Alexander Vladimirovich Konovalov (Александр Владимирович Коновалов) was born June 9, 1968 in Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, to a family of a military seaman. From 1986 to 1988 he fulfilled mandatory service in the army. In 1992 he graduated from the Faculty of Law, St. Petersburg State University.
From 1992 to 2005 Konovalov worked in the Office of Public Prosecutor for St. Petersburg. In 1993 he was an assistant to the Public Prosecutor of the Vyborg region; in 1993-1994 he was examining magistrate for the same region. From 1994 to 1997 he was chief at the Department of the Municipal Office of the Public Prosecutor for the Supevision of Law Implementation on Federal Security. In 1997-1998 Konovalov served as deputy public prosecutor of the Moscow region of St. Petersburg, and then served as public prosecutor of the same region from 1998 to 2001. From 2001 to 2005 he was deputy, then First deputy of the Office of the Public Prosecutor for St. Petersburg.
As deputy public prosecutor of St. Petersburg Konovalov supervised investigatory divisions. He took part in the investigation of some sensational cases, including the case in April 2003 regarding the assault and battery of traffic police officer Alexei Popov by the Governor of Nenets Autonomous Region Vladimir Butov. In December 2004 the Petrograd Regional court of St. Petersburg gave the governor a conditional sentence of 3 years' imprisonment. Furthermore, in the same month Butov was denied the possibility to run for the post as head of Nenets region for a third term. In January 2005 Konovalov ceased criminal prosecution against president of the meat corporation Euroservice Konstantin Mirilashvili who was accused of abduction and murder.
At the same time as his committments at the Office of the Public Prosecutor, Konovalov was a lecturer on civil and Roman law in St. Petersburg State University; in 1999 he defended his Ph.D thesis for the Kandidat of Jurisprudence on the theme "Possession and Possessory Protection in Civil law."
From February to November 2005, under the order of General Public Prosecutor of Russia Vladimir Ustinov Konovalov was appointed Chief Public Prosecutor for the Republic of Bashkortostan.
As Chief Prosector for Bashkiria, Konovalov supervised the investigation of mass beatings of citizens by police officers and Special Purpose Police Squad units (OMON) in the city of Blagoveshchensk in December 2004. In April 2005 only eight police officers were brought to court over the incidents as, according to Konovalov, "a substantial number of members of the police force, in particular members of the OMON who, for the most part injured citizens, could not be identified." This was the case as they conducted this "heroic act [wearing] masks." Media sources noted that as a result of the prosecutor's examination the chief of the Ministry of the Interior (MVD) of Bashkiria Rafal Divaev was not removed from office, in spite of legal experts calling for his resignation.
Aside from the "Blagoveshchensk Affair", Konovalov supervised the case regarding the examination of the legality of the privatization of the Bashkir Fuel and Energy Complex (TEK). In 1993 under the decree of the Republic's president Murtaza Rakhimov a large section of the complex has been concentrated in the holding company Bashneftekhim, an action carried out by the company Bashkir Capital and supervised by the son of the Bashkir leader Ural Rakhimov. The Audit Chamber of the Russian Federation considered this privatization scheme to be an unprecedented case of embezzlement of assets belonging to federal property.
In August 2005 the Russian holding company Sistema headed by business oligarch Vladimir Yevtushenko informed of their purchase of 502 million US dollars’ worth in shares of a number of oil enterprises from Bashkir Capital. The following month Konovalov announced to media representatives that the Office of the Public Prosecutor has no prospects in reversing these agreements through the courts and thus returning the holdings to the republic’s state property. After this announcement, the case regarding the legality of the privatization of Bashkir TEK was dropped.
On November 14, 2005 Konovalov was appointed as the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Volga Federal District (PFO), replacing the outgoing Sergei Kirienko, who would in turn become head of the Federal Agency for Atomic Energy (Rosatom). The decision to appoint Konovalov was accepted at a meeting of the Russian President Vladimir Putin with members of the government. Other changes in personnel were announced at this meeting: the chairman of the Presidential Staff Dmitry Medvedev was made First Deputy Prime Minister and head of the commission responsible for the implementation of national projects; the governor of the Tymen Region Sergei Sobyanin was named in Medvedev’s place; the defense minister Sergei Ivanov received the rank of Deputy Prime Minister in addition to his ministerial portfolio; moreover, the Mayor of Kazan Kamil Iskhakov was appointed in the place of Presidential Plenipotentiary for the Far East Federal Area Konstantin Pulikovskiy.
Observers noted that before Konovalov replaced Kirienko, the latter announced that he had fulfilled his mission to the PFO (in 2000 he stressed that Putin entrusted him to develop for the area a model of governance which could be implemented henceforth for the whole of Russia). Such observers assumed that the appointment of Konovalov was connected with certain plans from Moscow on paving the way for new leaders in governing the country. The observers believed that in the long term the plenipotentiary could become the head of Bashkiria instead of Rakhimov.
Konovalov was embroiled in a scandal during the Russia Day celebrations of June 12, 2005 in the Volga Federal District. The head of the Directorate on Islamic Faith of Nizhegorod Region (DUMNO) Umar Idrisov accused the plenipotentiary of discrimination of muslims in favor of the Russian Orthodox Church (RPTs). More specifically, Idrisov reproached Konovalov for not inviting him to the Russia Day celebrations, having already invited local Orthodox hierarch Georgiy to attend the festivities. Media sources noted that Konovalov did not give a public statement in reaction to Idrisov’s comments but would begin to be more attentive to the Muslim community in the region than before. Konovalov would to go on to attend a session of the Russia – the Islamic World Symposium; moreover, he would declare that “Islamic tradition is a very important and undeniable factor in a stable and happy existence for mankind.”
On May 12th, 2008 under the new government headed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Konovalov was made Minister for Justice, replacing the outgoing Vladimir Ustinov.
Konovalov has the rank of senior justice adviser within the branches of the Ministry of Justice of Russia. He is a member of the Security Council of Russia and of the Presidential Council for Implementation of the National Priority Projects and of Demographic Policy. He is the author of two monographs and twenty articles on civil law. He is also a candidate for the Master of Sport in Rowing.
The Ministry for Justice of the Russian Federation, Webpage (In Russian)