Sergey Aksyonov

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The Honourable
Sergey Aksyonov
Сергей Аксёнов
Sergey Aksyonov (2018).jpg
Head of the Republic of Crimea
Assumed office
9 October 2014
Acting: 14 April 2014 – 9 October 2014
President Vladimir Putin
Chairman Vladimir Konstatinov
Preceded by Office established
17th Prime Minister of Crimea
Assumed office
17 March 2014
President Vladimir Putin
Deputy Rustam Temirgaliev
Preceded by Anatolii Mohyliov
Member of the Supreme Council of Crimea
In office
31 October 2010 – March 15, 2014
Personal details
Born Sergey Valeryevich Aksyonov
(1972-11-26) 26 November 1972 (age 45)
Bălți, Soviet Union
(now Moldova)
Political party Russian Unity (2008–2014)
United Russia (since 2014)
Children 2

Sergey Valeryevich Aksyonov (Russian: Сергей Валерьевич Аксёнов, Ukrainian: Сергій Валерійович Аксьонов, Romanian: Serghei Valerievici Aksionov; born November 26, 1972) is the Head and Prime Minister of the Republic of Crimea,[1] which is an internationally disputed federal subject of the Russian Federation located on the Crimean Peninsula.


Sergey Aksyonov was born in Bălți in the Moldavian SSR on November 26, 1972. His father was the leader of a group called the Russian Community of Northern Moldova in Bălți.[2][3]

In 1989, he moved to Crimea and enrolled in a college for military engineers in Simferopol; however, the fall of the Soviet Union occurred before he could graduate from the academy to become a Soviet Army officer. He then refused to swear an oath of allegiance to Ukraine, which he considered 'an unjustly severed appendage of Russia'.[2][4]

From 1993 to 1998, he was deputy director of a company named Ellada, a business related to food products.[5][4] From October 1998 to March 2001, he was deputy director of the Asteriks company and since April 2001 he has been deputy director of the Eskada company.[4] Aksyonov is also the head of Crimea's Greco-Roman wrestling organization, Sports club Hwarang-do.[6][4] Aksyonov received his Ukrainian passport on August 12, 1997.[4]

Alleged links to organized crime[edit]

Sources have alleged that Aksyonov served in the mid 1990s as a lieutenant, or overseer, with the nickname "Goblin"[7][8][9][10][4] in the organized criminal gang "Salem".[11][4] Aksyonov's connection with the criminal world is acknowledged by the former chief of militsiya in Crimea, Hennadiy Moskal (1997-2000). In 1995, some members of Salem had taken office as local deputies, receiving Legislative immunity.[12][13][14][15] “Aksyonov used to work side-by-side with another gang member, Serhiy Voronkov, in the early 1990s. Voronkov is a well-known mafia boss who was released from prison in 2008 and is still doing business in Crimea," said Andrei Yanitskiy, a journalist of Livy Bereh newspaper who investigated Aksyonov.[16] A native of Sevastopol,[17] Yanitskiy alleges that Aksyonov is still a member of the Salem gang.[16]

According to Mikhelson, Aksyonov started his criminal career in the gang "Greki" (Greeks)[4] that was created in Crimea by the Savopulo brothers,[4] and only later Aksyonov switched to more notorious "Salem".[4] In 1994, authorities were suspecting him and Aleksey Zhuk in the killing of Oleg Fenyuk through a contract.[4] Although the Greki were liquidated, unlike many others Aksyonov managed to survive.[4] The same Zhuk was killed 10 minutes after his phone talk with Aksyonov, which raised suspicions among the former "partners".[4]

In January 1996, Aksyonov was wounded after a Volvo in which he was riding overturned on the Simferopol-Moscow highway () during a shootout.[16][4] According to official documents, the intended target was Samhan Mazahir-oglu Agaev (nicknamed "Sani").[4] Beside Agaev and Aksyonov, Aleksandr Bogomol and Pahrutdin Aliev were also in the vehicle.[4] The hit was conducted with automatic weapons by militants of the Greki gang Ruslan and Rusel from Yevpatoria who were driving a black Samara.[4] The hit was contracted by Ivan Savopulo.[4] Both Ruslan and Rusel were arrested on January 24, 1996, but were released due to lack of evidence.[4]

