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21 Jul, 2020 13:30

Khabarovsk politicians quit nationalist party after Putin sends fellow LDPR member from Moscow to replace popular local governor

Khabarovsk politicians quit nationalist party after Putin sends fellow LDPR member from Moscow to replace popular local governor

He might be one of their own, but new Khabarovsk governor Mikhail Degtyarev isn’t local enough for two Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) members in the Far Eastern city. They’ve quit after President Putin sent him to their region.

The two regional government politicians, Petr Emelyanov and Alexander Kayan, opted to leave the far-right LDPR after Degtyarev, an MP from the city of Samara – over 5,000km west of Khabarovsk – was chosen to replace the highly popular Governor Sergey Furgal.

Furgal and Degtyarev are both members of the LDPR, and some local opposition figures believe the replacement to be a favor to party leadership, rather than the best choice for Khabarovsk. In 2013 and 2018, Degtyarev ran as a candidate for Mayor of Moscow, neither time achieving double-figure support.

Sergey Furgal was elected governor of the Khabarovsk Region in 2018, receiving a massive 70 percent share of the vote. He has remained a popular figure ever since, and in 2019, his party won 83 percent of the seats in the local parliament.

Also on rt.com Thousands join fresh rally in Russia's Khabarovsk over arrested governor Furgal (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

On July 9, Furgal was arrested on suspicion of organizing the murder of two businessmen, as well as for the attempted murder of another, over a decade ago. He is now sitting in pre-trial detention in Moscow.

Since July 11, Khabarovsk residents have been taking to the streets in support of Furgal, demanding that he be brought back and tried in the region. On Saturday, media reports suggested that up to 50,000 people protested in Khabarovsk – a city with a population of around 600,000. Official police figures put the number at 10,000 protestors.

Writing on Instagram, Emelyanov said that, “as an honest and decent person, it would be shameful to pretend nothing is happening,” and that he had opted to resign from the party to “continue to defend the interests of voters.”

In a video post, municipal MP Alexander Kayan explained that he had “no moral right to remain a party member,” and would continue to help people “as a non-partisan.”

Following his appointment as replacement governor, Mikhail Degtyarev thanked Putin “for the trust placed in [him].”

Although a relatively under-the-radar figure in Russian politics, Degtyarev has made his fair share of headlines for his unorthodox views. Among other things, he has suggested completely banning the dollar within the country, and proposed painting the walls of the Kremlin white, as they were in the past. In 2013, he brought a bill before the national parliament that, had it been passed, would have given every woman two days off a month during her period.

Also on rt.com Governor of Russia’s Khabarovsk region ARRESTED by FSB in crime gang & assassinations probe (VIDEO)

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