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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

WHAT THE PAPERS SAY

Banya Affair Heats Up


There are several versions to the scandal surrounding Justice Minister Valentin Kovalyov.


Version No. 1: The minister was a victim of circumstance, if one allows that it really is him on the videotapes. ... A banking friend of his shot the film during the orgy "just in case," and then the tape fell into the Interior Ministry's possession when the banker was subject to a search. Someone in the Interior Ministry with a sense of humor or love of money turned over -- sold -- a copy of the tape to journalists.


Version No. 2: The banya belongs to the Solntsevo Mafia, and Kovalyov, of course, heads the commission for the fight against organized crime. And if the banya sex scandal recorded on the video tape really did take place, then there is a question of whether Kovalyov is the victim of blackmail.


Version No. 3: Political. A situation may soon arise in which the Duma is dissolved or early elections are called. This would benefit the communists. They can expect to win at least 75 percent of the Duma's seats. In such a situation, opposing forces have to make changes in the electoral law so that only 50 percent of the Duma deputies can be selected from party lists. This is the only hope there is to keep the communists from gaining a constitutional majority in the Duma. One way to do it would be to replace the current justice minister who came from the communist faction.


Version No. 4: Very political. The Kovalyov affair is an attempt to get rid of Interior Minster Anatoly Kulikov. The basis for this version is that the Interior Ministry illegally made the film with a clear sanction from Kulikov.


There's one last theory. According to our information, a lot of influential people from the business and political world have been feeling uncomfortable. Nearly all of them use the services of banya prostitutes.


Argumenty i Fakty, June, No. 26.