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Disappearing Ink Sparks Corruption Allegations Against Moscow Officials

Municipal lawmaker Yelena Selkova posted video in which she holds a lighter next to a contract, the price disappearing seconds later. Screenshot Facebook

A Moscow municipal lawmaker has accused officials of corruption after discovering a contract price written in disappearing ink. 

Cheryomushki District councillor Yelena Selkova posted a video of herself holding a lighter next to the contract. Within seconds, the 2.6 million ruble ($37,500) figure can be seen vanishing from the paper.

“Let’s check the price,” Communist Party member Selkova said in the video, referring to the contract for an elevator replacement at a local apartment complex. “And it’s gone.” 

Selkova said she got hold of the contract because she was chosen to replace a sitting ruling party lawmaker who had gone on sick leave. 

The disappearing ink revelation, she suggested, means that the price could later be raised and the difference pocketed by corrupt officials.

“I won't even mention that by the time I arrived, all the acts had already been signed by everyone except me (before the commission started!)” Selkova wrote.

“Why do residents need independent municipal deputies not from [pro-Kremlin ruling party] United Russia? At least to reduce corruption in capital repairs!” she wrote.

In an interview with the Moskovskaya Gazeta outlet, Selkova said she’ll send a complaint to prosecutors but added that the chances of anyone being punished for the alleged fix were low.

“They’ll likely forward my complaint to the same capital repair fund I’m complaining about,” she said Sunday.

“The fund will likely say that they got the wrong pen or the ink was bad and they don’t understand how that happened.”

Asked how she figured out how to check the ink, Selkova credited a WhatsApp group of her colleagues from other districts who encountered similar issues with disappearing ink.

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