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Former Deputy Governor's Airplane Brawl Causes Emergency Landing

A criminal case on charges of hooliganism has been opened against the former deputy governor of the Chelyabinsk region on charges of hooliganism for beginning a fistfight with a flight attendant.

A Moscow-bound plane had to make an emergency landing in Novosibirsk on Sunday after Andrei Tretyakov, allegedly drunk, beat up a flight attendant in a dispute over the toilet, a police spokesman said.

"The man was an economy class passenger and tried to use a business class toilet, which is against the rules. He had a spat with a flight attendant and punched him seven or ten times," a Siberian transport police spokesman said.

The former governor, aged 45, was already drunk when he boarded Globus airline's Moscow-bound plane in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk on Sunday night, police said.

Tretaykov was dismissed from his position in the Chelyabinsk region in 2011 and currently says he is an external advisor to the Natural Resources Ministry, Interfax reported. He was also the acting head of the state geology holding company Rosgeology from May 2012 to June 2013.

The plane had to perform an emergency landing in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, where the flight attendant was hospitalized and diagnosed with a head injury and bruises.

Tretyakov was detained and taken to a Novosibirsk police department.

The plane was refueled and took off about two hours later.

Convictions for hooliganism can carry up to a five-year prison term, though the average fine for unruly in-flight conduct in Russia is 5,000 rubles ($150).

Russian airlines have recently suffered a series of incidents involving rowdy passengers, prompting the country's lawmakers to push for tougher measures against them.

In October, Andrei Isayev, then deputy secretary of United Russia's general council, resigned his leadership position in the party after news surfaced that he and his aide delayed a St. Petersburg-Moscow flight for 90 minutes with their drunken antics.

Lawmakers and airlines have proposed raising fines, installing CCTV cameras on board, creating an official blacklist of misbehaving passengers and banning in-flight alcohol. However, none of the numerous bills submitted to the Duma have been passed so far.

Vladimir Chertok, the deputy chief of the Federal Transportation Inspection Service, said earlier this week that the transport watchdog was considering raising fines for unruly passengers to thousands of U.S. dollars by obliging them to cover the costs of their actions.

The Moscow Times contributed to this report.

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