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Head Of Russian Central Election Commission Attacked In Her Home Outside Moscow

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Head Of Russian Central Election Commission Attacked In Her Home Outside Moscow

Ella Pamfilova, the head of Russia’s Central Election Commission. IMAGE: Vitaly Belousov/RIA Novosti

On September 6, a masked intruder broke into the home of Russian Central Election Commission (RCEC) head Ella Pamfilova outside Moscow through a window and repeatedly assaulted her with a taser before fleeing, the Russian Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Following the incident, the attacker was detained and identified as Bakhyt Karabalayev, a citizen of Kazakhstan. He admitted guilt during questioning.

“During questioning, Karabalayev has admitted he is guilty of committing the crime, giving an account of its circumstances. He explained that he chose a house to burgle at random, as it was close to the place where he spent the night. The attacker was not aware of who lives in the house.”

On September 9, Moscow’s Basmanny Court arrested Karabalayev. 

“The court has ruled to satisfy the appeal of the prosecution regarding Karabalayev Bakhyt Azhigulovich, accused of committing a crime under Article 162 Part 3 of the Russian Criminal Code (Burglary), arresting him until November 6,” judge Natalya Dudar said.

Earlier, multiple pro-opposition media outlets linked the attack with Russia’s September 8 regional and local elections. However, it appears that this was not the issue.

An interesting thing is that the incident once again allowed to take a closer look at personal stance and attitude of the part of Russian buerocrats and politicians that describe themselves as the ‘new Russian aristocracy’.

“If a person just came when I was at home, he rang, knocked on the door, if he was just so hungry. <…> Well, there’s no problem at all to feed a person,” Pamfilova told state media some time after the incident.

She added that she could have offered him some work.

“Maybe I would have swept something somewhere, I would have earned a couple of rubles there for bread, if that’s true, [HINT: 1 Rub = 0.015 USD. A loaf of cheap bread costs about 0.4 USD]” Pamfilova concluded.

These remarks demonstrate the behavior common for the notorious part of the Russian elite. She thinks that it is acceptable to comment, in a condescending manner, on complicated situations, in which ordinary people may found themselves and carry out some rash acts.

The initial attempt to use the incident for political purposes ahead of the local elections also looks cynical. Initially, reports appeared that the attacker purposefully broke into her home, and had prepared for this particular attack (for instance, used the taser to assault Panfilova). She stated this by herself. However, soon it appeared that these remarks did not correspond to the facts. The chose a house to burgle at random and was not aware of who lives there. When these became publicly known, Panfilova made remarks regarding ‘bread’ and ‘one rubble or another’.

Some Russian opposition activists claim that the attack was staged. This version Is not likely. It’s clear that there was a threat to Panfilova’s life, health and belongings. Therefore, the attacker had  to bear the responsibility under the law. At the same time, the public attitude of Panfilova and its dramatic changes as well as the followed remarks are surprising.

Over the past years, this kind of remarks has become something common for representatives of the so-called Russian aristocracy. In some cases, this behaviour even led to large-scale media scandals.

In August, Irina Alashkevich, the Irkutsk regional administration’s spokeswoman, has caused controversy by comparing victims of this summer’s historic Siberian floods to thugs and boms in a leaked audio file. The regional official was not happy because she had to visit the area of disaster because of President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the very same area.

The article was updated on 10.09.2019 (13:00 CET)

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