In 1997, the chief of Bakhchysarai patrolling unit Berezhnoi claimed that Aksyonov, with a former Major of militsiya, Vladimir Berenshtein ("Ben"), killed a chief of the Crimea network of heat supply Kuzin and a director of an alcoholic factory.[4] A HUBOZ operative stated that Aksyonov kept close relations with Sergei Voronkov ("Voronok") and the "godfather" of Salem Vyacheslav Sheviev[4] (leader of Party of Economic Revival). Coincidentally, members of the Party of Economic Revival were involved in the establishing of the Azerbaijani separatist organization Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

Around that time, Aksyonov started to buy and stockpile weapons.[4] There is suspicion that the regional office of General Prosecutor of Ukraine received $60,000 to discontinue the investigation into the murder of Volodymyr Tykhonchuk.[4] Aksyonov also received all the assets of Agaev who was killed in the spring of 1997.[4] By 1998, both Salem and Bashmaki had become the most powerful gangs in Crimea and the President of Ukraine was forced to send special operations units of militsiya and the Security Service of Ukraine to restore order in the region.[4]

Aksyonov sued Mikhail Bakharev, Vice Speaker of the Crimean Parliament in 2010, for alleging such improprieties. Although the court of the original jurisdiction ruled for Aksyonov and demanded that Bakharev publish a retraction, the decision was overturned by an appellate court which determined that there was no evidence to disprove the allegations.[18] Andriy Senchenko, a Crimean member of Verkhovna Rada from Batkivshchyna party alleged that Aksyonov was involved in these activities together with Supreme Council Chairman, Vladimir Konstantinov.[12][19][20][21] Senchenko alleges that “there were reports that he participated in the contract killing of (Volodymyr) Tykhonchuk [in 2004], then head of Crimean State Securities Commission, and before that in the killing of head of State Property Fund (Oleksiy) Golovizin [in 1997].”[16] Aksyonov was investigated by the police for both murders, but has never been prosecuted. Senchenko believes Aksyonov managed to evade criminal responsibility due to his connections on the peninsula.[16]

During the armed occupation of the Crimean parliament by Russian forces under his command, Aksyonov was voted into office following a vote of no confidence in the new Ukrainian government.[22][23][2] Already having well documented links to organized crime, since March 5, 2014, he has been wanted by the Ukrainian Security Service after being charged under Part 1 of Article 109 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine ("Actions aimed at the violent overthrow, change of constitutional order, or the seizure of state power").[24]

Political career[edit]

Aksyonov was granted Russian citizenship as a resident of Moldova on January 10, 2003.[25]

In 2008, he became a member of the "Russian Community of Crimea" ("Русская община Крыма") and a member of public organisation "Civic Asset of Crimea" ("Гражданский актив Крыма").

Kirilchuk states that in 2008-2009, Aksyonov borrowed almost $5 million from Mykola Kirilchuk, a former Crimean Minister of Industry, to develop the Russian Unity party. Kirilchuk has since fled Crimea and has been trying to get his money back though the court system.[16] Since 2009, he has been a member of the board in Гражданский актив Крыма, co-president of Coordinating Council "За русское единство в Крыму!" ("For Russian Unity in Crimea!"), and leader of the all-Crimean public political movement Russian Unity ("Русское единство").[citation needed]

Since 2010, he has been a deputy of the Supreme Council of Crimea, elected as a member of Russian Unity, which had 4% of votes (warranting 3 seats of total 100 in Crimean parliament) during elections into Supreme Council of Crimea.[26]

During a talk show on the TV channel ATR on March 3, 2012, Aksyonov commented about a possible accession of Crimea to Russia: "I think the time for this process has already passed. Today we live in Ukraine. I have an Ukrainian passport, Ukrainian citizenship, so all problems should be discussed only in friendly relations between our countries".[27]

Prime minister of Crimea[edit]

