As you know, rewarding the innocent and punishing the innocent is Samara’s favorite game. If the first part of the popular proverb is the prerogative of the governor, then the second part is the prerogative of the courts of the Samara region.

Let us remind you that in the summer of 2023, the chairman of the 6th Court of Cassation, Efanov, resigned. His son’s company is involved in a criminal case regarding the privatization of land at a reduced cost. Interestingly, in an interview, Efanov Sr. announced that the value of the land was confirmed at the time of purchase by a state examination. That is, the transaction with an undervalued value was covered up by the conclusions of the state examination. The editors do not yet know who conducted the state examination and actually signed for the obviously false value.

  In 2023, this is already the second story with a “fake” examination, the first was when calculating the payback of the Klimovsky Bridge. Such stories discredit state expertise as a tool for objective assessment used in judicial proceedings, at least in the Samara region.


Судья Ефанов Александр Алексеевич

Judge Efanov Alexander Alekseevich


Unfortunately, the events surrounding Efanov and his family are not the only high-profile story that smacks of corruption. Thus, at the beginning of 2023, the chairman of the regional court of the city of Samara, Vadim Kudinov, overturned the refusal to release Yuri Zolnikov, the former head of the regional Rostechnadzor, on parole. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison because he was found guilty of creating the Headquarters organized crime group.


Судья Кудинов Вадим Вячеславович

Judge Kudinov Vadim Vyacheslavovich


In 2006, one of the members of the Shtab organized crime group killed the director of SamaraControlService LLC, Vladimir Khokhlov. There was also an attempt on the life of Igor Kuznetsov, who was supposed to be sent to the regional Rostechnadzor - he was saved by a wad of money, which was caught by a knife with which the man was stabbed after the gas was used. And so, Judge Kudinov released the leader of the organized crime group, the organizer of the murders. Does this decision smell of corruption?

Remarkably, during his appointment, Kudinov became the only candidate for the post of chairman of the Samara Regional Court in 2019, despite the fact that Kudinov was involved in a corruption scandal. The article has been deleted but remains in the archive. There is a system of “manual” courts, convenient for the elite of the region.

It is noteworthy that during Kudinov’s tenure as chairman of the regional court, he had three private rulings and several judges were convicted. And, as you know, judges act at the direction of their chairmen in sensitive cases.

Another interesting story is with the former prosecutor of Syzran, Vadim Mikhailovich Fedorin.

Вадим Михайлович Федорин

Thus, on September 12, 2023, despite the fact that the defendant has serious illnesses included in the list of diseases that prevent his detention: cardiovascular disease (coronary disease, tachyocardia), including surgery, type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension (list diseases, approved by Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of January 14, 2011 No. 3), the most “humane” and at the same time notorious Samara court left the defendant in a pre-trial detention center. And neither the judge nor the prosecutor were embarrassed by the heart attack suffered right in the courtroom in early September, or the post-operative condition of the defendant. The total period of Fedorin's stay in a pre-trial detention center without a sentence exceeds 2 years, which is higher than the statutory period of detention in a pre-trial detention center, as the Supreme Court has repeatedly said.

This is not the only case when the accused becomes ill in a pre-trial detention center and is not released, despite complaints from lawyers. So, in 2021, a mother lost her only son, locked up in pre-trial detention center #1. “My son was in such a painful state that he could not even stand to give his explanations in front of the court; he subsequently fell off the stool onto the floor, then after that they tried to drag him out of the investigation room of the detention center. By that time, he had not eaten for three days, as he was vomiting blood,” writes the mother of the deceased in the statement of claim. The judge saw the condition of the accused, and .... disregarded the norms of the law of the Russian Federation, leaving him in a pre-trial detention center.

Another example is the story of police falsifying drug cases. Briefly, in order to receive bribes, the police in 2015-2017, together with “fed” drug addicts, falsified dozens of criminal cases.

Now the criminal cases conducted by these police officers will be reviewed. What about the judges who heard these numerous cases? Weren't they confused by the fact that the names of the “witnesses” are the same everywhere? Was there at least one acquittal?


Also, investigative authorities and Samara courts very often use so-called “secret witnesses,” especially in economic criminal cases. Why is the witness “secret”? In order to include openly false testimony, it is necessary to hide the identity of the witness; often, these witnesses are members of an organized crime group and have previously been convicted; accordingly, the courts cannot openly use his testimony to avoid public outcry.

Judicial system of Samara region wants to repeat the record of Rostov scandals?

Thus, we can identify at least three systemic problems of justice in the Samara region:

1. Lack of an objective, unbiased investigation, up to custom-made cases, a merger of crime and law enforcement agencies.

2. Lack of prosecutorial supervision, the actual transformation of the prosecutor's office into a clerical department, with references either to the investigation or to the court.

3. Lack of independence of Samara courts, which is constantly reported by local media. Systematic violation by the Samara courts of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the provisions of the Supreme and Constitutional Courts.

How can a person defend his rights in court when the judges actually lack an independent and objective view? There is only a desire, an obligation in the system to carry out the orders of the chief judge of the region.

Attempts by people to find a chance to protect their rights almost always occur outside the Samara region, unfortunately, when people turn to the Central Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation or the Prosecutor General's Office.

Unfortunately, it so happened historically that Samara is the heiress of the dashing 90s, a region where criminal structures are closely intertwined with the authorities, supervision and the judicial system. In recent years, Samara has been experiencing economic and demographic crises, the region is rapidly becoming poorer and degrading, corruption is flourishing, and ethnic groups, lack of compliance with the laws of the Russian Federation in all government structures (and numerous scandals associated with them) are gradually leading the region back to the dark past of the 90s. New old reality of the Samara region.

Arseny Dronov