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Deputy's Threats Against Newspaper Trigger Internet Dispute

Andrei Isayev

State Duma Deputy Andrei Isayev on Friday appeared to threaten Moskovsky Komsomolets staff, coming under fire from journalists and activists and triggering a scandal in the blogosphere.

The presumed threats came after the daily published an article criticizing several female deputies of the parliament's lower house. Pavel Gusev, Moskovsky Komsomolets' owner and editor-in-chief, said he would file a complaint with the Prosecutor General's Office against Isayev in an effort to "protect our newspaper's journalists."

"A tabloid has organized a filthy, mean, dirty attack on three female deputies," Isayev tweeted in a post that went viral. "The villains who did that must know: We won't forget and won't forgive!"  

"You small scum, relax. We don't care about you," Isayev wrote in another Twitter post, apparently referring to opposition-minded commentators. "But there will be a severe retaliation against the editor and author."

Gusev said he was surprised with Isayev's reaction.

"A top United Russia official's hysteria and agony testify to that party's  approaching demise," Gusev said.

"Rebar?" journalist Oleg Kashin quipped in a response to Isayev's tweets, referring to the reinforced steel rod that the then-Kommersant reporter was beaten with in 2010. At the time, Kashin said he suspected Kremlin-connected officials of organizing the attack.

The Moskovsky Komsomolets article, titled "Political Prostitution Changes Its Gender," features three female United Russia deputies — Irina Yarovaya, Olga Batalina and Yekaterina Lakhova — and accuses them of frequently changing their political position to please the Kremlin.

Both Isayev and Yarovaya have been at the center of high-profile scandals reportedly involving property violations.

Isayev has been recently criticized for failing to declare a hotel that his wife owns in Germany. He said in March that his wife was prepared to sell the hotel.

Meanwhile, a scathing expose published in the New Times magazine earlier this month claimed that Yarovaya, head of the State Duma's Anti-Corruption and Security Committee, had failed to declare a multimillion-dollar apartment that was purchased in her daughter's name when she was still a minor.

Contact the author at o.sukhov@imedia.ru

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