When the Russians capture a Ukrainian city, one of the first things they do is theft of grain from the storage. The example below illustrates who does it and why.
The Russians had already committed genocide against Ukrainians in 1932-1933, when the Soviet authorities in the ethnic borders of Ukraine expropriated grain from the farmers and sold it abroad. As a result of this crime, about 5 million Ukrainians died. Almost 100 years later, the Kremlin is repeating this crime.
Currently, the Russians are once again taking grain from elevators and directly from the Ukrainian farmers. Farmers should agree to receive a low fixed price per metric ton, about $50-$70, compared to $300+ market price. If a deal is not struck peacefully, the grain is “nationalized.” Then the grain is shipped to Russian or Crimean ports where they are exported on several ships with further reloading and transshipment.
In each occupied region, there is a person responsible for the fulfillment of the grain delivery from the population. Today we will talk about one of them, Oleksandr Molokov, who is responsible for collecting, which is in fact stealing, grain in the occupied Kamianka-Dniprovska Raion of Zaporizhia region (located next to the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant).
As the Russians do not have legitimate power, the heads of the raions are appointed by the invaders. In most cases, they are brought from Russia or the previously occupied Crimea or the separatist-held Luhansk and Donetsk.
The case of Oleksandr Molokov is interesting because the Russians themselves sentenced him to 4 years in prison for corruption in 2018. At that time, he led the Housing and Communal Services Department in the occupied settlement of Alushta in Crimea.
He was arrested in 2016 and charged with receiving a bribe for hiring a specific construction company that built a local kindergarten. The court found Molokov guilty. He served in jail and then prison from 2016 to 2020. He was banned from holding public positions for 7 years, and this term did not expire.
But, as we can see, this sentence does not apply to the administration of Ukrainian grain theft. It’s outside the Russian legislation, at least for now. This story speaks eloquently about the recruiting of administrators for the occupied territory of Ukraine. This dishonorable service commutes the crimes for people who are already on the hook of law enforcement agencies. Making these types of Russians war criminals atone for their past sins.
Hence, it’s not surprising that the Russian military and occupation authorities commit war crimes and implicate themselves in acts of egregious crimes in Ukraine, both on the battlefield and on the territory that they capture.