source of new ideas."

Viktor Alekseevich Kovalev is a father of Igor Kovalev, as it was told to «7х7» by Ilya Kovalev (son of Igor, grandson of Viktor and businessman involved in medicine as well). By his words, his grandfather Viktor Kovalev for many years was heading the Murmansk Consumer service (a special ministry in USSR responsible for such public consumer services like tailoring establishments, hairdresser salons, and tinkering services). Viktor Kovalev had premises at his disposal, which he decided to use for organizing pharmacy branches. Which means "Nordmedservice" was initially minded as a pharmacy company.

"Nordmedservice" website tells the story of pharmacies expanse. In 1998, when Igor Kovalev became regional minister of Health, the company had only two pharmacies in Murmansk. So by 2008, when he left the state service, it already had 35 pharmacies and 9 pharmacy branches, which formed "the biggest pharmacy network on the Kola Peninsula."

Nowadays, the network is named "Formula Zdorovya" and includes 69 pharmacies. It was evaluated to hold 35% percents of Murmansk market turnover in 2017 review of "Pharmacevticheskiy Vestnik," an average income of a single pharmacy was evaluated at 3,1 million rubles a month.
Pharmacy network "Nordmedservice" has 69 retail outlets in the Murmansk region and Karelia
It was the prosecutor office, who revealed information regarding the bulk sector of the "Nordmedservis" business in 2008. They discovered that "activities of Chairman of the Public Health Committee of Murmansk region Kovalev I.V...shows signs of competing interests." The conflict was about "Nordmedservis" belonging to Igor Kovalev, which company wins the tenders carried out by the Public Health Committee. Other five companies involved in medicine trade and services belong to his relatives.

In June 2018 Igor Kovalev was relieved of his duties as the chairman of the committee "on the initiative of a civil servant."

After that, the Prosecutor's office wrangled for some time with the investigating authorities, forcing them to open a criminal case, and at the end of the year achieved its goal — the case of misuse of the budgetary funds was initiated (part 2 of Art. 285.1 of the criminal code). As Murmansk media reported, a year later the case was closed, more to say, the whole scandal was politically motivated: Kovalev supported the wrong candidate during the mayor's election in Murmansk. According to Murmansk journalist Tatyana Britskaya, it is true that while being a state official, Kovalev created a sustainable business, but not at the cost of the funds that the Department entrusted to him.

However, Ilya Kovalev claims that formally there was no conflict of interests at all. In 2001 his grandfather Viktor Kovalev died, and his father Igor Kovalev inherited the company, he says. But, since his father was a civil servant, the business was placed under fiduciary management of Ilya Kovalev himself. So it went this way until 2008 when Igor Kovalev have left the public service.
"Criminal case was closed for lacking elements of crime on exculpatory grounds. If there were grounds for such a case, we wouldn't have even half of our foreign contracts now. Also, if there weren't a trust agreement with me, Igor Viktorovich would have been put into jail" — supposes Kovalev Jr.
Businessman
Dismissal from the civil service never made an adverse effect on Kovalev's business. Revenue of "Nordmedservis" continued to grow.
Two more companies owned by Kovalev showed up between 2009 and 2010 - "IVK Medikl" and "Nordmedservis Karelia." Since 2011, when information on public procurement became regularly available, and until March 7, 2019, all three companies concluded state contracts for 6.3 billion rubles. Most of them — in the Murmansk region: for 4.6 billion rubles (including "Nordmedservis" — 4.2 billion).

Two main customers of "Nordmedservis" are two state institutions, where Kovalev served once as the head director: hospital — contracts for more than 1.6 billion rubles, and the Ministry of health — contracts for more than 1.1 billion rubles.
The primary customer of "Nordmedservis," Murmansk regional clinical hospital of P.A.Bayandin, has strong connections with Kovalev family business. Time after time "hospital" names appear in their ranks.

For example, the hospital holds an ophthalmological center "Pavlov-med" (a company with revenue of 35-55 million rubles per annum). According to SPARK, Ilya Kovalev possesses 76% of this company, and Tamara Vasilievna Gorban owns 12%. Her complete namesake works as endoscopist at the same hospital and is also a wife of Victor Rogalev, a former deputy chief physician, who currently heads the hospital center for emergency medicine. Gorban is listed as a co-owner of two more companies registered at the same address with the hospital — "Bolnichniy gorodok" and "Vizus"; previously, among their co-owners was Ilya Kovalev. Once, all three firms were directed by Yuri Mikhailovich Boikov, his complete namesake in 2008 was headingthe Competition Commission of the hospital and was fined for purchasing process violation, together with his deputy — Viktor Rogalev.
The chief doctor of the hospital from 2001 to 2016 was Alexander Vasilievich Golovanov; listed in SPARK as a co-owner of the company "MedInform" in 2008, 50% of which is now owned by Ilya Kovalev.
Vasily Alexandrovich Golovanov works in the St. Petersburg company "IVK Medikl" (Kovalev senior — owner, Kovalev Junior — director), in 2015 he was the Project Manager of the Sales Department.

