Russian ex-governor who sued Putin dies of coronavirus

Agence France-Presse. Moscow | Published: 16:50, Jun 19,2020


Republic of Chuvashia Head Mikhail Ignatyev arrives for a meeting on development programs for Russian regions with low social and economic development rates chaired by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow on October 10, 2019.- AFP photo

A former Russian regional governor who wanted to sue President Vladimir Putin over his dismissal has died from coronavirus complications, authorities said Friday.

Putin sacked Mikhail Ignatyev from his post of governor of the central Chuvashia region in January on the grounds that he had lost trust in him after a series of controversies.

The 58-year-old was fired after a decade on the job.

In May, he filed a lawsuit with the Russian Supreme Court seeking to challenge Putin's dismissal, a hugely unusual move in the country's tightly-controlled political system.

In late May he was reportedly hospitalised with double pneumonia in the second city of Saint Petersburg after contracting the coronavirus.

He died on Thursday in Saint Petersburg, the regional authorities said in a statement, adding a government commission has been created to organise Ignatyev's funeral.

‘This is a sad event,’ acting governor Oleg Nikolayev was quoted as saying. A spokeswoman for the regional government declined immediate comment.

Ignatyev's time on the job was marked by a number of controversies.

Ignatyev has been filmed dangling keys over the head of a uniformed officer in the emergency ministry, forcing him to jump up to take them, during a public ceremony.

After a video emerged on social media in January, Ignatyev's office tried to play down the scandal, saying the men were friendly acquaintances.

Known for gaffes, Ignatyev once addressed then-prime minister Dmitry Medvedev by the wrong name during a televised meeting, calling him Vasily.

He has also caused a scandal by apparently recommending killing journalists who praise life in western Europe. In a speech, he said such journalists ‘need to be rubbed out, as the ordinary folk say.’

He later apologised, saying his words had been misinterpreted.


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