The Black Mirror Telegram channel announced that it had obtained the personal correspondence of the recently retired Colonel-General Eduard Chernovoltsev, who headed the FSB's Scientific and Technical Service. The service includes the 8th Center (Information Protection and Special Communications), the 11th Center (Special Equipment) as well as the Special Communications Department.
Chernovoltsev was also in charge of the FSB's Criminalistics Institute (NII-2 FSB), whose agents were involved in the poisoning of the opposition politicians Alexei Navalny and Vladimir Kara-Murza, as well as the writer Dmitry Bykov. According to The Insider's sources, the general was dismissed following an internal investigation triggered by The Insider and Bellingcat identifying and publishing the names of all the poisoners.
The correspondence, some of which has been made public, shows that the general can afford to buy villas for tens of millions of dollars, watches for $20,000, a Bentley Continental, and multiple other items essential for a modest special services employee.
The Insider was able to independently verify the authenticity of the correspondence, some of which was published on the Telegram channel.
The letters include a list of options for a new home that Chernovoltsev and his wife bought in the summer of 2022. They paid particular attention to several options: a $15 million “four-story residence” with a swimming pool in the Agalarov Estate village and the $22 million “Trouville” mansion, which boasts separate staff quarters. In the end, the general decided on a more modest option, a house in the village of Deauville on the Rublyovka for $4 million, which Chernovoltsev registered in the name of his father-in-law Gennady Tolkachev.
“Rublyovka” is the unofficial name of a prestigious residential area in the western suburbs of Moscow, located along Rublyovo-Uspenskoye Highway, which gives the area its nickname. As Rublyovka's gated communities are home to multiple Russian government officials and businesspeople, The New York Times called it “home to the sprawling villas of Russia's ruling class.”
Even if Chernovoltsev were paid the same salary as FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov ($130,000 a year), it would take him 30 years to save up for this house — without accounting for other expenses. The general, as can be seen from the published part of the correspondence, has denied himself nothing. Chernovoltsev owns an impressive fleet of cars, which include a Range Rover, Mercedes-Benz GLE, and Bentley Continental GT. The fleet's cost amounts to several more years of Bortnikov's salary.
Insurance papers for Chernovoltsev's Bentley Continental GT
Chernovoltsev also wears a Breguet Classique watch that at one point retailed at $20,000.
Repair documents for Chernovoltsev's Breguet watch
Chernovoltsev's letters also contain work-related correspondence, but Black Mirror has not yet released them to the public.