Greetings from The 90s: Showdown in Almaty's Business World

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At the end of May this year, two businessmen were attacked in Almaty. It looked like a scene from an action-packed movie of the late 90s: mobsters, a rumble, and a point-blank shot. An Orda correspondent looked into the situation.

The incident occurred on May 31, 2023. Now, the families of Alexey Gladkikh and his business partner, Alexander Nesterenko, live in fear. These two men say that Alexey Demchenko and his accomplices are the ones that did it. The event happened after the entrepreneurs refused to cooperate with Demchenko.

We have been working with my partner Alexander Nesterenko for more than 10 years, we are engaged in work on swimming pools. About three years ago, we met Alexey Demchenko, who was looking for specialists in swimming pool construction. We built him two swimming pools: one in a yard, the second in a house. During the construction everything went fine. After we finished and got everything squared away, we signed a contract for further cooperation, namely for year–round maintenance, says Gladkikh.

For two years, the cooperation was not a cause for concern. However, last year Demchenko turned to Gladkikh with a request to build another budget frame pool at his summer home. Gladkikh and his team did the job, although, according to him, they did not conclude an official contract this time around:

 During the construction of the third pool, all sorts of misunderstandings began. Constant complaints and provocations. He constantly put emphasis on what we should and must do, even things not relating to our work. In his opinion, we had to control his builders who had built him a sauna,

Demchenko’s accusations discouraged Gladkikh and his partner. They believe that the responsibility for the builders' work is Demchenko's. They performed only their part of the work and were responsible only for the construction of the pool.

The demands would not stop, however. Even after the commissioning of the facility. The situation had escalated to the point that businessmen decided to terminate the cooperation. Demchenko’s dissatisfaction evolved into accusations of dishonesty along with refusals to pay for services related to the pool’s maintenance.

It all started in the spring, when he left an application for the pool's reopening after the winter. Our guy came to do the job. And an stream of demands just started, which he remembered from last year. We fulfilled our part of the contract and wrote to him that he should pay, and that's where our cooperation ends. Demchenko did not like this outcome of events. He started calling and demanding to justify our actions to him. After that, threats and harassment from his side began. He promised that we would 'spit blood, he’d kill us, he’d find us,' that we had no right to do this to him. For the fact that our guy washed the pool and prepared it for the season, he never paid, says Alexey Gladkikh.

 After the conflict, according to entrepreneurs, Demchenko did not stop trying to contact them. He actively called Alexander Nesterenko, threatening and demanding to meet. The men, however, did not answer his calls and blocked his number. The partners agreed to hold working meetings only together for the sake of security.

Red Handed 

A certain Vitaly Svatko eventually reached out to the company, requesting the construction of a swimming pool. However, in a conversation with him, Gladkikh became suspicious and asked him if he knew Demchenko. After receiving a negative response, they agreed to meet in order to discuss the project’s details. Nesterenko came to the meeting first, before the agreed time.

I arrived an hour earlier for a meeting and stopped in front of the house. At that moment, I noticed a Mercedes in which three people were sitting. Two of them were Asian, the third could not be seen, he was sitting in the back seat. The car was circling around the customer's house, and the guys were looking around. This aroused my suspicion, and I decided to call Gladkikh, assuming that they might be waiting for us. At that moment, the client drove into the yard. I entered through the gate, which is controlled by a remote control. When I came in, he didn't close them, leaving them ajar. We started a conversation about where and how exactly he wants to put the pool. However, he could not provide clear answers to these questions, and then I realized that his interests were not connected with the construction of the pool, but with some other intention. At that moment Gladkikh drove up,"  recalls Nesterenko.

Svatko then made several calls, and then Demchenko and two guys burst into the yard, moving decisively in their direction. At that moment, Svatko pressed the remote control and closed the gate.

I started asking Vitaly: 'Why was it necessary to arrange such a circus? You were asked if you know Demchenko.' To which he only said: 'And how else could you be dragged in here?' Coming closer to us, Demchenko and the guys did not even begin to talk: immediately shouts, accusations, and threats. And a point-blank shot in my leg. I immediately felt pain, fell down. At that moment, he started kicking, five or six times, in (my - Ed.) chest area. The second kept Gladkikh still with the words: 'Any movement and I'll kill you.' I tried to get up, but then a second shot rang out. He aimed at the head, but didn't hit, missed. I got up, and the muzzle of a gun was put in my eye with the words that my time had come. Shot, misfire, weapon jammed. Demchenko started yelling, they said, you don't know who you are dealing with: 'These guys killed police during Qantar, and they will kill you. You will regret having crossed my path again. I will teach you to respect yourself, Nesterenko said.