Ilya Kovalev says that it all means nothing. "We never tried to conceal the fact that Vasily Golovanov has been working in our company since 2003. He is, in fact, a son of Alexander Golovanov, but he never worked with the regional hospital, his area is totally different. He works in St. Petersburg and doesn't work with clients who reside in Murmansk". Alexander Golovanov, according to Kovalev, "never served in any commercial structures": "He for sure never worked in any of my companies." Also, "Pavlov-med" was once created by the hospital to provide paid services, and then it became unnecessary: "But this is an operating company, which I just happened to join and which I use".
Sole supplier
"Nordmedservice" wins plenty of tenders without any competition — it just turns out to be the only company that shows up for them. Between 2011 and 2018, according to SPARK-Marketing, such cases took place in more than 30% of state orders of the total amount (1156 out of 3743) and 50% of total state orders sum (2.3 billion rubles out of 4.6 billion rubles). At the same time, in more than a thousand cases, the auctions took place without a price reduction. Other companies that belong to Igor Kovalev have shown comparable rates: "IVK-Medikl" wins 43% of contracts without a competition (232 of 536), "Nordmedservis-Karelia" — 38% (239 of 629).

It is in the specifics of medical business: a foreign equipment manufacturer allocates a specific territory to a Russian dealer so that any competitor would be forced to purchase equipment from an exclusive dealer before taking part in the auction, explains Ilya Kovalev.

However, the thing is that tenders for basic medicines and supplies are carried out without any competition as well. Likely with gloves or disinfectants.

Potential competitors of Kovalev don't seem to find anything surprising here. "One company is operating in Murmansk, others just don't want it, the rest of Russia is pretty enough for them, — says Andrey Balan, co-owner of "Medtehtrastservis" (company received state orders for about 275 million rubles in Murmansk region between 2011 and 2012). — "Nordmedservis" is a big, serious company, which became an exclusive distributor of numerous world-known medical brands. Thus, they can maintain appropriate prices, and it is difficult to compete with them, so no one tries. I have no reason to think that they are not playing fair."

Former co-owner of "Medtehfarm" Igor Bogdanets refused to talk specifically about "Nordmedservis" since he is personally acquainted with Igor Kovalev. Speaking generally, he was critical about the whole state procurement system:
"I have never received and never gave a single bribe in my life. That's why I preferred to work with the people — to be not involved with this system. Naturally, everything, that is connected with bulk purchases and big money, — it has enough of this "special chemistry," of which I managed to stay clear.
Competitive chemistry
Among the most frequent "Nordmedservis" rivals are firms, belonging to Murmansk businessman Andrey Rulinskiy — "Novaya medicina" (98 tenders) and "Stroyproectservis" (47), and his "IP "Rulinskiy A.G." (62). They all can be seen at the auctions with "IVK Medikl" — in 4, 10 and 6 cases accordingly. But the truth is that Rulinsky and Kovalev could be hardly called true rivals.

For example, Rulinsky's "Stroiproektservis" and Kovalev's "Nordmedservis" companies are both located at the same address. More so, previously Ilya Kovalev was the co-owner of "Stroiproektservis." Kovalev's "Nordmedservis" and Rulinsky's "Strojjproektservis" and "Novaya medicina" companies, according to SPARK, show the same phones, while in tender's documentation, available in "SPARK-Marketing," "IP Rulinsky" indicates e-mail addresses in the nms.ru domain (domain belonging to "Nordmedservis"). Finally, "Novaya medicina" is a license holder of trademark "Formula zdorovya," under which pharmacies of "Nordmedservis" work. "7x7" called "Nordmedservis," and the secretary replied that Andrey Rulinsky is currently on vacation.

Ilya Kovalev confirmed that he is acquainted with Rulinsky, but insisted that it had nothing to do with business: "I know him well, we went to school together. He runs his own business. Also, those phone numbers and emails [of Rulinsky's companies] are not ours for sure. It's probably just some mistake or a typo. He's running a similar business, but it has nothing to do with us."

