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InternationalUSSR: An unprecedented crime

USSR: An unprecedented crime

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How the officers of the KGB, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Soviet Army carried out the most daring robbery in the history of the USSR.

36 years ago, on November 14, 1986, the largest robbery of cash collectors in the history of the USSR was committed in Moscow. In terms of today’s money, the extraction of the raiders amounted to 31 million rubles, a huge amount at that time. The gang consisted entirely of retired and active police officers, the KGB and the Soviet army. These people, who called themselves “the first mafia of the USSR”, planned the operation well, but, as often happens, at some point something went wrong. Escaping pursuit, the hijackers staged a real gunman on the streets of Moscow with chases and shootings, and it took Soviet investigators only 15 hours to solve this case. The history of one of the most notorious crimes in the history of the Soviet Union was recalled by the special correspondent of Lenta.ru, Igor Nadezhdin.

On Friday, November 14, 1986, it was cold in Moscow: for the first time the daytime temperature dropped below zero. True, there was no precipitation, but a strong wind was blowing. There was nothing interesting on TV, but there was a premiere in the movies: the American comedy melodrama “Wild Thing”. Therefore, there were not many people on the streets.

The Molodezhny department store in Moscow, on the Mozhaisk highway, was popular with all fashionistas in the capital – “imports” and “shortages” were often brought here. Stores in the country (except for the largest ones) were closed for many decades at 20:00, or even at 19:00, which was inconvenient: the working day in the vast majority of offices and at enterprises ended at 18:00.

Therefore, there was little time left for shopping, and trips to the shops were postponed for the weekend, which led to queues.

With the coming to power in the USSR of Mikhail Gorbachev, and in Moscow – Boris Yeltsin, the first secretary of the city committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the opening hours of retail outlets “at the numerous requests of the working people” were revised: manufactured goods stores began to close at 21:00. There were no convenience stores at all – that would be contrary to the Labor Code. So by November 1986, Molodezhny began to close not at eight o’clock in the evening, but an hour later – at nine.

On November 14, 1986, a white cash-in-transit Volga GAZ-3101 drove up to the service entrance of the department store at 21:07. This was the last point on the route, therefore, according to the instructions, shift leader Karpinsky and driver Mishin remained in the car with the money already collected, and only the collector Novikov went to the store.

On that day, the collectors were not accompanied by a police patrol car – according to official information, the car broke down. But this happened often, and there was nothing extraordinary about it.

How collectors transported money to the USSR

After a short collection (the working day was over, the cashiers had already counted the money and filled in all the necessary documents before the arrival of the collectors, and put the cash in special bags) Novikov went out together with the police sergeant Vera Alfimova, who was guarding the store.

Her shift was over and she was in a hurry to go home. An hour before that, at about eight in the evening, she handed over her service weapon in the regional police department and changed into civilian clothes – so she accompanied the collectors in civilian clothes. After watching the collector Novikov put the bag with the proceeds into the car, she hurried to the bus stop

When Novikov put the bag in the back seat of the Volga and sat in the front seat himself, two criminals opened fire on the car: one, in police uniform, fired a pistol from the driver’s side, the other, in civilian clothes, from a sawn-off shotgun on the passenger side. Novikov, who did not even have time to slam the door, and the driver Mishin were killed on the spot, and the shift leader Karpinsky was wounded in the shoulder and lost consciousness.

Alfimova, hearing the shots, rushed back – and she was shot at point-blank range by a man in a police overcoat. After that, the false policeman in cold blood shot twice at Karpinsky, who was sitting in the back seat, and both times he missed.

During the investigation it will be established: the shots rang out at 21:15

The robber in civilian clothes grabbed one of the bags from the back seat (it contained 330 thousand rubles – 31 million rubles at the modern exchange rate) and rushed towards Ryabinovaya Street. At the same time, another 150 thousand rubles remained intact in other bags lying in the “Volga”. After that, the “policeman” ran after the robber with a pistol in his hands. From the outside, everything looked as if the police officer was catching up with the criminal.

After running a few tens of meters, both hijackers took a calm step: no one was chasing them, the shots did not attract the residents’ special attention, and there were no passers-by in the yard. Both walked in their yards to Ryabinovaya Street, where a car was waiting for them. But in the courtyard of Ryabinovaya Street, Igor Kondratenko, an engineer at Soyuzsudoimport, was walking the dog.