While one of the attackers was fussing with the jammed weapon, there was enough time to escape. Nesterenko had almost lost consciousness, but Gladkikh picked him up and led him to the gate. Surprisingly, Vitaly Svatko opened it.

As they were leaving the scene, someone shouted: "Don't call the police." Gladkikh, however, did not hesitate to do exactly that. Five minutes later, several police cars arrived at the scene.

Demchenko left in Svatko's car, the asians – in the Mercedes. When I called the police, I said the car number, make, and color on the phone. However, no one was detained in hot pursuit. I was taken to the regional hospital. I had a bullet in my leg, the surgeon just took it out, washed the wound, put two stitches and sent (me - Ed.) off with the words: 'You will go to the traumatologist tomorrow.' After that, I was operated on five more times because they did not properly provide medical care the first time,Nesterenko said.

 No Peace

Immediately after the bullet was removed, the businessman was taken to the police station to give them a statement. After several hours in the police station, Nesterenko's condition began to worsen due to his injury. At the hospital, he was not given any painkillers or antibiotics. The next day he found out that his ribs were broken and was hospitalized.

The entrepreneurs say that Svatko and Demchenko began to offer to hush up the "misunderstanding". This was done through different people such as Gladkikh’s classmate, whom he had not seen in several years.

The victims' lawyer received a proposal to botch the case for a million tenge. His refusal only resulted in the price jumping to five thousand dollars, however. These proposals brought about questions regarding the investigation’s conduct.

According to Nesterenko and Gladkikh, it got to the point that they were even searched for in a beauty salon where the spouse of one of the entrepreneurs goes. A man showed a photo of Nesterenko and persistently asked the staff to share his home address. The men began to fear for their families. One of them went as far as to take his family out of the country.

The Investigation

The case of the attack on businessmen, according to the victims' lawyer, Timur Umarov, is accompanied by a number of serious violations. Gladkikh was not immediately recognized as an affected party. And, although Nesterenko named the assailants’ license plates, no one was detained after the incident.

The process of determining the status of participants in the criminal case had been going on for a long time. Alexey Gladkikh was not recognized as an affected party at the beginning of the investigation. Only the intervention of the prosecutor contributed to the recognition of his status. Demchenko, the person who allegedly organized the attack, was initially a witness in the case with the right to defense. And then we had to go back to the prosecutor's office to change this status,  Umarov says.

The men and their lawyer feel as if someone is deliberately preventing the crime from being solved. Over the past two months, the team of investigators has changed three times.

The question is whether these blunders are intentional actions or whether it is due to a lack of professionalism among the police officers of the Turksib district. The lack of timely face-to-face questionings creates a situation in which it has become possible to put pressure on the victims. There was no obtaining of recordings from surveillance cameras, which entails the risk of their disappearance. To date, the ballistics examination has not been carried out. Time passes by, but all the participants in the crime have not been identified. Cell phone checks were also not carried out. This situation causes outrage, Umarov emphasizes.

Orda has applied for an official comment to the Almaty Police Department regarding this criminal case. However, at the time of publication, the request was not answered.

Successful Businessman

Open sources indicate that Alexey Demchenko is a successful businessman. He owns the company "ALEX TM" LLP, which is engaged in processing and preserving meat. In 2022, the company received a certificate for the manufacture of semi-finished products. The company has from 50 to 100 employees. It has been on the market for almost two years. Since 2022, it has paid more than 43 million tenge in taxes.

An Orda correspondent has contacted Demchenko to find out his version of events. However, he expressed bewilderment, claiming that the accusations are slander.

They cannot confirm these facts in any way – this is their fictional nonsense. So much time has passed since May, and if there were any serious circumstances, our law enforcement agencies would quickly resolve this issue. They probably just watched too many action movies. The constant change of testimony only undermines the seriousness of their version, even the investigators no longer believe them,  Demchenko said.

According to Demchenko, that day he came to visit his friend Vitaly Svatko. And there he ran into Nesterenko and Gladkikh. The man stressed that there were no conflicts or disagreements between them.

Regarding the attack and the shooting, he said only that he did not understand what had happened. According to him, the conflict occurred with two strangers, whom he had not seen before.

Demchenko was taken aback by the accusations against him and stressed that he had never intended to participate in any illegal actions against the entrepreneurs who accused him.

Orda's Editorial board will continue to monitor this situation.

Orignal Author:  Damira Augambayeva

DISCLAIMER: This is a translated piece. The text has been modified, the content is the same. Please refer to the original piece in Russian for accuracy.

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