Another "Nordmedservis" rival is a Saint-Petersburg company MFK "Severo-Zapad" (84 tenders) owned by Sergei Rudenko. Perhaps, Rudenko and both Kovalevs shared a common business in Switzerland. Between 2005 and 2015, they were listed in the register of companies as co-owners of the company "Dision" (involved in medicine and real estate trades).

Ilya Kovalev in a conversation with "7x7" insisted that no serious violations could have happened neither in his business nor in his father's:
"We have a lot of direct contracts with equipment manufacturers, and many times we have passed the procedure of reliability revision, the so-called compliance control. Which includes a comprehensive check of the legal entity for conflicts of interest, and American and European companies that work with us sometimes can run such revisions up to six months... During the compliance control inspection, they asked the same questions as yours. Sometimes even sillier."
Management of "Nordmedservis," "IVK Medikl" and "Stroiproektservis" claim not to see any competing interests concerning state procurement, as it seems from the responses they've provided on "7x7" request. Murmansk regional clinical hospital of P.A.Bayandin stated that "all state procurement at the institution are carried in strict accordance with the Federal law №44-FZ" and that family business of Kovalev family "Pavlov-med" leases premises in the institution "legally" since 2016. Sergey Rudenko wasn't available for commentaries on the situation.

It would be accurate to say that there is nothing unusual in the Murmansk public tender system; it is an omnipresent situation in Russia. Experts say that "there is practically no competition in the state order system, and the existing rules are there only to create the appearance of such." To sum it up, in 2015, 28% of the total number of contracts made in Russia was signed with the only supplier, on results of failed tenders — 27%, and in general, 60% of deals were distributed without any competition for about 3.3 trillion rubles.
"State order kings". Murmansk region
How the ranking was made

The initial sample frame of companies was done with "SPARK-Marketing" database and included all companies, which between January 1st, 2011 and October 28th, 2018 have made 94/44-F3 contracts in that region worth over 300 million rubles. Then, the government and municipal companies were removed from the list, as well as the companies which 94/44-F3 contracts made less than a half of the sum of their total contracts (94/44-F3 and 223-F3) in that region; the companies which were in fact just branches of the major regional companies were removed as well. The remaining companies had their owners identified with the help of both "Kontur. Fokus" and "SPARK-Interfax" databases. The companies with common owners were added to a common cluster and their contracts summed, after that the ranking was ordered by the owner. In the cases where the owner was unable to identify (which mostly took place in cases with ZAO), as an exception, a general director's name was written in the "Owner" field (all such cases are specified separately).
1st place
2nd place
3d place
4th place
5th place
6th place
7th place
8th place
9th place
10th place
Alexander Bulatov
Amount of government orders in the Murmansk region:
4.4 billion rubles
Company:
Management Company "Murmansk Road Department" (MC MRD)

49-year-old Alexander Bulatov was born on Sakhalin, and received a higher education at the Moscow Institute of Oil and Gas named after I. M. Gubkin. In 2004–2006, together with Vagit Alekperov, he served on the Board of Directors of OJSC RITEK. He became the sole owner of the MRD in 2013.

Murmansk Road Department was registered in 2008. This is one of the leading road-building companies in the Murmansk region. Owns three mobile asphalt plants. The company owns three careers. The total amount of contracts — 5.3 billion rubles. The main customer is "Murmanavtodor", for which MRD is the main contractor. The largest state order, 822 million rubles, for the maintenance of the site of the highway "Kola", was received by the company in 2012. Revenue in 2017 — 1.1 billion rubles.
Igor Kovalev
Amount of government orders in the Murmansk region:
4 billion rubles
Companies:
Nordmedservice
Igor Kovalev is a native Murmansk citizen. He graduated from the Arkhangelsk Medical Institute in 1981, after that he worked at the Murmansk Regional Clinical Hospital, including from 1988 — as the head physician. From 1998 to 2008, he served as chairman of the regional state health committee, from which he quit after the prosecutor's office found signs of a conflict of interest in Kovalev's activities: Kovalev's companies concluded government contracts with the state committee, which he also headed. After dismissal from the civil service continued to do business.

