Samara Governor Dmitry Azarov resigns amid corruption and ‘gay propaganda’ allegations — Novaya Gazeta Europe
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Samara Governor Dmitry Azarov resigns amid corruption and ‘gay propaganda’ allegations

Dmitry Azarov. Photo: Samara region government

Dmitry Azarov. Photo: Samara region government

Following the arrests of several of his administration’s senior officials on suspicion of corruption, as well as a series of complaints about so-called “LGBT propaganda”, Dmitry Azarov announced his resignation as governor of Russia’s Samara region on Friday.

In his resignation statement, Azarov thanked Vladimir Putin for “the trust and attention he has shown the region” and pledged to continue doing everything he could “for the development and prosperity of our native land”.

Prior to Azarov’s resignation, one of Samara’s representatives in the State Duma, Alexander Khinshtein, had made numerous allegations that officials in Samara had been responsible for disseminating “LGBT propaganda”, which is illegal in Russia.

Last month, Khinshtein alleged that regional Minister of Youth Policy Sergey Burtsev was in a same-sex relationship. Burtsev denied the claim but resigned shortly afterwards.

Khinshtein made similar allegations against another regional official working in youth policy, Denis Leontovich, claiming that Leontovich had entered into a same-sex marriage. Leontovich left his position in April.

Khinshtein also alleged that widespread corruption had taken hold in the region, leading to the arrests of two officials in November: the region’s deputy governor, Viktor Kudryashov, and Samara’s acting Minister of Construction Mikhail Aseyev. Both officials were accused of fraud during the construction of the Samara metro. Since then, two more regional officials have also been arrested.

Russian business daily Kommersant wrote on Thursday that the region had experienced a “managerial collapse” and that Azarov was planning to resign.

Vyacheslav Fedorishchev, an official from the neighbouring Tula region, has been appointed Samara’s acting governor until elections for a new governor can be held on 8 September.

Azarov’s resignation comes a day after the governor of Russia’s oil-rich Khanty-Mansiysk region, Natalia Komarova, resigned ahead of elections, following a complaint from a member of the public that she had “discredited” the Russian army during a public appearance.

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