Opposition blogger quits state culture council after paedophilia scandal

Opposition blogger quits state culture council after paedophilia scandal
Rustem Adagamov, a Russian professional blogger and a representative of the independent opposition, has decided to quit the state culture council a fortnight after his ex-wife publicly accused him of paedophilia.

Adagamov announced his departure via his Facebook account. The blogger wrote that in the months of participating in the Public Council on Culture he received no “reasonable” suggestions for taking part in any of the committees. He went on to call the council a ‘Potemkin village’, fraud and fiction.

However, the blogger’s announcement on voluntarily quitting came shortly after the Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinskiy said in a televised interview that he would insist on Adagamov’s removal from the council as the activist has not attended any sessions of the body. “We have not got a single excuse that would allow to state that he is of any value for us,” the minister added.

Neither mentioned the scandal that currently surrounds Adagamov. It started after the blogger’s ex-wife, Tatyana Delsal, publicly accused him of sexually abusing a 12-year old girl. According to Delsal’s statements that she repeated in an interview with RT, the paedophile cases took place several years ago when Adagamov lived in Norway and were the main reason she demanded a divorce.

Adagamov refuted the accusations and threatened to sue the people who distributed the information on social networks, but said he would not take any action against his ex-wife for moral reasons. So far, the blogger has made no legal moves, but Russian prosecutors said last week that they had started a preliminary investigation.

Rustem Adagamov has both Russian and Norwegian citizenship as he lived in Norway for a long time, working for an advertising agency. At the same time he maintained a blog on the Livejournal platform (which then belonged to its American creators), mostly posting photos and pictures, becoming one of the most popular bloggers in Livejournal’s Russian segment. In 2006 Livejournal was purchased by Russian company SUP Media and the new owners hired Adagamov as a professional blogger who would raise the interest in the project as well as represent it in public.

Since then, Adagamov’s posts became more and more politicized which can be explained by the Russian internet users’ general interest in politics and also by the fact that the latest parliamentary and presidential elections were important and popular events and therefore the new media wanted to capitalize on them.

Eventually the blogger was elected to the Coordination Council of Opposition – a semi-formal body uniting those who are critical of authorities but who do not support any alternative political party. The elections took place in October last year and about 81,000 people took part in them which is a miniscule share of about 108 million of voters.

After the paedophilia scandal broke some members of the Coordination Council suggested that Adagamov could be removed from their ranks, but added that they needed more solid proof than the allegations by an ex-spouse.