“Thank God, Nikolai Vladimirovich Hasn’t Brought his Angle Grinder”

August 15, 2013
Фото: Юрий Мартьянов / Коммерсантъ

The debate on channel “Moscow 24” was interrupted from the outset by Alexei Navalny (RPR-PARNAS), who, when asked about the paid parking issue told the audience about searches at his supporters’ apartment that was stormed yesterday by the law enforcement officials in the presence of Nikolai Levichev, a leader of Just Russia and one of the candidates. The Just Russian was reproached with the same thing by Mikhail Degtyarev (LDPR), who recalled an “angle grinder.” Mr. Levichev himself believes that fight against “illegal literature” justifies the means.

“Moscow 24” preceded the debate with a piece on storming the apartment where supporters of Alexei Navalny kept illegal campaign materials. The mediator started the debates with the issue of paid parking. However, instead of discussing that issue Alexei Navalny chose to talk about what happened yesterday, when the police and the EMERCOM (the Ministry for Emergencies) officials broke into in his supporters’ apartment. At the request of Nikolai Levichev, the leader of the Just Russia, police seized campaign materials found in the apartment. Mr. Navalny said that the authorities “intimidate and arrest his supporters.” He believes that these actions were a retaliation for his inquiry about the real estate that belongs to Sergei Sobyanin’s daughters. The value of the property exceeds the total income of the Acting Mayor for the last ten years.

Today, Basmanny court sentenced four activists who were in the stormed apartment, under Article 19.3 of the Administrative Code (Failure to follow a lawful order of a law enforcement officer). The court imposed different sentences – from a fine of one thousand roubles to ten days in jail. The detained activists stated that the police had no search warrant, however they tried to open the door, and even threw the keys through a window for the police to open the lock, but the lock was jammed. “Thank God, Nikolai Vladimirovich hasn’t brought his angle grinder,” sarcastically noted Mikhail Degtyarev, aiming that remark at Nikolai Levichev (in whose presence the police officers broke into the apartment of Mr. Navalny’s supporters).

Alexei Navalny asked Nikolai Levichev, who “pretty much himself sawed the door,” if he could get in the fight against corruption, instead of snitching on Navalny’s supporters. Mr. Navalny said that the Just Russian gets a salary of 200 thousand roubles a month and could spend his time more effectively, however his party has done nothing for Moscow. Nikolai Levichev did not consider it necessary to “offer excuses.” According to him, Just Russia criticizes the government, but does not consider “clandestine methods” acceptable.

During the debate Alexei Navalny vowed he would not allow “any Kremlin crooks” to get their hands on any construction projects. To that the LDPR candidate said that the staff at Alexei Navalny campaign headquarters are “carving up the money pie.” “We’ll make sure the LDPR doesn’t come to power either, so there will be no crooks,” Navalny replied. He said the Anticorruption Fund has evidence of embezzlement of funds allocated for construction of roads and subways: “We can bring you truckloads of that evidence, we have already flooded the Investigation Committee with complaints.”

The leader of Yabloko, Sergei Mitrokhin, asked Mikhail Degtyarev, why wouldn’t he withdraw from the race in his favor, because Mitrokhin is a native of Moscow, while Mr. Degtyarev came from Samara. The LDPR candidate responded by saying that 80% of housing stock in the capital is bought by active people from the regions, and pointed out that the Yablochik walks around Moscow and tries to “get into the act of the initiative groups that protect the yards next to their apartment buildings.”

“They keep cutting me off a little bit,” complained Ivan Melnikov, the Communist Party candidate, referring to the fact that he never had enough time to make his point. He asked Mr. Mitrokhin why, in his view, the authorities destroy parks and avoid dialogue with residents. “Because they came to Moscow from afar, because they don’t like and don’t respect Moscovites,” replied Mitrokhin.