Tambov govermor asked to pass case defaming him to court
An audio recording of the official’s conversation with a law-enforcer was made public.
The Governor of the Tambov region, Alexander Nikitin, seems to be in the center of a scandal - Dozhd TV channel published quite an interesting conversation between the Head of the region and the regional prosecutor.
In the audio recording, according to the channel, Nikitin asks the law enforcer to “coordinate” the transfer of a criminal case on his defamation to court.
“It is my request, personal. We protect housing equity holders, we protect citizens on wage issues. I ask ... we have one criminal case, which concerns my own honor and dignity. It, the criminal case, has been initiated - please coordinate it to be passed to court because it is under the control of the management of the internal policy of the Presidential Administration,” said the man on the recording, whose voice is very similar to Nikitin's.
The TV channel specifies that the recording is dated February 8 - on this day a meeting of the board on summarizing the work of the prosecutor's office in 2018 was held.
In addition to the Governor and prosecutor Vladimir Torgovchenkov, whom Nikitin allegedly addresses, the meeting was attended by Deputy Head of the Prosecutor General’s Office in the Central Federal District Vladimir Lapitsky, Chairman of the Tambov Regional Duma Yevgeny Matushkin, Chief Federal Inspector of the Tambov region Sergey Markin, Regional Human Rights Commissioner Vladimir Repin, and other officials.
Dozhd clarifies that Nikitin asked to transfer to court a criminal case of Stanislav Savonchik (his name is mentioned on the audio recording), the editor of the local information agency Tverdy Znak (Hard Sign).
The journalist had an interview with a political scientist, MGIMO professor Yury Antsiferov, illustrated with a caricature of the Governor. It was released under the title The Real Head of the Region is [deputy governor] Oleg Ivanov, not Alexander Nikitin." Savonchik is considered to be a journalist disliked by the Tambov authorities, since he had previously published a number of high-profile investigations into corruption in the leadership of the Tambov region, including describing abuses at Michurinsky Agrarian University in the years when Nikitin helmed it.
The case under Art. 128.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Slander) was instituted in January 2018 by the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Tambov region against “unidentified persons.” Savonchik and Antsiferov were summoned for interrogation as witnesses several times, the house of the journalist was searched and the equipment was seized.
Yury Antsiferov told Dozhd that he would appeal to the Prosecutor General’s Office because of the audio recording from the meeting: in his opinion, “what Nikitin said was pressure” on the staff of the department. The administration of the Governor has not yet commented on the situation.