President Vladimir Putin is aware of the conflict between United Russia Deputy Andrei Isayev and the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper, but "is not intervening," presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov was reported as saying Wednesday.
Last week, the popular tabloid published an article titled "Political Prostitution Changes Its Gender," which accused three female United Russia deputies of being political "kept women," ready to "go to bed" with any party.
"The president knows about the situation. However, he is not intervening in it," Peskov said in comments carried by Kommersant on Wednesday.
Despite calls for Moskovsky Komsomolets editor-in-chief Pavel Gusev to be kicked out of the Public Chamber for allowing the article, the body's ethics committee chief, Iosef Diskin, said that "because Gusev became a Public Chamber member upon presidential decree," he can only leave of his own volition or on Putin's orders.
"If the deputies consider that they have been insulted, let them take their case to court," said Dmitry Biryukov, vice chairman of the Public Chamber's journalism commission. "In more than 60 percent of cases defending honor and dignity, the Supreme Court provides a satisfactory ruling."