Kondratenko decided that the police officer had detained some criminal and stood calmly in the street, but the policeman, passing by him, suddenly raised his pistol and pulled the trigger. There was no shot – the cartridges in the clip ran out – and Kondratenko was forced to lie on the ground

The man showed great courage – hiding behind the bushes, followed the strange couple and noticed the car they got into. And when the attackers left, he jumped out onto the road, stopped the vehicle of the PMG (a mobile police group) and told them the signs of the car in which the armed men were sitting: a blue VAZ-2108 and two numbers.

Moscow action movie

The patrolmen quickly found this car: the G8 was standing at a traffic light at the intersection of Aminevskoye Highway and Artamonov Street, waiting for a green traffic light. UAZ with the included beacons blocked the road. The driver of the VAZ got out and quite calmly asked what was the matter.

He was asked to show his documents, he reached into his pocket – and at that moment two passengers, one of whom was in the uniform of a police captain, opened fire on the patrolmen. An exchange of fire began, during which police sergeant Andrei Kuzmin was wounded.

The criminals managed to escape from the scene, but the militiamen immediately reported the incident by radio and reported the exact signs of the car, as well as the route of its movement.

In 1986, a shootout in Moscow, especially with the police, was a serious emergency, and the entire metropolitan garrison was immediately raised on alarm: patrol service, internal troops, traffic police and transport police.

A few minutes later, on the side of the Aminevskoye Highway, the body of a man was found with three gunshot wounds: one light and two fatal, including one in the head. In his pocket they found documents for the very wanted G8, as well as a certificate of the retired USSR KGB captain Konstantin Golubkov.

The criminals’ car was found a few minutes later near the Universitet metro station – it was flying at high speed along Vernadsky Avenue, when suddenly a trolleybus pulled out in front of it.

Avoiding the collision, the driver twisted the steering wheel, the car ran into a pile of sand left by the workers on the road (to fight the ice) and lay down on its side. According to witnesses, two people jumped out of it and ran in different directions.

The police appeared at the scene just a few minutes later and immediately began searching for those who had escaped. It was possible to notice one, several officers ran after him, but the suspect rushed straight into the Ramenka river and swam across it, right in his clothes. On the street at that moment it was already minus two degrees, and the police simply did not dare to follow him.

He was found literally a few minutes later: while combing the other bank, senior sergeant of the 116th police department of the Gagarinsky district department of internal affairs Aleksey Kozlov entered the boiler room of the road base. There, besides the stoker, was an unknown person. He shot a policeman and then committed suicide.

“A terrible and unprecedented crime”

Five days before this “western”, on Monday, November 9, the Collegium of the USSR Prosecutor General’s Office made a decision: to send a senior investigator for especially important cases under the RSFSR prosecutor, the head of the banditry investigation department to Rostov-on-Don to investigate a series of murders in the Rostov region Prosecutor’s Office of the RSFSR Issu Kostoev, releasing him from all other cases.

The next day, November 10, Kostoev flew to Rostov, where he briefly familiarized himself with the materials of the investigation, which later became known worldwide as the “Chikatilo case” (by that time there were 32 murders), and on Friday, November 14, he returned to Moscow – to hand over the cases.

It so happened that at the time of the attack on the collectors, he turned out to be the only “important person” in the capital – the rest worked in other cities. And at about 22:00, the prosecutor of the RSFSR, Sergei Yemelyanov, phoned Kostoev’s home.

Yemelyanov’s favorite word was “catastrophe”, and he began the conversation with me with him: “Issa Magomedovich, we have a catastrophe. The most audacious, most terrible, unprecedented crime in the USSR was committed: they attacked collectors, killed a police officer. The car has already left for you, get down “

Investigator Kostoev was at the scene about an hour after the attack, when information was still being collected. He realized that there are five places of incidents that need to be inspected, five dead and three seriously injured, a large sum of money has been stolen, and in the yard of the department store there is no pushing through from the bosses.

At the same time, the only witness, the wounded collector Karpinsky, was taken to the intensive care unit. Then Kostoev quickly sent investigators and forensic experts from the district prosecutor’s office and the Moscow city prosecutor’s office to inspect the scene of the incidents, and he himself flew to the hospital.

I fought my way into the intensive care unit, the doctors did not want to let me in and even tore off the button on my uniform, trying to hold me back. But he received important information: one of the shooters was in the uniform of a police captain, slightly overgrown and thin

By one in the morning, it was established that the criminal who committed suicide in the boiler room was Igor Knigin, a former police officer, then a huntsman in a hunting farm in the Vladimir region. It immediately turned out that the former KGB officer Golubkov, who was found on the side of the Aminevskoye Highway, after retiring, worked as a director in this hunting farm. But the identity of the third remained unknown.