The company "Nordmedservice" appeared in 1996, the following year it opened the first two pharmacy points. Now it is the owner of the largest pharmacy chain "Formula Zdorovya" in the Murmansk region. In 2010, "Nordmedservice" was a regular participant (often the only one) and the winner of auctions in the public procurement system. In 2009-2010, the owner of "Nordmedservice" established the companies "IVK Medical" and "Nordmedservice-Karelia", also active and successful participants in public procurement. The total amount of state contracts of the holding is 6.4 billion rubles. The largest state contract of "Nordmedservice" is 57.2 million rubles, it was concluded with the Ministry of Health of the Murmansk region in 2012 for the supply of X-ray diagnostic systems. Revenue of "Nordmedservice" in 2017 — 1.6 billion rubles.
Vyacheslav Kuznetsov
Amount of government orders in the Murmansk region:
4 billion rubles
Company:
Kola Road Department (KRD), Murmanavtodor
Vyacheslav Kuznetsov was born in Kandalaksha of the Murmansk region in 1963. He is in road construction since 1985: in the company "DSU-3"he started as a driver, and later became a director. After "DSU-3", he headed the MC "MRD" (the first number in the regional ranking of "Kings of the state order"), and in 2011–2012 he was in the public service — first he served as director of "Murmanavtodor", then the regional minister of transport. Kuznetsov owns 40% of KRD, other co-owners (20% each) — Nadezhda Kolmykova, Ivan Teresky (also the former head of "Murmanavtodor") and Natalya Chernasova. KRD owns 100% of "Murmanavtodor".

The Kola Road Department is one of the leaders of the Murmansk region in the field of road facilities. The company was incorporated in 2013, after Kuznetsov left the civil service. KRD receives the main state contracts from "Murmanavtodor". The total amount of government contracts of both Kuznetsov companies — KDU and "Murmanavtodo" — 4.4 billion rubles. The largest government contract — 993.6 million rubles on the maintenance of roads — concluded in December 2017. At the end of 2017, the revenues of the two companies amounted to 2.4 billion rubles.
Sergey Myshkin
Amount of government orders in the Murmansk region:
3.1 billion rubles
Company:
MNK-group
"MNK-group" was registered in 2010, Sergey Myshkin (CEO), Sergey Nosov and Roman Karavayev became founders in equal shares. In open sources it was not possible to find references to the fact that they were engaged in a serious construction business before.

Since 2011, "MNK-group" regularly participates in public procurement, its largest customer is the Capital Construction Department of the Murmansk Region, for which "MNK-group", in turn, is the largest contractor. The company's website says that it "specializes in providing a range of services for the design, construction and reconstruction of objects of any complexity." In October 2012, the regional prosecutor's office opened a criminal case on the article "Fraud" on the results of the implementation of "MNK-group" of one of the government contracts. The total amount of government orders — 4.2 billion rubles. The largest contract — for the reconstruction of the building of the regional drama theater — was concluded in 2017 in the amount of 643.2 million rubles. Revenue in 2017 — 350 million rubles.
Oleg Guz
Amount of government orders in the Murmansk region:
1.7 billion rubles
Company:
Murmanstroy
59-year-old Oleg Guz is a famous person in Murmansk. He is not new to construction and has been in business for a long time. Back in 2009–2011, his Murmansk construction company received government contracts for 850 million rubles, and the execution of these contracts was accompanied by scandals. Twice a deputy of the Murmansk City Council, a member of United Russia — his election campaign was remembered for homophobic advertising. In 2017, he was the second deputy of the City Council in terms of income — 36.9 million rubles, and a year earlier — the first — 41.8 million rubles.

In SPARK, Oleg Guz has five "Murmanstroy" construction companies. The main collector of state contracts is "Murmanstroy", established in 2005. Total cost is 1.9 billion rubles. The largest for the reconstruction of a psycho-neurological boarding school, the amount of 434.5 million rubles, was concluded in 2014. The revenue of the "main" "Murmanstroy" in 2017 — 218.6 million rubles.
Vladimir Hamanov
Amount of government orders in the Murmansk region:
1.5 billion rubles
Company:
A-Leasing
The 29-year-old Vladimir Khamanov is a co-owner and / or head of six small firms in St. Petersburg. According to his LinkedIn profile, in 2010, Hamanov began working as a courier in one of the leasing companies, where he later became the head of sales.

"A-Leasing" provides equipment, car and real estate leasing services. The only state contract of the company — 1.5 billion rubles. Concluded in October 2018 with the Office for Civil Defense of the Murmansk region on the leasing of equipment for the Safe City system. In the course of the struggle for this project, "A-Leasing" made a successful competition to "Megafon" and "Rostelecom". Perhaps, contacts with the former owner helped — before Hamanov, "A-Leasing" was owned by Andrey Gomon, the former general director of one of Russia's largest rail carriers, "Transoil" (part of the Gennady Timchenko group). The revenue of "A-Leasing" in 2017 was 176.8 million rubles.
Alexander Novolotsky
Amount of government orders in the Murmansk region:
1.3 billion rubles
Company:
Severstroy, Nordstroy
Alexander Novolotsky owns 100% of "Nordstroy", which, in turn, owns 50% of "Severstroy" (another 50% is owned by Azer Sherbetali oglu Makhmudov). At the same time, he is also the general director of the state RCD "Sevdorstroy". All three road construction companies operate in the Murmansk market and compete for government orders. Murmansk media call Novolotsky a colleague of Alexey Veller, State Duma deputy, before that — mayor and chairman of the city council of Murmansk.