Following the Ukrainian revolution, on February 27 an emergency session was held in the Crimean legislature while it was occupied by members of Crimea’s self-defense forces.[2] After sealing the doors and confiscating all mobile phones, the MPs who had been invited by Aksyonov to enter the building, passed the motion in the presence of the gunmen armed with Kalashnikov's and rocket launchers.[2][16][28][29] The result was that 55 of 64 votes elected Aksyonov Prime Minister.[30] Various media accounts have disputed whether he was able to gather a quorum of 50 of his peers before the session convened that day, and some Crimean legislators who were registered as present have said they did not come near the building.[2] Others denied being in the city, and that duplicate voting cards stolen from the Parliament's safe were used in their name.[31] Opposition deputies have avoided speaking out publicly out of fear of reprisal, due to threats received.[31] Crimean Prime Minister Anatolii Mohyliov was barred from attending the session.[31]

Under the Ukrainian constitution, the Prime Minister of Crimea is appointed by the autonomous republic's parliament following consultations with the President of Ukraine. The Director of the Information Analysis department of the legislature's secretariat, Olha Sulnikova, has stated that an agreement exists with ousted president Viktor Yanukovych.[28] The interim President of Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchynov decreed the appointment of Aksyonov as the head of the government of Crimea to be unconstitutional.[32][33]

On March 5, 2014, the Shevchenko district court of Kiev issued a warrant for Aksyonov and Vladimir Konstantinov's arrest,[34] and the Security Service of Ukraine was charged to bring them to court.[34]

Due to the Crimean crisis, on March 17, 2014, he was put on Canadian, EU and US[35] sanction lists; his assets in these countries were frozen, and Aksyonov was banned from entering these countries.

In the 2014 Crimean parliamentary election, Aksyonov ran as a candidate for United Russia because, according to himself, "The Popular Front" had delegated him to the United Russia party list.[36]

Domestic policy[edit]

Aksyonov has promised that Ukrainian would cease to be an official language if Crimea joined Russia. “We use two languages on a daily basis – Russian and Crimean Tatar,” Aksyonov said. “It’s certain that the republic [of Crimea] will have two languages.”[29] Aksyonov's main goals for the immediate future of Crimea is to "use the funds, allocated for construction of infrastructures, for healthcare, energy and so on."[37] Aksyonov has also pushed for the Crimean Bridge to be completed by 2018.[38]

Crimean Tatar minority[edit]

Sergey Aksyonov has led efforts to stamp out dissent among ethnic Crimean Tatars over the annexation, saying “All activities aimed at non-recognition of Crimea’s joining to Russia and non-recognition of the leadership of the country will face prosecution under the law and we will take a very tough stance on this.”[39]


Aksyonov says homosexuals "have no chance" in Crimea, and that "we in Crimea do not need such people." He also promised that if gays tried to hold public gatherings, "our police and self-defense forces will react immediately and in three minutes will explain to them what kind of sexual orientation they should stick to."[40]


