Install

Get the latest updates as we post them right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Man Beaten at Kursk Governor's Office

Just before 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, Deputy Governor Sergei Maksachyov entered the Kursk regional administration building with the intention of resigning from his post.

A few hours later he was hospitalized, suffering from a concussion and spinal injuries.

These two events are clear. What happened in between, however, remains unresolved.

After four years as deputy to former Kursk Governor Alexander Rutskoi whose re-election bid was stymied last month when his name was struck from the ballot just hours before voting began Maksachyov tried Sunday to submit his letter of resignation with the new regional governor, Alexander Mikhailov.

What ensued, Maksachyov alleged during a Monday telephone interview from his hospital bed, was a three-hour-long beating at the hands of Vasily Oleinikov, who introduced himself as a lieutenant general of army intelligence and Kursks new deputy governor, and his two "well-built subordinates." The two bodyguards who arrived at the building with Maksachyov were not allowed to enter.

"[Oleinikov] shouted, So, kikes, we didnt manage to wipe you out the first time, but now we will, and punched me in the face," Maksachyov said, adding that his father was Jewish. "Then they locked the doors and started beating me up for 20 minutes before telling me what it was all about."

As it turned out, Maksachyov said, it was his former boss who was at the heart of the matter.

"They wanted me to disclose Rutskois alleged financial machinations during his time in office," he said. "They gave me a paper and a pen and said they would tell me what to write. When I refused they went on beating me for three hours."

Maksachyov said Nikolai Tkachyov, the former Kursk regional prosecutor, was also present and questioned him between the beatings.

While prosecutor in 1998, Tkachyov had had two of Rutskois deputy governors arrested for willful abuse of power. During his time in office, Rutskoi himself was repeatedly accused of corruption.

Tkachyov could not be reached for comment.

Maksachyov says he was eventually rescued by the head of the regional police department, Alexei Volkov, who may have been alerted to the incident by administration employees who overheard the beating.

"He saved my life," said Maksachyov, who ended up in the Kursk Railway Hospital with a severe concussion, numerous contusions and minor spinal damage injuries he said would keep him hospitalized for the next two weeks. "Had the beating lasted any longer I would have written anything they wanted and ended up a corpse."

Volkov refused to comment Monday.

A spokesperson for Governor Mikhailov the Communist candidate who took the October election had a completely different version of events.

According to gubernatorial press officer Nikolai Ryndin, Maksachyov did in fact enter the regional administration office on Sunday around 1 p.m. "He even arrived a few minutes before the scheduled meeting," Ryndin said in a telephone interview from Kursk.

Then, Ryndin said, Maksachyov actually managed to meet with Mikhailov, chatted with him for 15 minutes and handed in his resignation.

"The meeting took place in a friendly, constructive atmosphere. They parted shaking hands," the press officer said. "Only the next morning did [regional police head Alexei] Volkov tell us that something had happened. What happened, and where it happened, we still dont know."

Ryndin said he has "never seen anyone named Oleinikov, let alone a document proclaiming him deputy governor."

The Defense Ministry was also searching Monday for the mysterious military intelligence officer. A ministry press officer said they were aware of the incident, but couldnt say who the man introducing himself as a lieutenant general of military intelligence was. "Were trying to find that out," the press officer said.

Former Governor Rutskoi, who appealed to the Prosecutor Generals Office on Monday to press charges against the people involved in the beating, said former Prosecutor General Yury Skuratov was also present in the building during the incident. However, it was not clear what, if anything, he might have had to do with the alleged beating.

Skuratov was in fact in Kursk on Saturday, Ryndin said, declining to name the reasons for the former prosecutors visit. "But I really dont know where he was on Sunday," he added.

According to Maksachyov, the beating took place in an office "next door" to the governors. "Its impossible that [Mikhailov] didnt know about it," he said.

But Mikhailov denied knowledge of the incident. "My office is absolutely far away from all the other offices," Interfax quoted him as saying Monday.

Ryndin agreed, saying Maksachyovs meeting with Mikhailov ended peacefully. "They said good-bye, and as far as I know, Maksachyov left the building."

The press service for the regional police confirmed Monday that a criminal investigation into the matter has been opened, but refused further comment.

In his appeal to the Prosecutor Generals office, Rutskoi asked that a separate criminal investigation be opened into Mikhailovs "inciting hatred on ethnic grounds." He also asked for the other people involved in the beatings to be prosecuted.

Soon after his election, Mikhailov was caught in a televised interview making pointed remarks about Rutskois Jewish heritage, saying he was part of a vast Jewish conspiracy.

"Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin], by the way, is a Russian man. So am I," he was quoted as saying. "And Rutskoi, in case you dont know, has a Jewish mother, Zinaida Iosifovna."

Mikhailov later apologized for his remarks after meeting with Georgy Poltavchenko, the presidential representative in the Central Federal District. Poltavchenko chalked Mikhailovs statement up to "tiredness and anxiety," adding that the new governor was "politically inexperienced."

Poltavchenkos office refused to comment on the incident Monday. Interfax quoted an unnamed presidential official as saying the administration "is intent on clearing everything up."