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CORRUPTION

Same as the old boss: New deputy head of Russia’s Defence Ministry Oleg Savelyev conceals his wife — and her luxury properties

Russia’s new Defense Minister Andrei Belousov recently replaced longtime Putin confidante Sergei Shoigu in the post. But while the Belousov appointment was hailed by some as a signal that the Kremlin was preparing to clean up corruption in the military, it appears that the new boss is much the same as the old boss. One of Belousov’s top proteges is Oleg Savelyev, a former auditor for Russia’s Accounts Chamber who in May was appointed as deputy minister of defense. As The Insider has discovered, Savelyev hides his de facto wife from his income declaration — and with her, their expensive property holdings.

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Oleg Savelyev is familiar with the Ministry of Defense, having supervised Russia’s military and security agencies during his five years at the Accounts Chamber, the parliamentary body overseeing federal spending. Now, under new minister Andrei Belousov, Savelyev has been appointed to oversee the Defense Ministry's entire apparatus. Unlike his predecessor, former paratrooper Yuri Sadovenko, Savelyev lacks military experience. In the 1990s, he worked as a PR consultant for regional politicians, and from 2008 to 2014, he served as deputy head of the Ministry of Economic Development — a period that overlapped with Belousov’s tenure at that ministry.

Turkish Airlines tickets to Paris were booked in Anna Savelyeva's name in October 2022.

Savelyev applied for a digital pass for the vehicle during the COVID-19 quarantine in Moscow in 2020. The document allowed him to move around the city during the lockdown.

Oleg Savelyev's profile on the Russian Defense Ministry's official website
Oleg Savelyev's profile on the Russian Defense Ministry's official website

According to The Insider’s findings, Savelyev has a son and a daughter, both of whom avoid traveling to occupied Crimea — this despite their father’s previous role as head of the Crimean Affairs Ministry following Russia’s 2014 annexation of the peninsula. Instead, Anna Savelyeva, 22, vacationed in France after the full-scale invasion began. Although the deputy defense minister himself is under sanctions, his children continue to travel to NATO countries, seemingly intent on exploring the territory of a strategic adversary.

Turkish Airlines tickets to Paris were booked in Anna Savelyeva's name in October 2022.

Savelyev applied for a digital pass for the vehicle during the COVID-19 quarantine in Moscow in 2020. The document allowed him to move around the city during the lockdown.

Anna Savelyeva
Anna Savelyeva

Savelyev's son Ilya likes to spend time in another NATO country — he plays tennis and has taken part in several tournaments in Turkey.

Turkish Airlines tickets to Paris were booked in Anna Savelyeva's name in October 2022.

Savelyev applied for a digital pass for the vehicle during the COVID-19 quarantine in Moscow in 2020. The document allowed him to move around the city during the lockdown.

Ilya Savelyev
Ilya Savelyev

When Ilya turned 18 last year, he did not enter military service. Instead, father entrusted son with running the family business — at least nominally. Both Ilya and his sister, Anna Savelyeva, were signed on as owners of LLC “Arena” (ООО «Арена»), a small firm specializing in the production of prefabricated wooden buildings. The company brought in 2.2 million rubles (approximately $24,000) of revenue in 2023.

This business has clearly not been particularly lucrative for the official, with Savelyev's declared annual income averaging about 10 million rubles (just over $110,000), as per his income declarations. Notably, these documents omit any mention of a wife. However, The Insider uncovered her identity — along with a number of significantly larger assets.

Savelyev and his children are frequently accompanied on flights by a woman named Zhanna Demchishak, who is listed in the contacts of their acquaintances as “Ilya Savelyev's mum.” She is also registered in Moscow's “Posledniy Pereulok 3” residential complex — in an 84-square-meter apartment owned by Savelyev and his children.

Turkish Airlines tickets to Paris were booked in Anna Savelyeva's name in October 2022.

Savelyev applied for a digital pass for the vehicle during the COVID-19 quarantine in Moscow in 2020. The document allowed him to move around the city during the lockdown.

The 'Posledniy Pereulok 3' residential complex in Moscow
The 'Posledniy Pereulok 3' residential complex in Moscow

The Insider has identified property registered to Savelyev's undisclosed wife, Zhanna Demchishak. These include a plot of land and house in Sosnovy Bor in the Leningrad Region, a 106-square-meter apartment on Vasilievsky Island in St. Petersburg, and a 126-square-meter apartment on the top floor of Moscow's Karetny Plaza residential complex.

Turkish Airlines tickets to Paris were booked in Anna Savelyeva's name in October 2022.

Savelyev applied for a digital pass for the vehicle during the COVID-19 quarantine in Moscow in 2020. The document allowed him to move around the city during the lockdown.

The 'Karetny Plaza' residential complex in Moscow
The 'Karetny Plaza' residential complex in Moscow

The total value of this real estate exceeds 200 million rubles (approximately $2.26 million). Given that Demchishak reportedly earns less than 1.2 million rubles ($13,500) annually, it is unlikely that she could afford such luxury properties on her own. By omitting his de facto wife from his income declaration, Savelyev has effectively concealed the acquisition of these expensive assets.

Turkish Airlines tickets to Paris were booked in Anna Savelyeva's name in October 2022.

Savelyev applied for a digital pass for the vehicle during the COVID-19 quarantine in Moscow in 2020. The document allowed him to move around the city during the lockdown.

There is little doubt that the couple continues to maintain a joint household. This is further corroborated by the fact that the Russian Deputy Defense Minister drives Demchishak's Lexus.

When contacted by The Insider, Zhanna Demchishak hung up as soon as she heard the name “Savelyev” and did not answer the phone again.

Turkish Airlines tickets to Paris were booked in Anna Savelyeva's name in October 2022.

Savelyev applied for a digital pass for the vehicle during the COVID-19 quarantine in Moscow in 2020. The document allowed him to move around the city during the lockdown.

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