  1. ^ "Crimean Parliament Dismisses Cabinet and Sets Date for Autonomy Referendum". The Moscow Times. February 27, 2014. Retrieved February 27, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Putin's Man in Crimea Is Ukraine's Worst Nightmare". Time. Before dawn on Feb. 27, at least two dozen heavily armed men stormed the Crimean parliament building and the nearby headquarters of the regional government, bringing with them a cache of assault rifles and rocket propelled grenades. A few hours later, Aksyonov walked into the parliament and, after a brief round of talks with the gunmen, began to gather a quorum of the chamber’s lawmakers. 
  3. ^;_ylt=AwrTWfw4mR5TJkwAvhbQtDMD
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Mikhelson, A. Under nickname Goblin: who was ordered to hand over Crimea to Putin. Ukrayinska Pravda. 15 March 2014
  5. ^ Откровения Сергея Аксёнова: «Четверка граждан» нанесла Крыму ущерб не меньший, чем при развале советской власти Archived 2014-02-27 at
  6. ^ De Waal, Thomas (6 March 2014). "The Novel That Explains Putin's Crimean Land Grab". Politico. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  7. ^ Associated Press (Mar 9, 2014). "The 'Goblin' king: Crimea leader's shady past". The Japan Times. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
  8. ^ Haddon, Katherine (11 March 2014). "New Putin-Backed Prime Minister In Crimea Used To Be A Gangster Named 'Goblin'". Agence France Presse. Business Insider. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
  9. ^ Leader of the Crimean militsyia Moskal cooperates with the leader of organized crime group Aksyonov - attorney information. Crimean Information Agency. 2 November 2009
  10. ^ "Prime Minister of Crimea" is elected a bandit who in 1990s had a nickname "Goblin" - Senchenko. 27 February 2014
  11. ^ Ilya Somin (2014-03-07). "Crimea and the morality of secession". Washington Post. 
  12. ^ a b "Meet 'Goblin' — Moscow's man in Crimea". Toronto Star/Metro News. March 4, 2014. 
  13. ^ Roman Sohn (March 3, 2014). "Ukraine: The Empire strikes back". EU Observer. 
  14. ^ Oleg Shirokov (2009-09-24). "Salem as a Symbol of Criminality in Crimea". Salem News. 
  15. ^ "(paywalled source)". Agatov.  cites documents:[1][2][3]
  16. ^ a b c d e f g "Pro-Kremlin Crimean leader Aksyonov denies allegations of criminal past". Kyiv Post. 15 March 2014. 
  17. ^ Yanitsky profile at the LB.
  18. ^ "Аксенов не смог доказать свою непричастность к ОПГ и проиграл суд Бахареву". Crimean Information Agency. June 10, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Премьером Крыма выбрали бандита по кличке Гоблин, — Сенченко". Izvestia. March 4, 2014. Retrieved March 4, 2014. 
  20. ^ Премьер по кличке "Гоблин" Radio Svoboda, March 4, 2014
  21. ^ "Депутат Андрей Сенченко: комсомол – "Сейлем" - парламент". Cripo. 2008-04-18. 
  22. ^ Crimean parliament dismisses autonomous republic's government Kyiv Post Retrieved on March 12, 2013
  23. ^ "Gunmen Seize Government Buildings in Crimea". The New York Times. 2014-02-27. Retrieved 2014-03-01. Masked men with guns seized government buildings in the capital of Ukraine's Crimea region on Thursday, barricading themselves inside and raising the Russian flag after mysterious overnight raids that appeared to be the work of militant Russian nationalists who want this volatile Black Sea region ruled from Moscow. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ About granting a citizenship of the Russian Federation. Ukase of the President of Russian Federation. 10 January 2003.
  26. ^ [4] Who is Sergey Aksyonov
  27. ^ (in Ukrainian) Users find videos, Aksenov looks like campaigning for the unity of Ukraine, (3 April 2015)
  28. ^ a b
  29. ^ a b "Preparations for Joining Russia Already Underway – Aksyonov". RIA. 
  30. ^ Депутат: Крымский премьер известен в криминальных кругах как "Гоблин"
  31. ^ a b c "RPT-INSIGHT-How the separatists delivered Crimea to Moscow". Reuters. March 13, 2014. 
  32. ^ Турчинов издал указ о незаконности назначения Аксенова премьером Крыма
  33. ^ (in Ukrainian) The new prime minister is the leader of Russian Unity, Ukrayinska Pravda (27 February 2014)
  34. ^ a b The court gave the green light to arrest "puppets of Putin" in Crimea. Ukrayinska Pravda. March 5, 2014
  35. ^ Logiurato, Brett (17 March 2014). "Obama Just Announced Sanctions Against 7 Russian 'Cronies'". Business Insider. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  36. ^
  37. ^ "Crimean adaptation into Russia not smooth — republic's leader". TASS. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  38. ^ "Kerch Strait Bridge to be built despite Western pressure — Crimean leader". ITAR TASS. Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  39. ^ "Despair and euphoria in Crimea six months after Russian annexation". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  40. ^

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Anatolii Mohyliov
Prime Minister of Crimea
Preceded by
Position established
Head of Government of the Republic of Crimea