The story of destruction of the old puppet theatre and construction of the new Crimean puppet theatre moves ahead, after delay of three years. Russian occupants contracted the new company.
This «puppet show» is beautiful from all points of view. Its plot has elements of mysticism and corruption. Its «puppets» and settings have changed several times…
Act I. Malvina, ugly building and revenge of old puppet theatre
The setting: beautiful small building of old puppet theatre in Simferopol is «stormed» by a crowd of children. They came to see the fairy tale. Malvina (character of popular fairy tale «The Golden Key or the Adventures of Buratino» about wooden puppet «Buratino») appears at the stage and drags… bulldozer!
The role of «Malvina» is performed by Aryna Novoselska, Russian «ex-Minister of Culture of Crimea». She has headed the old puppet theatre before the Russian occupation of Crimea for half a year. After the Russian occupation, she has been appointed as «the Minister of Culture of the Crimean Republic». She ordered to destroy the old building of puppet theatre and build the new building – far larger, giant one. In 2018, «Malvina» put «the golden key» into the basement of the future building. She promised to open the new puppet theatre in one year.
The new building of puppet theatre had to be a castle, with five floors, two stages, underground parking lot, dressing rooms etc. The Russian budget allocated 1,1 billion Rubles for the new building, within Russian Federal Target Program «Socio-economic development of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol until 2020». However, the new building has never been completed in accordance with the schedule.
The climax of the first act occurred in 2021 when «Malvina» has been arrested. She has been accused of receiving the bribe of 25 million Rubles from LLC «Meandr», based in Saint Petersburg. «Meandr» has been contracted by «Malvina» to build new puppet theatre.
In July 2023, Aryna Novoselska has been imprisoned for ten years by the decision of Basmanny court in Moscow. Senior managers of «Meandr» have been also indicted and imprisoned for the illegal appropriation of resources allocated for the restoration of the building of conservatory in Saint Petersburg.
Crimean authorities paid 200 million Rubles to «Meandr» as an advance. The company never returned this money to the Crimean budget.
The Center for Journalist Investigations uncovered the story of Novoselska and «Meandr» in an article «The destiny of collaborator: the case of Aryna Novoselska».
Act II. Basilio the Cat, Alice the Fox and half built new puppet theatre
The setting is grim: there is only wind in the half built building of the Simferopol puppet theatre. «Speaker» of the «Crimean parliament» Konstantynov looks with sadness at the building from the window of parliament (both buildings are close). Basilio the Cat and Alice the Fox appear on the stage and promise to make a castle for the puppet theatre.
«Head of Crimea» Aksyonov contracted the new company to complete the construction of the «Crimean center of children’s theatre art». LLC «Teplostroiservis» has to achieve this task by August 31, 2026. The cost is almost one billion Rubles.
LLC «Teplostroiservis» is the Moscow company with roots in Novosybirsk. It has been founded by Ruslan Vladimirovych Zakharov in 2003. One year before, he successfully defended PhD thesis «Economic foundations for raising investments into agricultural companies (example of Novosybirsk oblast)» in local academic institution.
In 2009, financial analyst Yulia Surylova became the co-founder of «Teplostroiservis», with the share of 23,5% of statutory capital.
Since 2009, Surylova and Zakharov have founded a number of private companies. They created LLC «Center for school supplies», with main business profile of the wholesale trade of furniture, carpets and light equipment. The company has been registered in Moscow at the address of «Teplostroiservis» – 2nd Synychkin street, 9A, 4. The center received a lot of public contracts to supply toys and furniture to schools and kindergartens, as a rule, in Novosybirsk region.
In 2016, the company received public order in Crimea to supply equipment to newly created boarding school «Crimean cadet corps» in Alushta. The amount of this order has been over 600 thousand Rubles.
In 2010, they founded LLC «Grupa kompanii «Kontinent» at the same Moscow address. Its statutory capital has been around 100 thousand Rubles. Management of holding companies has been indicated as its main business profile. The company received multi-million public order by leasing property to public institution in Novosybirsk oblast. In 2010, «Kontinent» founded construction company «Construction technologies».
In 2011, Zakharov and Surylova founded LLC «NTS» in Novosybirsk oblast for the acquisition and sale of property. However, it has been closed within five years.
In 2011, Surylova alone founded LLC «Kontinent-grup» in Novosybirsk and received multi-million orders from the Ministry of Education of Novosybirsk oblast and regional educational bodies.
Zakharova and Surylova are great fans of Cuba and Cuban leading revolutionary Fidel Castro. Since 2013, they have been members of the Russian association of friendship with Cuba. In 2015, Surylova has been appointed Vice-President of the Association. In 2018, Zakharov became its First Vice-President. Since 2019, Surylova has headed autonomous non-commercial organization «House of Latin America».
Let us now look at «Teplostroiservis». Founded by Zakharov and Surylova, the company has statutory capital of 30 thousand Rubles. Since its inception, the company has built or repaired various objects in Novosybirsk oblast.
Since 2017, the company has received a number of multi-million public orders in Sevastopol and Crimea. They have been allocated within the Russian Federal target program for the development of occupied Crimea.
During last six years, «Teplostroiservis» has received over 60 contracts for almost 15 billion Rubles in Crimea! It has repaired and built kindergartens, hospitals and schools. Following two contracts have been the most lucrative: reconstruction of stadium «Avangard» in Yalta (almost 1,3 billion Rubles) and construction of multi-functional cultural center in Kazacha harbor of Sevastopol (almost 1,5 billion Rubles). «Avangard» has been completed with half a year delay. The Center in Sevastopol has to be completed by the end of this year.
«Teplostroiservis» received the majority of its Crimean public orders in Sevastopol. Crimean occupation authorities has awarded the company and its director Yevgenii Yakutin three times – in 2018, 2020 and 2023. Born in Novosybirsk, Yakutin has been the senior manager of several companies founded by Zakharov and Surylova.
Today «Teplostroiservis» is involved into construction of over twenty objects in Crimea.
It seems that «Teplostroiservis» enjoys an informal support in the Russian government. Deputy Minister of Finances of the Russian Federation Aleksei Lavrov is the President of the Association of friendship with Cuba. For example, co-founders of «Teplostroiservis» and Lavrov visited together Petersburg international economic forum in 2019.
Crimean «Vice Prime Minister» and «Minister of Finances» Iryna Kyviko joined them at the forum. There was no surprise that «Teplostroiservis» received 150 million Rubles of state assistance in 2020…
«Teplostroiservis» has been very profitable in 2021 when it earned 157 million Rubles as the profit. In 2022, the company’s profit fell down by 80% to 30 million Rubles.
As we see, Basilio the Cat and Alice the Fox have been successful in securing lucrative public procurement orders. They will receive another one billion «golden key» very soon. Puppets and puppet masters will be happy. Half built puppet theatre will also receive part of these resources. But will it be completed within three years? Malvina also promised to do it. Puppet show goes on…