In addition, several witnesses said that during the attack on the collectors, a senior lieutenant of the USSR Armed Forces was standing near the neighboring house, who clearly watched what was happening, but did not intervene. Actually, it was precisely the fact that the Soviet officer calmly watched as collectors and a woman were killed, and attracted attention to him.

And after the hijackers fled, he calmly walked the other way. True, in the first minutes they did not attach any importance to these readings.

For a formal identification of the deceased Knigin, his mother was brought to the boiler room late at night. An elderly woman, seeing the body of her son, fell into a state of shock, from which she was able to be taken out only in the morning. And in a conversation with Kostoev, she recalled in detail Friday – the day of the raid at Molodezhny.

In particular, she said that at about 23:00 a former colleague of Knigin, also a former detective of the criminal investigation department, Valery Fineev, phoned home. He asked Knigin: they say, he left a business trip with them at home, which should be noted.

Already in the morning, while inspecting the scene near the Universitet metro station, the overturned car found sawn-off shotguns, grenades, knives and a stolen cash bag: it contained 330 thousand rubles, the largest sum ever stolen in the USSR.

Moreover, more than ten thousand rubles – a trifle, that is, the weight of the bag was about 25 kilograms. It is curious that the bag was found only in the morning: it lay all night under the protection of the only patrolman

Fineev was detained and taken to Petrovka. There, MUR officers talked to him and came to the conclusion that he was not involved in the crime, but simply arrived in Moscow with the commandant’s permission to celebrate his family’s birthday. Indeed, on November 14, 1986, he turned 27 years old.

Fineev was serving his sentence in Tver, in “chemistry” (forced labor) – being a police officer and a colleague of Knigin, he tortured the detainees, and extorted money from one of them for not being prosecuted, which he got caught on. But he did not turn in his accomplices and received a relatively short term: there was no convincing evidence.

Despite this, Kostoev nevertheless decided to talk to Fineev himself. From the scene, he arrived at Petrovka and immediately noticed that Fineev was wearing uniform police trousers. During the conversation, he behaved absolutely calmly and showed his passport, confirming that he was celebrating his birthday.

Throughout his Friday, Fineev told by the minute: where and to whom he went, what he did, with whom he met. He said that he had asked Knigin to mark his travel certificate. But he stubbornly passed over in silence his late call to Knigin. And I suddenly understand: he does it on purpose

Then Kostoev provoked Fineev: “I’ve been listening to your lies for an hour, I’m tired of it. You yourself understand, for such a crime they smear their forehead with brilliant green. As a former operative, you understand perfectly well that in such cases everyone starts to blame each other, no one wants to go with a steam locomotive. “

An uninvolved person immediately reacts to such accusations, and Fineev simply turned pale and fell silent. And after a long pause, he suddenly asks: “What have Knigin and Subachev already told?” And I almost cried out: “What kind of Subachev? Were there three of you? ” And only then I understand – he actually confessed

“It was not enough yet – I’ll disclose to you the testimony of others. Take paper and write! ” – said Kostoyev. And he himself gave the command to look for a certain Subachev. At this time, Fineev began to tell everything he knew under the protocol and video recording. Yevgeny Subachev was found an hour later: the man with this surname turned out to be a senior lieutenant and political officer of the military construction unit in Odintsovo. During a search in his apartment, they found a gas mask bag containing four bottles with Molotov cocktails.

Good guys

By the mid-1980s, criminal groups led or included by police officers were no longer something isolated, although there were still several years before the mass appearance of “werewolves in uniform” and “sent Cossacks”.

In December 1984 – January 1985, in Moscow, on Zaraiskaya Street and Stalevarov Street, there were attacks on cash collectors who were taking off the proceeds in stores. 25 and 30 thousand rubles, respectively, became the production of criminals, and two collectors were killed.

As it turned out, the crime was committed by a gang, one of the leaders of which was a traffic police lieutenant named Savchenko

And in May 1986, in Volgograd, the head of the regional police department, Major General Konstantin Ivanov, and several police colonels were detained: they, together with civilians, organized a system of extortions and were convicted of bribes and abuse of office. But the daring gang, all of the officers, was revealed for the first time.

The leader of the group is Igor Knigin, born in 1955: it was he who united all the members of the gang. Strong-willed, decisive, ambitious, recognized leader, but power-hungry and unprincipled.

He entered a military school, but was expelled, worked as a school teacher, editor in a publishing house, then in the State Traffic Inspectorate, and then as an inspector of the criminal investigation department in the 114th police department of the Oktyabrsky district police department of Moscow (now the OMVD in the Lomonosovsky district).

