sentence – three and a half years probation // Look

In the summer of 2018, a tragedy occurred near Volgograd that claimed the lives of 11 people. A barge and a floating cottage “Elan-12” collided. An influential police officer involved in the incident received a suspended sentence. Relatives of the victims do not consider such a court decision fair.

In Volgograd, they are discussing the scandalous verdict to a former influential policeman. He was convicted in the case of the catamaran crash on the Volga in June 2018. Then 11 people died. Investigators proved that the former head of the linear department at the local river port knew about the violations on the watercraft and allegedly even saw that the ship with passengers was going on an illegal voyage, but kept silent. At the helm was his friend, a local deputy.

And here is the court decision – three and a half years of probation. Relatives of the dead people in indignation – a person involved in the death of their loved ones – are free and feel good. Is his conscience bothering him?

Spacious, bright director’s office, leather armchair and conference table. The head of the company is a former Volgograd policeman Anton Klimov. He meets the film crew at the door. Not a trace remained of the officer’s bearing. Now he is a businessman. And, it seems, nothing reminds either of his service in the linear department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, or of his involvement in a terrible tragedy on the water that claimed the lives of 11 people.

– 11 people died, yes, but I repeat – I didn’t drag them there by force and I didn’t drown them.

It’s about the catamaran crash in June 2018. At night in the waters of the Volga, not far from Volgograd, a barge and floating cottage “Yelan-12”. There were 16 people on board the small boat – 11 of them died. Investigators proved that Anton Klimov, at that time the head of the linear police department for water transport, could have prevented the disaster. He personally saw how the captain of the catamaran, drunk, without a license, brought the board with people to the water. The policeman saw but did not stop the intruder.

Klimov was found guilty of abuse of office. The article provides for up to 10 years in prison. But Themis showed unprecedented favor to the policeman. Sentence – 3 and a half years probation. The court decision was announced without the participation of the press, even the victims were not invited to the process. Relatives of eleven victims were shocked that the person involved in the death of their loved ones remained at large.

Natalya Elizarova lost her son and daughter in this tragedy. Her son-in-law, the son of Irina Alifashkina, also died. Grief united the women even more. They often meet, study the criminal case and try to find out on their own how that tragedy could have been avoided.

Dmitry Khakhalev is the man who was at the helm of the sunken catamaran. He, too, died during the collision. Local residents knew Khakhalev as a brawler and rowdy. Former deputy of the Volgograd Duma and head of one of the districts of the region. His career ended after a high-profile case. 10 years ago, Khakhalev was convicted of a fight and rape. To many, the sentence then seemed too lenient – only 4 years in prison. After serving his sentence, the former deputy continued to drink and rowdy, and on June 11, 2018, he took 16 people on board his catamaran and led them into a death trap.

On the day of the disaster, a company of 16 people celebrated the birthday of their daughter Natalya Elizarova on the banks of the Volga. Most of those present were familiar with Dmitry Khakhalev. It is now unclear who suggested that fateful boat trip. The former deputy, the owner of the catamaran, was drunk and did not have the right to drive the vessel. But, it seems, without hesitation, he took the helm.

This is footage from a CCTV camera – a group of people are loaded on board. Many have alcohol and snacks in their hands. Surprisingly, the management of the boat station did not even try to stop the drunk Khakhalev. Later, the owner of the pier, Leonid Zhdanov, will receive 6 years probation for this. Immediately after the river accident, knowledgeable people in Volgograd said that representatives of the station administration were simply afraid of Khakhalev.

As investigators found out, police officer Anton Klimov was not going to stop the drunken captain. It turned out that Khakhalev was his old friend. It is also striking that during that river walk Khakhalev called his comrade in uniform and even met with him in the Volga. But the policeman turned a blind eye to the violations and actually threw the passengers of the ship to certain death.

In an interview with our film crew, Anton Klimov said that he did not make claims to Khakhalev, because he was allegedly in the company of policemen, which means, according to the former law enforcement officer, he could not violate the law.

– A person calls me, I go to the ship. They tell me – this is a police officer of the regional traffic police, this is an employee of the Economic Crime Department. That is, in my subconscious, the thought cannot arise that the driver here is drunk. No, it is already initially clear that everything is legal here.

Many of those who were on board that evening really held high positions in the police of the Volgograd region. All of them were on vacation and may have consumed alcohol. But this fact also did not interest Anton Klimov. For example, here is the entry a couple of hours before the accident shot by a high-ranking officer of the Volgograd traffic police Vitaly Negrash. Within a couple of hours after the shooting, the catamaran collided with a barge. The drunken captain simply did not see her in the dark and crashed into a multi-ton vessel at full speed. The light floating boat was immediately pulled under the water. 11 people who were in the cabin could not swim out. One of the first to arrive at the scene was the police officer Anton Klimov. But it was too late – he missed his chance to save people.

Former policeman Anton Klimov never admitted his guilt. Relatives of the dead people say that his suspended sentence is a mockery for them. They do not want to put up with such a lenient punishment and are preparing an appeal.

Anton Klimov himself, it seems, has already survived a fatal accident on the Volga. The former police officer now has a new life – a business of growing grain and baking bread. Employees of the company say they do not know anything about the past of their leader, and Klimov himself seems to be trying not to think about his police service, which led to death 11 people.


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