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Russian Official Who Alleged Death Threats Over Garbage Dump Arrested

The Administration of Serpuhov Region

A regional official in Moscow who alleged death threats over a dispute against a toxic landfill in his district has reportedly been arrested.

Alexander Shestun leads the Serpukhov district south of Moscow, one of nine regional towns and cities whose residents took to the streets in April to protest against garbage dumps they argue are adversely impacting their health. In a video appeal directed to President Vladimir Putin, Shestun said the Federal Security Service (FSB), along with a Kremlin official, threatened to kill him for opposing the landfill, and that his office was then raided.

“Security services carried out searches in Shestun’s office. He’s been detained,” an unnamed source told the Interfax news agency.

The district head is accused of abusing his authority in an illicit property transfer deal, the Moscow region’s 360 television station reported, citing an anonymous source close to the investigation.

Shestun’s spokesperson speculated that the security searches may have been looking for an audiotape related to Shestun’s accusation of death threats, or to intimidate him out of running for re-election this fall, Interfax reported.

Shestun has headed Serpukhov district since 2003.

Suspected agents were spotted installing surveillance equipment on the roof of Shestun’s home last month, according to the MBKh Media news website.

“They took half an hour to dismantle the equipment and left,” a local housing representative, who confronted the agents, told MBKh Media.

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