In 1984 he was dismissed from the internal affairs bodies and got a job as a gamekeeper in the Kosterovskoye hunting farm, the director of which was Konstantin Golubkov, born in 1946, he became the oldest member of the gang

After serving 15 years in the 9th Main Directorate of the KGB of the USSR (guarding the first persons of the state, now the FSO), Golubkov retired and became the director of the hunting farm, where the first persons of the state came to hunt – in fact, it was a place for veterans of the nine.

It was there that Golubkov met Knigin. From the weapons of this hunting farm, the gang members made sawn-off pieces for themselves, there they also planned an attack on the collectors at Molodezhny, and how they would lay down on the bottom during a search: the status of “court grounds” guaranteed the absence of checks by the police.

Actually, it was at Golubkov’s G8 that a raid on a department store was carried out. And his subordinate, the huntsman Knigin, shot the wounded in the shoulder Golubkov: he fired the first shot in the car, and the second, in the head, already on the sidelines. He did this so as not to carry the wounded man with him.

Valery Fineev, born in 1959, is an inspector of the criminal investigation department of the same 114th police department, a colleague and comrade of Knigina, his accomplice in all crimes.

In July 1984, he literally knocked out a confession about a warehouse robbery from a person who was completely innocent of the crime, for which he was fired and put on trial.

But Fineev did not betray his accomplices. Apparently, therefore, the commandant of the colony in the city of Kalinin (now – Tver), where the convict was serving his sentence, calmly signed Fineev’s “business trips” to Moscow. After all, then the places of imprisonment were listed under the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and there was a completely different attitude to “ours”.

Evgeny Subachev Born in 1957 – Senior Lieutenant of the USSR Armed Forces. He entered the military school together with Knigin, but was not expelled and after his studies he served in the military construction unit in Odintsovo.

He showed himself on the positive side, the position held as deputy company commander for political affairs corresponds. In May 1984, for the loss of political vigilance and the use of his official position for personal purposes, he was expelled from the ranks of the CPSU

From the characteristics of Evgeny Subachev from 1986

All members of the gang were completely different people. What united two former police officers who tortured detainees and extortion, an army officer who dreamed of a rich life, and an honored KGB officer who served in one of the most elite units, where only crystal honest people were selected, remains a mystery.

Pioneers of contract crimes

The history of the gang, as it turned out during the investigation, began in the early 80s, when two operatives became friends in one police station: Fineev and Knigin. The ringleader was clearly the latter: he was more often the initiator of torture, threats and extortion.

There were many complaints against them, more than against their colleagues: they would either appropriate a beautiful imported trinket during a search, or force the witness to take them to a fancy restaurant and feed them, threatening to make them accused if they refused.

In November 1984, Knigin, Fineev and Subachev plotted to kill an underground drug dealer, a waiter at the popular Moscow cafe and boxer Oganezov.

This was, perhaps, the first ordered crime in the USSR – Oganezov’s ex-wife, a young woman who wanted to become an heiress, turned to Knigin with a corresponding request.

Fineev and Knigin, under the pretext of a police raid, came to Oganezov’s apartment with a check, and Knigin was in police uniform, and Fineev was in civilian clothes, but with a vigilante’s armband. In his testimony, Fineev first said that it was just intelligence, but later admitted: they were ready to use the knife they brought with them.

Fortunately, the landlord had friends as guests. A few days later they came to the apartment again, but Oganezov had a girlfriend.

For six months, the accomplices left the potential victim alone. Only in July 1984, already the three of us, developed a new plan: to pick up Oganezov from the cafe, drive him out of town by car and stab him there. Two were supposed to hold the hands of the boxer, and the third was to kill

The plan was partially implemented: Knigin and Subachev in police uniform entered the cafe where Oganezov was celebrating his birthday and took him to the police station for checking. They took him to the forest by car, but on the way they offered him “not to investigate his drug affairs” for a large bribe.

The victim did not have money with him, he said that he had left it in a cafe and offered to return. Greed won: the car returned to the Moskovsky, where Oganezov broke free and fled. And he immediately turned to their native 114th department and asked the police to protect him from blackmail by the police.

During the check, Oganezov unambiguously identified Fineev, but did not recognize Knigin. It was for this case that Senior Lieutenant Fineyev was fired from the authorities and brought to justice.

First blood

On June 20, 1983, Fineev and Knigin killed an underground dealer in precious metals, John Sarkhoshian. John had a young wife who, having accidentally met Knigin, became his mistress. Sarkhoshyan found out about the connection and threatened to expel his spouse “in what the mother gave birth to.”

