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“Shcherbinsky’s case” put “Evdokimov’s case” into the background
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14.11.2006 г.
<div align="justify">"…One of the main characteristics of Russian modern political life events is their imitative nature. Those facts do not look true-to-life. They function as PR-projects and “plaster casts”, which have the aim to show that “we also have it all”: i.e. independent courts, mass media, opposition parties and democratic elections…These aspects were presented fully in Evdokimov’s and Shcherbinsky’s cases.<br /></div>

Now, after the decision to drop the case, people got a signal: “The investigation is over, forget it!” But as the experience shows, the public will go on discussing different versions, until we have got truly and complete answers to the up-to-now unanswered questions…".
(Russian version here).

On 23rd March 2006 the Altai regional court’s board decided to stop the case of Michael Evdoimov’s death, Oleg Shcherbinsky, who had been sentenced before by the court of Zonalny District to 4 years in colony-settlement, was set free. Analysts have different opinions about sharp change in judges’ sentence. Many people think, that it was the victory of drivers’ movement, who had objected to officials’ “flash cars“, to prohibition of “ right-side wheels“ and demonstrated in support of Mr.Shcherbinsky. But those who observed those events attentively have got a lot of questions to ask. “Shcherbinsky’s case” put “Evdokimov’s case” into the background.

“Shcherbinsky’s case”.

From the very beginning, the investigation and the trial held behind closed doors, took only one version about the occasional road accident into consideration, in which Mr.Shcherbinsky was considered “criminal laches “ which led to the death of three persons. Before the trial, Oleg Shcherbinsky was represented on the central TV channel as culprit, who drove the car with the “right wheel”. During the trial, Mr.Shcherbinsky himself kept silent and answered, that he hadn’t seen anything.

Then the “Zonalny district’s justice” turned the advocacy appeal down (about carrying out the additional examination) and pronounced the verdict of “guilty”, which provoked rugged protests of drivers. Those people, whose protests were summed up in the slogan “We are all Shcherbinskies “ objected to violation of drivers’ rights on Russian roads. And when the rallies spread all over the country, political technologists at the “top” decided “to have finger in the pie” with the aim to prevent the opposition from using the chance.

Mr.Shcherbinsky was also supported by the federal TV channels and Edinaya Rossia party; that organized a mass rally before the court session in Barnaul. The lawyer A. Kucherena represented The Public Chamber; later S. Mironov, A. Khinshtein and other public figures joined the “campaign”.

Interesting to know, that before the trial, the nominees for “The Siberian of the year” title were defined. In spite of the protests of the public O. Shcherbinsky was nominated candidate for the award as a man who “contributed a lot to Siberian life and who worked for Russian welfare”. So he as well as the late Mr.Evdokimov (who was killed in the car crash) was nominated on the list of the first seven winners.

The court made a decision under powerful pressure of well-coordinated PR campaign. It is also necessary to mention, that some federal mass media published some gossip about Evdokimov’s Moscow “mistresses”. It seems that somebody wanted the image of Mr.Shcherbinsky as a national hero and martyr to replace in the public memory the image of the late “people’s governor”.

“Evdokimov’s case”.

However, in the case of causes and circumstances of Mr.Evdokimov’s death there were a lot of “inconvenient” versions, which people are still discussing. We don’t admit that these versions are true because they should be tested. But nobody answered the questions that stirred the society.

To understand the course of events better, it is necessary to recall the history of Mr.Evdokimov’s governorship. We can point out three stages.

The spring-autumn of 2004: coming to the power. Federal centre tried to use the popular actor to shake Alexander Surikov’s position, who had been governor for too long a time and created the regional regime of individual power. Evdokimov got support from Moscow, it allowed him to resist the pressure of “Surikov’s team” and go to the second round. But then something unpredicted happened. People, who got tired of “Surikov’s period of stagnation”, that had lasted for 8 years, found in Mr.Evdokimov a real chance to renew power. And Mr.Evdokimov managed to win, having used the electorate”s protesting attitudes. His victory shocked a lot of people, including those, who had urged the actor to participate in the election. It looked like a spontaneous “flower revolution”, which resulted in the election of the “person from the common people”. It made the Kremlin worry. Soon the case of the election in the Altai Territory became the precedent that made “an entertainer “ governor referred to ground the necessity to find substantial reasons for eliminating democratic elections.

The autumn of 2004-the spring of 2005: failure to build his own team. Evdokimov dismissed almost all upper officials, but his attempts to create his own hard-working team failed. That situation resembled the situation, which under Alexander Lebed’ had taken place in the Krasnoyarsky Krai. The cadre reshuffle (leap-frog), the nomination of different people (with stained reputation) from different regions set the local elite, in particular on the part of the chairman of the Altai regional Council of People’s Deputies — Alexander Nazarchuk, against Evdokimov. Moreover, Mr.Evdokimov blocked up shady channels of money distribution, which had existed before his election, and as a result gained a lot of enemies. The communication with the former elite didn’t seem probable for the new governor. But at that time the Kremlin hoped to settle that conflict.

