A TV reporter found himself slammed to the floor after asking uncomfortable questions to a local administrator. The incident has prompted a criminal investigation of the official and his expulsion from the ruling party.
The regional TV crew of Russia 24 turned to the head of the local administration, Sergey Zaytsev, for a comment while reporting a story about the poor housing conditions of survivors of wildfires in one of the districts of the Republic of Khakassia in Siberia.
In 2015 wildfires killed dozens of people and left many homeless. At the time Zaytsev was charged with criminal negligence, which led to the wildfire deaths, and sentenced to four years in prison, but was then amnestied and managed to keep his post.
The interview with Zaytsev started off on the wrong foot when the journalist asked questions about state funds located for new housing for wildfire survivors, which he refused to answer.
Back in 2015 the government tasked the local authorities with replacing burned down houses with new buildings. According to the residents, the construction dragged on for years and resulted in poor quality buildings unfit for occupation.
Things went completely sour, when the official, annoyed by the uncomfortable questions about alleged corruption and his previous conviction, started insulting and kicking the journalist and eventually pulled him to the ground, while deputies tried to block the cameraman from filming the incident, the video shows.
The footage of the attack made headlines in Russia and caused heated discussion with many politicians and journalists criticizing the official’s actions. The disgraced official tried to justify himself by calling the reporter a “professional” provocateur.
But attempts for damage control were unsuccessful as the United Russia party canceled Zaytsev’s membership, calling his behavior “bureaucratic delirium.”
“There is no place at the seat of authority for those who can’t communicate or answer uncomfortable questions,” the ruling party said. Meanwhile, the Investigative Committee launched a probe into the attack on the journalist.
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