The history of the formation of the political and economic elite in the Sverdlovsk region

Garabed Basmajan

Was born on December 20, 1947 in Jerusalem (Israel).

In 1966-1970. studied ancient Armenian languages in Yerevan (Armenian SSR). Received higher education. He was a member of the circle of Armenian poets.

While studying at the University of Yerevan, he met an Armenian, Varvara, who was a French citizen. They subsequently got married.

In 1972 he moved to live in France.

He opened a gallery of Russian art in Paris at the address: Boulevard Raspail, 90. The gallery exhibited and sold canvases of both eminent Russian painters, included in the world anthology, and young Soviet artists. The idea of opening such a gallery came from the artists Yuri Kuperman (emigrated from the USSR in 1972) and Kirill Doron (emigrated in the early 1980s). Where Basmajan took the money to create the gallery is not reported anywhere. In the memoirs of his acquaintances, it is indicated that he was a relatively poor person and suddenly somehow became rich.

Since at that time the legal export of Soviet works of art was prohibited, it was assumed that Basmajan resorted to the help of employees of Soviet diplomatic mis-sions, the foreign intelligence of the KGB of the USSR, as well as Jews, who in the 1970s were given the opportunity to leave the USSR for permanent residence for border. A significant part of the works exhibited in the gallery were works written by Soviet emigrants.

A regular visitor to the Basmajan Gallery in Paris was the cultural adviser to the USSR Ambassador to France Borisov Yuri Vasilyevich, the author of several scientific works on the history of Soviet-French relations. In 1983, 47 Soviet diplomats were expelled from France, including Yuri Borisov, who was suspected of organizing the supply of weapons to Africa.

It should be noted that in 1985, the former first secretary of the Sverdlovsk regional committee of the CPSU, Yakov Ryabov, was appointed ambassador of the USSR to France.

With the beginning of "Rebuilding", the USSR, within the framework of the policy of "openness and openness", opened its arms to a wide display in the country of the cultural values of the Soviet people that ended up abroad. And if possible, then the return of these values to the country. In April 1988, in Paris, Basmajan and the USSR Ministry of Culture, represented by the head of the Fine Arts and Monument Protection Department, Genrikh Popov, signed an agreement on the exhibiting of works from the Basmajan collection in the USSR. The agreement stated that "the exhibition is being organized with the aim of the possible acquisition of works from the aforementioned collection by Soviet museums", and also that "the works of Soviet artists acquired by G. Basmadzhyan, but which are currently on the territory of the USSR, will be included in the exhibition as part of the the terms of this agreement ". It was assumed that Basmajan tried in this way to establish a corridor for the legal export of his acquisitions from the Union. Outside of the written agreement, there was a verbal agreement that Basmajan would donate several works of art to Soviet museums.

In 1988, an artist from Sverdlovsk Brusilovsky Mikhail Shaukatovich (Misha Shaevich) met Basmajan. There are several versions of how this happened. In one of his interviews, Brusilovsky said that Basmajan saw slides of his works at one of his acquaintances, after which he sent a letter with a proposal to organize an exhibition of Brusilovsky's works in Paris. In a published letter to one of his acquaintances, Brusilovsky claims that he was introduced to Basmajan by his wife Valentina Brusilovskaya, who immigrated to Israel in the 1970s, but maintained relations with Mikhail Brusilovsky. In addition, there is information that in the 1970s Brusilovsky painted a repetition of one of his works in Paris and sold it for a significant amount through the Basmajan gallery.

Ultimately, Basmajan invited Brusilovsky to organize an exhibition of his works in Paris in his own gallery. Brusilovsky agreed.

Once again Basmajan flew to the USSR on July 24, 1989 at the invitation of the Ministry of Culture. On July 29, Basmajan left the hotel to meet with his acquaintances and never returned. The Metropolitan Prosecutor's Office opened a criminal case into the disappearance of the collector. The most powerful investigative group at that time was created from the employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the KGB and the prosecutor's office. It was headed by the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Colonel-General Trushin. Six months later, the French police joined the investigation, since Basmajan was a French citizen.

One of the main suspects was Alex Taim (aka Oleg Azmakov, aka Alik Magadan). The Russian special services did not rule out that this criminal "authority", together with other influential mafiosi, intended to force Basmajan to "share". However, they went overboard with the "given arguments". At that time, insufficient evidence of this version was collected, and Taim was released. As of 2012, the case of Basmajan's disappearance had not been solved.

In the course of the investigation, facts began to be revealed that Basmajan secretly bought antiques and paintings in the USSR and illegally exported them to Europe with the complicity of criminal structures. It was suggested that Basmajan was also associated with the KGB of the USSR. One of Basmajan's accomplices in the late 1980s was Alexander Adamovich, who sold computer equipment brought by Basmajan from abroad to the USSR, and the proceeds were used to buy Soviet works of art, antiques, icons that Basmajan exported to France. In the course of one of the investigations, it was allegedly found that a group of artists worked for Adamovich and Basmajan, who forged the works of famous masters from Soviet museums, after which the originals were secretly taken abroad by Basmajan. Adamovich died of a heart attack in May 1989, shortly before the disappearance of Basmajan himself. It was assumed that Basmajan arrived in the USSR in July 1989 to find a replacement for the late Adamovich.

According to Brusilovsky in an interview, the exhibition in Paris was postponed from summer to autumn 1989 due to the disappearance of Basmajan. Basmajan's affairs in his absence continued to be dealt with by his sister, Vartuk (Vartui). However, from Brusilovsky's correspondence with friends in June 1989 , it follows that Basmajan originally intended to open the exhibition in the fall. The gallery acquired 50 paintings by Brusilovsky. This was done officially through the USSR Ministry of Culture.

There is the following interesting moment in the biography of Brusilovsky. In 1944, in Kiev, at the age of thirteen, Brusilovsky, in his own words, received the patronage of a criminal authority named Cat, who helped Brusilovsky enter a boarding school for gifted children. Brusilovsky noted that the Cat was red-haired. Garabed Basmajan was also red-haired. It is known that some Basmadzhans lived in Kiev at that time, and later one of the families with the name Basmadzhyan settled in Sverdlovsk. Moreover, the ancestors of this family came from a place called Kotyanka in the vicinity of Khartsyzsk, Donetsk region of the Ukrainian SSR. As a semi-fantastic hypothesis, it can be assumed that the Kiev romantic bandit named Cat, who gave a start in the creative life of Mikhail Brusilovsky, was a relative of the French gallerist Garabed Basmajan, and the direct descendants of the Cat subsequently lived in Sverdlovsk. But this hypothesis has not yet been confirmed.

In the early 1990s, Mikhail Brusilovsky met with the Sverdlovsk art collector Yevgeny Roizman, who became a famous public figure in the 2000s, and in 2013 was elected head of Yekaterinburg. Evgeny Roizman, convicted in the 1980s, was associated with some leaders of the Center and Uralmash organized crime groups. It should be noted that the Russian crime boss Leonid Bilunov, also a great lover of arts and antiques, was closely associated with the Sverdlovsk organized criminal group "Center", who in the 1990s moved to France for permanent residence. In relation to Roizman and people from his inner circle, suspicions were expressed of fraudulent actions with icons, however, in the criminal cases initiated, Roizman was only a witness.