At the same time, most of the property was recorded precisely in the woman – this was a feature of the life of underground Soviet millionaires. Then Knigin easily made inquiries about Sarkhoshyan in the OBKhSS (the department for combating the theft of socialist property – now the Office for Combating Economic Crimes and Corruption) and realized that the case could burn out.

Knigin took Fineev as accomplices. They came to Sarkhoshyan on Gorky Street (now Tverskaya) and, under the pretext of the need to identify the body of the deceased woman, who may be his brother’s wife, asked to go to the police station

Issa Kostoev

For the operation they took a “Moskvich”, which was standing near the department. When Sarkhoshian got into the car and they drove out onto Gorky Street, Fineev fired a Webley & Scott revolver at the victim, and Knigin stuck a Finn into his heart. The body was taken to Nemchinovka and drowned in a swamp, where they buried a knife. The revolver (apparently stolen during one of the searches) was saved – it is later used more than once.

The young widow said that she did not know anything about the murder of her husband, but on the same day, as it was established during the investigation, she changed all the locks in the apartment. She filed an application for the search for Sarkhoshian, but, having learned the occupation of the disappeared, his disappearance was attributed to “competitors in the shadow business”.

We found Sarkhoshian’s body in the winter of 1986-1987. I had to call army miners and blow up the ice on the lake. For 11 days they searched for a place with a mine detector, where they trampled a knife into the ground – and found it. Thus, Fineev’s testimony was fully confirmed.

Issa Kostoev – “I hit a policeman with a knife on the shoulder blade”

Even while serving in the police, Knigin and Fineev planned a whole series of crimes, for which they collected information. They understood that they needed more weapons, and at some point they had a very cynical idea: to kill a policeman.

On February 27, 1985 Knigin and Fineev went to visit Subachev in Odintsovo. We returned late in the evening by train, and Knigin had a CZ pistol with him, and Fineev had a stiletto. It so happened that in several carriages of the train there was not a single passenger besides them. Then they organized an ambush: they dispersed to different ends of the carriage and began to wait for the patrol officer, Junior Sergeant Smirnov.

From the testimony of Valery Fineev:

“When a policeman passed me, I caught up with him and stabbed him under his left shoulder blade. The policeman turned to me, but then Knigin jumped up, and together we knocked the junior sergeant to the floor. Then Knigin shot him in the head, I took the service pistol from the holster, and Knigin – the spare clip, and we got out of the carriage at Setun station. I gave the pistol to Knigin and threw out the stiletto. “

Smirnov’s murder caused a huge resonance in society and in the security forces. Because of him, the combat regulations of the transport police were changed: from that day on, patrolmen in transport went at least together. The crime was taken under control, and within a few weeks the Ministry of Internal Affairs announced the arrest of four assassins of the junior sergeant.

But during the investigation into the robbery of collectors, Fineev confessed to the same crime. The examination showed that during the raid near the Molodezhny department store, Makarov pistol No. 14444, assigned to Smirnov and stolen during the murder, was used, and the weapon itself was removed from Knigin’s body.

After that, I immediately requested information about the murder of Sergeant Smirnov. I was immediately informed: the criminals were convicted, one was sentenced to death, three more – to long terms

Kostoev interrogated the convicts and found out that they were all tortured, they were all taken to the scene of the incident and promised to “shoot them while trying to escape.” So they knocked out a confession, although there was nothing but words in this criminal case. Despite this, they were all found guilty.

Only the delay in the appeal saved one from death and three from a long sentence. This criminal case under the article on violation of socialist legality remained unfinished. I left for Rostov, and he was transferred to the region and clouded over. True, all those involved from the authorities were dismissed, but went unpunished.


The attack on the collectors near the Molodezhny department store was solved in 15 hours – already at noon on November 15, 1986, all the criminals were arrested and confessed. It turned out that they had rehearsed the crime several times, considered a variety of options. The presence of Subachev also found its explanation: he had to throw Molotov cocktails at the escort patrol car. But she broke that day.

A year later, on November 12, 1987, Vera Alfimova (posthumously), Andrey Kuzmin and Aleksey Kozlov, wounded in a shootout, were awarded orders

Six more police officers, from lieutenant colonel to senior lieutenant, received medals for their courage and dedication during the arrest of a gang of especially dangerous criminals. Issa Kostoev and the investigators of his group received only awards of 100 rubles.

On October 30, 1987, the military tribunal of the Moscow Military District sentenced Fineev to an exceptional punishment – execution, and Subachev – to ten years in prison: the court took into account that there was no blood on his hands.

Those convicted of the murder of junior sergeant Smirnov (which they did not commit) were acquitted and rehabilitated.

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