The St. Petersburg city court refused to satisfy the appeal of the former hospital attendant of the City Anatomico-pathological Bureau Alexander Syrov. He has been convicted on a resonant case of so-called “gang of morgue attendants”. In spite of the fact that Syrov completely admitted his guilt and cooperated with the investigation, he has been sentenced to eight years in prison. Syrov believes that the sentence is too tough.

The history of the gang, which put under control the entire ritual business of Petersburg, began 20 years ago. In 1988, a state healthcare institution – the City Anatomico-pathological Bureau (GUZ GPAB) - was created. The GPAB was part of the morgue No. 2, and in prospect it was supposed to reassign about ten more morgues. The state allocated a lot of money for its research work. And by 1992, a self-supporting unit appeared as part of the GPAB to render numerous additional services to the public at a premium price.

At the beginning of 2003, the Healthcare Committee arranged financial audit of the GPAB and was shocked by the results. Only the excess consumption of materials on funeral services made 5 million rubles, but later the auditors found 38 million leakage of money as well. Most of the gang members were arrested, but the leader Valery Burykin — the inspector whose duty was to monitor work of junior medical staff of GPAB — hid in Germany together with his family.

Burykin created his gang to monitor financial flows in the morgues. He wanted to put his own man at the head of each of the nine morgues that were part of the GPAB. For this purpose, together with the business partner Pavel Belyaev, he organized more than a dozen crimes. Belyaev was a former judoka, jobbed as an administrative inspector of the GPAB. He made up a “brigade of morgue attendants” from athletes of the Special School of the Olympic Reserve. There was also a group of killers who eliminated unwanted persons.

Many people were victims of these crimes: the first deputy chairman of the Health Committee Vladimir Zholobov, the former main expert in narcology of the Northwest federal district Leonid Shpilenya, the main children's expert in narcology of Petersburg Vyacheslav Revzin, the deputy chief physician of the City Narcological Hospital Larisa Artyuhovskaya, the former senior hospital attendant of GPAB Sergey Efimov, the lawyer Alexey Hrapunov and others.

For a number of years, the law enforcement agencies did very little to disclose the crimes of the gang. The investigation on the gang began only after the murder of Sergey Efimov in September 2001. He knew that he would be killed and left a suicide note. But even the note did not force the police to immediately act.

In February of the 2003, the lawyer Alexey Hrapunov was killed. He was associated with the oligarch Igor Minakov. The concern Zashchita (Protection) founded by Minakov was engaged, in particular, in protection of cemeteries. Its employees, for example, guarded the Southern Cemetery and the Memorial Cemetery to the Victims of 9th January in Saint Petersburg. As experts believe, Hrapunov represented Minakov's interests in the conflict with Burykin's gang. The Bureau of Forensic Medical Examination (BFME) just became a stumbling block. Hrapunov was trying to resolve the issue quite peacefully, or rather, with the use of administrative influence. At the end of 2002, Hrapunov began to win...

When Hrapunov was killed, Minakov's environment at once declared that the customer was Valery Burykin or someone from his team-mates. However, in the law enforcement agencies, this criminal case from the very beginning received the status of “dead duck”.

Larisa Artyukhovskaya also knew that they were going to kill her. She addressed to the then chief of the First Department of ORCh-1 (Criminal Investigation Department). He sent Artyukhovskaya to his subordinate who agreed to listen to her. Nevertheless, at the end of August of 2004th, Artyukhovskaya was killed. For a long time her murder was considered as connected with her work in the narcological hospital and even with drug traffic.

And only after the murder of the lawyer Dmitry Sobolev in August 2007, a former Hrapunov’s partner, who defended Pavel Belyaev, arrested by the time, the investigation entered the final straight. By the way, the lawyer for Belyaev was hired by Burykin himself before his leaving borders of the Russian Federation. He was detained on the Austro-Hungarian border only in 2008. Pavel Belyaev became the main witness of the prosecution.

Pavel Belyaev, hospital attendants of the 2nd and 3rd city hospitals Dmitry Poleshkin, and Alexey Chaban are sentenced to various terms of punishment for Sergey Yefimov and Larisa Artyukhovskaya's murders. The former chief physician of City narcological hospital Sergey Tikhomirov and the director general of JSC KredoMed Marat Dreizin are also punished by court for Larisa Artyukhovskaya's murder.

Besides, Pavel Belyaev, Marat Dreizin, Sergey Tikhomirov and Alexander Syrov are found guilty of attacks on the former main expert in narcology of the Northwest federal district Leonid Shpilenya. However, their criminal prosecution was terminated due to expiration of the limitation period.

Valery Burykin is found guilty of gangsterism and organization of the murder of Sergey Efimov. He is sentenced to 16 years' imprisonment to be served in a maximum security penal colony.