Roscosmos official to lose job after calling residents of low-quality buildings ‘scumbags’

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An ethics commission investigation has advised Russian space agency Roscosmos to fire an official over his comments bashing citizens living in low-cost blocks from the 1960s. Millions of Russians reside in such buildings.

Stanislav Zharkov, the head of a department in Roscosmos, lashed out at residents of low-cost five-storied apartment blocks, known as Khrushchyovkas. They were nicknamed after Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev who came up with the idea to provide individual apartments for millions of citizens. These apartment blocks were low-cost and prefabricated, meant as temporary housing, they had low ceilings, small kitchens and no elevators.

In a Facebook post discussing the state’s program on demolishing old buildings and replacing them with modern houses Zharkov called the residents of such old buildings “scumbags” who “booze, take drugs, throw trash in the lobby and shout at night”, saying they would “mess up” the new apartment blocks, if they are resettled there.

Internet users were infuriated with the official’s words and screenshots with the comments went viral. After the story made headlines in Russia, Roscosmos called the ethics commission to investigate the matter.

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Meanwhile, Zharkov has publicly apologized for his burst of speech, saying that the comments were made “in the heat of the moment.” He has also tried to justify himself, confessing that he lives in a similar apartment block and was tired of “household problems.”

In 2017 Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin announced details of the government’s plan to demolish old apartment blocks. The mayor’s office said the residents of these buildings will be resettled in new apartments in the neighborhood they currently live in — or at least reasonably close to it. The government plan became a hot topic in Russia as many oppose demolishing and disagree with the conditions of resettlement.

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