In February 2018, Nordstroy won four government contracts for the maintenance of roads in Murmansk for a total of 302 million rubles. In total, both companies have government contracts worth 1.3 billion rubles, their total revenue in 2017 is 397 million rubles.
Grachya Pogosyan
Amount of government orders in the Murmansk region:
1.3 billion rubles
Company:
Promvoenstroy (PVS)
48-year-old Grachya Pogosyan appears in St. Petersburg and federal media as a philanthropist, social activist, and a major in the reserve. He has served as advisor to the Deputy Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the CIS Member States.

Born and raised in Armenia, received a higher education in Chelyabinsk, served in the Leningrad region. After being transferred to the reserve, he became involved in business, started with the production of Armenian national products, but gradually moved into the construction business. One of Pogosyan's companies, "Rosvoenstroy" LLC, carries out contacts for the construction of facilities for the Russian Ministry of Defense, including at the Vostochny cosmodrome. However, most firms provide utilities in the Murmansk region: the supply of heat and water, the management of apartment buildings. In total, Pogosyan's companies received state contracts worth 4.6 billion rubles.

"Promvoenstroy", contrary to the name, is not engaged in the construction of military facilities, but in servicing boilers and supplying thermal energy in the Pechenga district of the Murmansk region. The largest state contract is 326.6 million rubles — was concluded in December 2017 with one of the regional institutions of the Ministry of Defense of Russia. Revenue in 2017 amounted to 459.7 million rubles.
Vitaly Mezhenin
Amount of government orders in the Murmansk region:
1.3 billion rubles
Company:
Murmanskpromstroy
Vitaly Mezhenin was born in 1960 in the Belgorod region. By education — a civil engineer, graduated from the Belgorod Technological Institute. In Murmansk, remained after military service in the Northern Fleet. From 1984, he worked at "Murmanskpromstroy", where he began as a section head and grew to the general director. In 2008–2009, he was Minister of Territorial Development, Construction, and Housing and Utilities of the Murmansk Region.

Vitaly Mezhenin and Natalia Mezhenina own almost 100% of "Murmanskpromstroy".

Construction trust "Murmanskpromstroy" was established in 1961, joint-stock company in 1992. The company is engaged in construction, reconstruction, overhaul of industrial and social facilities. The total amount of state contracts is 1.7 billion rubles. The largest contract for 434 million rubles was obtained in 2013 for the construction of the athletics arena in Murmansk. Revenue in 2017 — 375 million rubles.
Vladimir Blinsky
Amount of government orders in the Murmansk region:
1.2 billion rubles
Company:
Murmansk Regional Electricity Network Company (MOENC)
Vladimir Blinsky is a well-known businessman in Murmansk, the founder of two dozen companies, mainly in the fishing and financial sectors. In the 1990s he was co-owner of "Sevrybholodflot", a large fishing enterprise. During the corporate conflict, the director general of this company was convicted for ordering the murder of Blinsky.

The current ownership structure of MOENC is not publicly disclosed. At the end of September 2015, Vladimir Blinsky was listed in SPARK as a member of the board of directors of MOENC (along with Alexander Vladimirovich Blinsky) and the owner of 80% of the Yumos firm, that owns 21% of MOENC (another 25% belongs to the Murmansk Property Relations Committee). During the August 2017 meeting of the board of directors, Vladimir Blinsky was called the "presiding", two of the four remaining members of the board — the general director of "Lotta" owned by Vladimir Blinsky (former and present). Blinsky is perceived as the face of MOENC.

Blinsky found himself at MOENC after her former curator, Gennady Shubin, was arrested in February 2013 and received 12 years for fraud. However, Shubin's lawyers claimed that the charges were false, and he himself was the victim of the political intrigues of the new Murmansk governor and the raider attack of the law enforcement agencies.

MOENC unites grid enterprises of the Murmansk region, provides electricity to 15 cities and towns in the region. As a supplier, it concluded state contracts for 1.3 billion rubles, as a customer — for 1.7 billion rubles. Revenue in 2017 — 1.4 billion rubles.
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