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Russian Official Probed for Wishing Cancer on Family Members of Subordinates

Nikolay Lyubavin. Emergency Situations Ministry

Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry has launched a disciplinary probe into one of its regional chiefs for publically wishing cancer on the family members of subordinates who accused him of corruption, a federal lawmaker said Monday.

Nikolai Lyubavin, who heads the Emergency Situations Ministry’s Volgograd region branch, was recorded blasting unidentified staff members for filing a complaint with prosecutors over his alleged ties to one of Russia’s largest private banks Otkritie.

“Whoever wrote this, I hope their hands fall off and their entire family gets cancer,” Lyubavin said during a video conference at the regional Emergency Situations Ministry. 

The video was published on Sunday by multiple media outlets in Volgograd.

“It’s absolutely unacceptable for a top officer and official [to berate employees] especially since all this was said publicly at a video conference call and not in a private conversation,” said Alexander Khinshtein, a senior deputy at Russia’s lower-house State Duma. 

The Emergency Situations Ministry's regional branch has “scheduled an inspection that will result in a decision about Major General Lyubavin’s culpability,” Khinshtein wrote on the messaging app Telegram.

On Monday, the Volgograd-based V1.ru news outlet, citing an anonymous senior official at the ministry’s branch, reported that the video of Lyubavin “had been filmed a long time ago.”

“[Lyubavin] himself wrote to the ministry about his employees, in response the employees wrote a statement against him,” the source was quoted as saying.

The Emergency Situations Ministry has not commented on the video of Lyubavin or the internal probe.

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