Murmansk region Governor reports on "intimidating actions" by law enforcement agencies

Murmansk region Governor reports on "intimidating actions" by law enforcement agencies
Marina Kovtun Photo: Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS

This way she called the inquiries and inspections of law enforcers.⁠

The Head of the Murmansk region, Marina Kovtun, reported pressure exerted by law enforcement agencies, TASS informs. According to Kovtun, in such a manner she is being forced to step down. Pressure, according to the Governor, is shown in "massive inquiries, checks and other intimidating actions."

Kovtun stated that the pressure on her could be related to her "strong stand" on a number of issues, including the affiliation of regional commercial structures with officials, as well as issues of property privatization in the territory of Murmansk. The Head of the region also noted that she "is not forgiven for bringing order to the market of the fuel and energy complex."

According to the Governor, the pressure on her is of a political nature. Kovtun said that the actions of law enforcers are aimed at "discrediting the incumbent authorities." The Governor also noted that she did not rule out increased pressure on her.

"As the Head of the region, I have no right to leave these actions unaddressed, I will not sit idly by, I will certainly reach out my position to the country's top leadership and the leadership of law enforcement agencies," the Governor said, remarking that she enjoyed such opportunities.

Kovtun also claimed there was a crusade against the region's leadership in the media. We are talking about publications of reportedly official documents in the press. According to the Governor, in the course of inspections the facts featured in them were not confirmed, however, rumors continued to be spread in the media.

In September, it became known that the governor was suspected of involvement in a criminal scheme focused on collecting hundreds of millions of rubles from the regional business in the form of donations and subsequently using them for personal needs.

On October 20, the Oktyabrsky court of Murmansk took ex-Deputy Governor of the Murmansk region Igor Babenko into two-month custody on charges of Swindling on a large scale (part 3 of Art. 159 of the Criminal Code). Babenko resigned voluntarily from his post on October 2.

According to the investigation, the ex-Deputy Governor concluded contracts between the regional government's activity management department and fictitious contractors to cash out budget funds. In the same case, the former Deputy Head of the government apparatus of the Murmansk region, Eduard Nikrashevsky, and the former Deputy Head of the government's activity management department, Georgy Blagodelsky, were detained.

The website Bloger-51 published information about the criminal scheme and suggested that Kovtun herself might participated in it. According to journalists, the Governor and her family could receive hundreds of millions of rubles under the guise of donations from business. This article became the basis for a check against the governor by law enforcement agencies.

Besides, the wife of Georgy Blagodelsky, who also published the 'black' accounting of the regional administration, applied to the Investigative Committee of Russia. According to Blagodelskaya, the budget money that was collected for charitable purposes went to the governor and her deputies.

Earlier experts and sources reported that the Murmansk region could become one of the regions where the Governor would be replaced. However, these reports were not confirmed. Powers of Kovtun expire in September 2019.

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