Welcome to Olonets. Photo courtesy of Infogolos.org and Runa
“If I Shot Four People, the Rest Would Calm Down”: Official in Karelia Suggests Shooting People Who Complain About Problems
November 8, 2019
In Karelia, Sergei Prokopiev, head of the Olonets Municipal District, suggested shooting people who complain to the authorities about unresolved problems. In his opinion, such shootings would help “calm” the populace.
Citing eyewitnesses, the Karelian news website Chernika reports that tempers flared during a meeting of the Olonets Town Council. It all kicked off when the local veterans association asked Prokopiev to clean up a mass grave. Raising his voice, Prokopiev said that people in other districts formed local public councils and solicited additional funds, whereas there were no such precedents in Olonets. According to Chernika, Prokopiev said that “social parasites” had become “entrenched” in the town.
The council then went on to discuss problems the authorities had not resolved for many years. In Olonets, the public bathhouse is shut down, and the town’s water drainage system does not work. The issues prompted a stormy discussion.
“If I had a license, I would shot four people, and the rest would calm down,” Prokopiev said at the end of the meeting.
One of the town council members present at the meeting politely inquired about the names of the four people Prokopiev would like to shoot as an example to others. Prokopiev assured the council member that no council members were among the group. Prokopiev then said, allegedly, that his remarks had been a joke.
Olonets residents have taken offense, however. Town council member Nina Shcherbakova sent a complaint about Prokopiev’s behavior to Karelian Governor Arthur Parfenchikov. Local grassroots activist Natalya Antonov also filed a complaint against the district head with the prosecutor’s office. She considered Prokopiev’s remarks a threat aimed at her. According to local news website Runa, she had previously criticized Prokopiev for his poor performance.
Roine Izyumov, head of the Karelian branch of the party A Just Russia, said there witnesses who had heard Prokopiev’s remarks.
“It appears Mr. Prokopiev has forgotten who pays his bills, whose taxes pay his salary. He has decided to shoot his breadwinners,” said Izyumov, as quoted by the news website KarelInform.
Izyumov argues that Prokopiev should be fired and subsequently banned from senior political posts.
According to MK Karelia, however, media reports of the incident are misleading. A town council member who was at the meeting but whose names is not mentioned in other reports said journalists did not interview her.
Thanks to Andrey Pivovarov for the heads-up. Translated by the Russian Reader