What the chief nephrologist of St. Petersburg hid for 11 years about the death of his wife

Doctor Alexander Zemchenkov admitted his involvement in the death of his first wife, giving the investigation practically the only chance to solve the case, which was initiated back in 2010. There was no cold-blooded murder, he says, just a coincidence. This was reported by “Fontanka”.

11 years ago, Zemchenkov put forward a different version – at about 8 am on February 23rd, he and his wife had a little quarrel, and at about 11 o’clock she gathered on her day off at the Snegirev maternity hospital to visit patients. Zemchenkova left, but forgot the phone, at this time her husband called his daughter from him. Then the owner allegedly returned to pick up the phone and took it, but the phone was soon turned off.

CCTV footage was examined with a delay. But on none of them Dr. Zemchenkova was captured. The way to work from Chapygin Street ran through the busy Kamennoostrovsky Prospekt and the metro. Then two key recordings were missing – from cameras near the arch with a barrier and on the building of a kindergarten in the courtyard of the Zemchenkovs’ house. They turned out to be overwritten – the shelf life simply expired.

Zemchenkov explained his daughter’s call from his wife’s phone by the fact that the receiver was simply at hand. The eldest daughter, Catherine, then said that dad was interested in when the children would return home.

Doctor Zemchenkova had a tradition: every morning she called her father, Gennady Kononov. But that day, at about eight o’clock, for some reason, his son-in-law called him and said that Irina was asleep and it was better not to bother her. The second time Zemchenkov talked with his father-in-law in the afternoon, then the version was already heard that Irina was at work, and he was walking with the children, but he could not call them on the phone – they ran too far. Later Kononov found out that in fact the granddaughters were at the dacha of friends. Zemchenkov admitted that he had lied, but explained it by concern.

The family was intensely looking for the missing, the whole district was in the portraits of Zemchenkova. A month later, the program “Wait for Me” aired a story about the disappeared doctor. “We do not understand at all how this could have happened. In broad daylight, in a big city, in one of the central districts, ”shared a close friend of Dr. Nelly Varayun. She was one of the last people to see Zemchenkova. On the eve of their disappearance, they went to the theater. Varayun then noted that they had a fun evening and that there were no serious problems in her friend’s life.

It turned out that, apart from a quarrel with his spouse, about which he himself told, no one had any motives for the murder or disappearance of the famous obstetrician-gynecologist. Gennady Kononov said in the story that the husband of the disappeared until six in the morning of the next day had visited almost all city hospitals, “but found nothing.” “We really hope, we really believe that helping the audience of such a program as” Wait for Me “will give us additional chances, additional faith that at least we will receive some information, albeit the smallest, but giving us a chance, the path of search, the path of expectation, the path of hope, “Alexander Zemchenkov himself said on the air of Channel One.

The application for “Wait for me” still hangs on the program’s website. Its author is Alexander Zemchenkov. He also reported to the police that his wife was missing.

In addition to the surveillance cameras that were not seized in time, the investigation 11 years ago was in no hurry with searches. They came to the apartment two months later, then they examined the car, and appeared at the dacha a month later. Investigators told the family that they had to prepare for the worst and the body would be found when the snow melted. “We worked out three versions of what happened: the crime was committed on the professional grounds of the victim and her husband; by an unidentified person for mercenary motives or a close relative. However, due to the non-operational work of the police officers at the initial stage of the investigation, we were unable to collect the necessary evidence base and establish the involvement of Irina Zemchenkova’s husband (or other persons) in her disappearance. When the case came to the UK, it was no longer possible to receive a recording from a CCTV camera located opposite Irina’s entrance,

As the Investigative Committee told on April 1, 2021, Zemchenkov killed his wife in February 2010. The reason was “a quarrel, which arose on the basis of personal hostile relations.”

After the arrest, the nephrologist did not admit his guilt, and, as Fontanka knows, he was nervous, demanding that journalists come to court for a measure of restraint. In the isolation ward, the doctor was given time to think over the situation, and after a day and a half he confessed.

The change in mood also affected the thirst for communication with the press. He was taken to the courthouse for the election of a measure of restraint through a dark arch, driving a convoy car into the courtyard – although the rest of the suspects and accused in the Oktyabrsky District Court did not receive such an honor. Only three TV channels were allowed to attend the meeting, the consideration of the petition was eventually postponed to the next day: the lawyer, who also did not comment on the case, will collect documents characterizing the personality of the nephrologist.

“Fontanka” knows the picture that Zemchenkov described to the investigation. With the story, he set the direction for Article 109 of the Criminal Code – supposedly the death was accidental. Swearing on a holiday in February 11 years ago was in a raised voice. Irina allowed herself rudeness, Alexander could not restrain himself and pushed his wife. The fragile woman fell, hit her head and died almost immediately. Zemchenkov preferred to hide the death of his wife and present everything as if she had disappeared. I got rid of the body by cutting it into pieces. According to the associate professor, he took them to the trash cans. As Fontanka knows, in this part the investigation has doubts about the veracity of the assistant professor’s words. The version is not excluded that the body was taken to the regional forests.

According to Fontanka, the murder took place against the background of Zemchenkov’s love. Some time after the disappearance of his wife, he sold the car he acquired in his first marriage and remarried. Zemchenkov’s new wife Anastasia has known him at least since 2004. Then he took the position of assistant professor of the Department of Internal Medicine and Nephrology at the Mechnikov Medical University. Anastasia also worked there at that time. Now she is the head of the St. Petersburg branch of a private clinic, her professional area is dialysis. She left Fontanka’s questions unanswered and closed the page on the social network.

Doctor Zemchenkova helped many Petersburgers to be born. Her patients still thank the doctor in the missing person’s help group on their children’s birthdays. By April 1, this community was also closed. Friends and relatives refrained from communicating with Fontanka.

The question of the disappearance of his daughter continued to torment her father. Gennady Kononov, Doctor of Science, Professor, was the rector of the Leningrad Veterinary Institute. The media wrote that Dr. Zemchenkova went to medicine thanks to her father. Soon after the disappearance, Kononov’s wife died, the professor himself almost completely lost his hearing. On December 8, 2020, he managed to get a personal meeting with the head of the Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, and the proceedings were resumed.

As he previously told “Fontanka” – if the son-in-law is guilty, let him be jailed, but the investigation did not work out all possible versions. News of the detention of Zemchenkov threw the pensioner off balance. As far as our publication knows, now he does not believe that he has caught exactly the one whom the professor so wanted to find for the last 11 years.

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