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Supply of Russia's emergency food and equipment reserves divided by clans from Putin's entourage, Proekt reports

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Several families from Vladimir Putin's entourage control all procurements for Russia’s strategic emergency stockpiles of food and equipment, according to an investigation by independent outlet Proekt. The investigation reviewed the work of Rosrezerv, a federal agency meant to provide food, fuel, and other necessities in case of emergencies, such as wars or natural disasters.

Even though the work of Rosrezerv (Russia’s Federal Agency for State Reserves) is classified, the outlet claims its inefficiency can be judged by the poor supply of the army during the invasion of Ukraine: mobilized soldiers and their family members have repeatedly complained about the lack of uniforms and basic necessities. The agency’s day-to-day responsibilities involve replenishing Russia’s government reserves, and selling outdated goods that can be restocked at prices significantly below market. By law, both are supposed to take place through auctions, but only participants approved by the FSB are admitted, and the results of the bidding are kept secret.

Businessmen working with Rosrezerv told Proekt that only companies affiliated with several families close to the Russian president have access to the auctions. Smaller players can only work with the agency through someone in that small circle. According to Proekt, the select few include the family of Vasily Shestakov, one of Putin's judo sparring partners; another sparring partner, businessman Arkady Rotenberg; the family of former Prosecutor General Yury Chaika; the family of Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev; and the entourage of Sergei Chemezov, head of Rostec and longtime friend of the Russian president.

Having analyzed several Rosrezerv supply chains, Proekt concluded that the clans listed above do not compete with one another for access to the agency's resources, instead cooperating by reselling each other's products and taking loans from the same banks.

Rosrezerv is also headed by people from Putin's inner circle: the first head of the agency was Alexander Grigoriev, one of Putin’s childhood friends and a fellow KGB officer. After Grigoriev's death in 2008, Boris Evstratikov, another Leningrad KGB alumni, took over. Evstratikov died shortly after his appointment. The current head, Dmitry Gogin, also a judo enthusiast, was appointed with the participation of Arkady Rotenberg.

Federal budget spending on the Rosrezerv is constantly growing. In 2021, the agency was allocated 207.4 billion roubles ($3.02 billion).

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