The spring-summer of 2005: crisis and the end. The situation got in a deadlock in the spring of 2005, when the deputies of the Altai Regional Territory Council gave the vote of no confidence twice. So there was a precedent, which obliged Putin to remove the governor from his post, at the local parliament’s request. It didn’t correspond to the logics of carefully arranged power. Mr.Evdokimov was invited to Moscow, he was asked either resign or to write a letter to the President for “acknowledgment of his authority”. But Mr.Evdokimov refused to do either, referring to the fact that he had been elected by the public. It was when he gave an interview to “Moscow’s Echo” broadcasting company, and said that “if people go, I will go with people”. There were rumours about his intention to run for presidency. By that time a lot of “companions” had already used him for their low practical purposes and “had escaped from his team”. According to some testimony, Mr.Evdokimov himself took notice of the shadowing some time before his death and feared that he “would be done in”. In early August he was refused the convoy’s flash cars and bodyguards.

The opinion poll, carried out by the Sociological Centre of Yu.Levada, showed that more than half (52%) of the respondents thought that the road accident of August 7 was the attempt at the governor’s life. But the trial and the investigation didn’t take that version into account. The case of Mr.Evdokimov’s death was immediately transformed into “Shcherbinsky’s case”. It left a lot of questions without answers.

Unanswered questions.

Evdokimov’s death looks as if it had happened right on time for his numerous opponents and it promotes the circulation of unofficial rumours about his death. There are a lot of stories among people and on Internet-sites about the gun shot in the “Mercedes’ ” hind wheel, about a third car, which disappeared from the accident site, etc. Many people ask the question — why did the chief of regional UVD (office of domestic affairs) general V. Valkov ordered to take the convoy’s cars and guards away before the accident and why he was not summoned to the court as a witness.

There are concomitant stories that supplement a lot of mysteries to this case. For example, in Rubtsovsk there was an explosion of the militia car, which led to the death of one militiaman. Commentators noted that the event had the aim to draw the regional militia’s attention away from Byisk route. Later, as a culprit of the accident a Chechen man, who had worked as hospital attendant in Rubtsovsk, was detained but the judges proved him innocent. The question “who was interested in that single terror act in the Altai territory history”, is still unanswered.

However, there is another mystery connected with the “false-true” letter, written by Evdokimov’s widow, who had survived in the accident. Mass media are known to have published the letter before the sentence by Zonalny court, in the letter Mrs.Evdokimova said: “I think that this insistent designation of “the person to blame” — is an attempt to hide the tragedy’s true causes. It is clear to me that Michael Sergeevich should have had the convoy’s car. But there wasn’t any car. It would be proper to adjudicate the officials whose decision had caused the tragedy. But to adjudicate an ordinary man looks like an attempt to escape the responsibility for those, who are interested in hushing true facts. But today we don’t deal with hushing, but with the misrepresentation of some facts as well. Everybody, including me, wants to find out clear answers to some questions.” But under the pressure of some circumstances Galina Evdokimova, being in hospital at that time, denied the authorship of that letter. All mass media declared the letter “falsified”. It turned out later that Mrs.Evdokimova had written that letter.

There is one more significant fact. The fact that the litigant asked to hold the trial in Zonalny district in closed regime was not true. Litigant representatives declared they hadn’t brought forward such a request. There are a lot of discrepancies in “Evdokimov’s case”.

One of the main characteristics of Russian modern political life events is their imitative nature. Those facts do not look true-to-life. They function as PR-projects and “plaster casts”, which have the aim to show that “we also have it all”: i.e. independent courts, mass media, opposition parties and democratic elections…These aspects were presented fully in Evdokimov’s and Shcherbinsky’s cases.

Now, after the decision to drop the case, people got a signal: “The investigation is over, forget it!” But as the experience shows, the public will go on discussing different versions, until we have got truly and complete answers to the up-to-now unanswered questions.
 

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В связи с проведением в 2009 году фестиваля народного творчества и спорта имени Михаила Евдокимова, 9 августа будет организовано движение автобусов по маршруту «Вокзал — п. Верх-Обское». Об этом сообщает пресс-центр администрации Бийска. Посадка пассажиров будет производиться на площади В. М. Шукшина (здание Бийского автовокзала). Начало движение автобусов 11:00, окончание – 22:30. Интервал движения 20–25 минут. Стоимость проезда 45 рублей.
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