Scandal-Plagued Ex-Governor Sues Putin Over Sacking

A worker wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus washes a city landmark, the equestrian statue of the Russian Tsar Peter the Great known as the Bronze Horseman by French sculptor Etienne Maurice Falconet, in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

MOSCOW (AFP) — A former governor of a Russian region is challenging his dismissal by President Vladimir Putin at the country’s Supreme Court, in the first case of its kind in decades.

The court on Wednesday sent a copy of the lawsuit to Putin, its press service told Interfax news agency.

Mikhail Ignatyev served as governor of Chuvashia region around 450 miles east of Moscow from 2010.

Putin sacked Ignatyev on January 29 with a decree citing loss of confidence in him. 

The 58-year-old is suing Putin personally, contesting the legality of his sacking. The Supreme Court has set a hearing for June 30, according to its website.

Ignatyev was fired shortly after he was filmed making a firefighter jump in the air to receive keys for a new fire engine at an official ceremony.

The footage prompted widespread criticism from officials and the public while Ignatyev claimed he was joking with an old acquaintance.

In another incident in January, Ignatyev apparently called for the killing of journalists who praise life in western Europe.

He said in a speech that such journalists “need to be rubbed out.” He later apologised, saying his words had been misinterpreted.

The case is going ahead as Ignatyev is being treated in hospital in Saint Petersburg for double pneumonia and is in a serious condition, Kommersant daily reported, citing a source.

The constitutional court on Wednesday threw out part of Ignatyev’s lawsuit concerning his entitlement to social benefits.

Russian media reported this was the first such lawsuit under Putin’s presidency while there were two similar cases under his predecessor Boris Yeltsin.

© Agence France-Presse

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