On July 9, authorities detained Sergei Furgal, the governor of the Khabarovsk region in Russia’s Far East. He was flown to Moscow for interrogation that lasted nearly until midnight. On July 10, Moscow’s Basmanny District Court ruled he should be held behind bars for two months as the investigation continues.
The Investigative Committee said Furgal is accused of organazing murders of several businessmen in the region and nearby territories in 2004 and 2005. Testimony against the governor was given by his other business partner, Nikolai Mistryukov, who was arrested in 2019. Earlier, authorities detained 4 other suspects. All of them named Furgal as the organizer of these crimes.
The investigation is still ongoing. The Investigative Committee is checking the possible involvement of Furgal in other grave crimes.
On the same day, authorities detained 2 members of the local parliament – Dmitry Kozlov and Sergey Kuznetsov. They are accused of a large scale fraud. Both persons earlier were members of the management of ‘Amurstal’ metallurgic plant. 25% of ‘Amurstal’ belongs to the wife of Furgal.
The 50-year-old governor denied the charges. His supporters claim that the investigation of murders is somehow ‘politically motivated’. Furgal is a member of the Liberal Democrat Party of Russia, which formally remains in the opposition, but in fact almost always supports the policy of the government. Therefore, some ‘political motivation’ behind the detention of the governor is very unlikely.
Despite this, the elite group that supports Furgal was able to mobilize thousands of people to take part in protests in the support of the detained governor. They marched to the regional government in Khabarovsk shouting anti-government slogans and demanding to ‘return’ (free) Furgal to Khabarovsk. Estimates by local media put the number of demonstrators at between 5,000-7,000, in the city of about 600,000 inhabitants. These protests were widely supported by the pro-Western part of the Russian opposition, known for its destructive actions against the Russian state.
The current situation in Russia’s far east demonstrates how shaky the current political stability and the governance system in Russia. Anti-government forces paint attempts of the authorities to investigate grave crime as ‘politically-motivated’ actions and attempt to undermine the investigation by politizing it.
Earlier, the same situation happened with the detention of the aide to the head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos Ivan Safronov for treason. According to the FSB, he was working for intelligence agencies of one of the NATO member states. The Russian neo-lbieral, pro-Western opposition also attempted to paint the case as a ‘politically motivated move’ not linked with the act of treason made by Safronov.
The state of chaos, which became a common state of Ukraine since 2014, also started with the destruction of the governance system and the collapse of the law enforcement that appeared to be unable to put an end to the violence and the expansion of neo-Nazi militants across the country. The regime that came to power in Kiev during these events only made the situation eve further supporting neo-Nazi terrorists.
Elite groups and forces destabilizing the sitaution in Khabarosvk in an attempt to impact the investigation of murders supposedly organized by Furgal seek to turn Russia into Ukraine 2.0.
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