Another top Russian regional official has caused controversy – this time by comparing victims of this summer’s historic Siberian floods to thugs and boms in a leaked audio file.
Remarks by Irina Alashkevich, the Irkutsk regional administration’s spokeswoman, were related to the recent floods in the Irkutsk and Krasnoyasrk regions, in which over two dozen people were killed. In particular, she slammed people from the town of Tulun, Irkutsk region.
The full audio file with English subtitles:
Commeting on the situation, Alashkevich claimed that the audio was faked, adding that Irkutsk governor Sergei Levchenko had ordered an expert analysis of the recording. On August 19, the REN TV television channel reported it had commissioned an independent investigation which confirmed that the voice in the recording belongs to Alashkevich.
The glamorous head of the governor’s press service shut her social media and went on leave following a media storm around the recording.
Alashkevich started work as head of regional press service in 2015.
She was present while governor Levchenko hosted Vladimir Putin who came to check upon flood victims. During the trip, Putin demanded local authorities to treat people with more compassion and respect.
The audio caused public outrage, with local and federal media running independent voice probes.
On July 2, Krasnoyarsk governor Alexander Uss visited Kansk, where he vowed swift disaster relief measures to the estimated 300 victims. However, the governor’s exchanges with residents caught on video showed something another.
There are no subs, but the video allows to see the behaviour of the governor:
“What do you want to tell me? You want to appeal to the law?” the government asked one resident after she asked if they would be evacuated by helicopter in case of more flooding.
“I can appeal to the law too,” he told the woman, who had told him “we’ll be cut off from the world if the road is washed away.”
Even further, Uss was openly interrupting residents asking questions.
“Calm down, let me fix your collar,” he said tapping the unamused man on the shoulder instead of allowing him to finish the question.
Alashkevich and Alashkevich-like persons are ordinary representatives of the part of Russian bureaucrats and politicians that self-describe themselves as the ‘new aristocracy’.These persons treat Russia and the Russian population as a source of their personal wealth, but do not link own future with the future of the state and its nation.
By their actions, they often discredit the central government and cause public outrage. Thus, they serve as a useful tool and pretext for any external actors seeking to destabilize Russia regions.
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