Alexander Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee, has had enough. He’s had enough of youngsters and enough of “shoving” by Asians, Kyrgyz, and Tajiks, and now he’s lost his patience with all the people from Krasnodar “flooding” into St. Petersburg. Specifically, Bastrykin’s latest outburst was directed at Vladislav Megrelov, a 26-year-old detective based in the town of Vsevolozhsk, outside Petersburg. In a virtual meeting on October 13, the Investigative Committee’s director called for Megrelov’s head, saying he should be fired for supposedly bungling a case. The detective’s colleagues have reportedly vowed to resign in protest if the agency follows through on Bastrykin’s threats to fire him.
The website 47 News obtained an audio recording of Bastrykin’s comments during an online meeting where members of the public presented complaints against the Investigative Committee’s detectives. At one point during the event, an 80-year-old retiree from St. Petersburg described how her son died a year ago at the family’s summer home due to carbon monoxide poisoning. The woman accused her son’s wife of poisoning him deliberately, explaining that she’d seen a murder just like it in a movie, but detective Vladislav Megrelov and the local police both ruled the man’s death an accident.
Complaining about “youngsters today,” Bastrykin concluded that Megrelov had failed to investigate the case adequately. He then directly asked Megrelov (who was also on the call) where he was originally from. After learning that he grew up in the Krasnodar region, Bastrykin invited him to “go back to the Cossacks.” “They would really whip [you] into shape,” he added. In an angry tirade, Bastrykin then demanded Megrelov’s dismissal:
Get him out of here. Let him go home. He can be a miner or he can keep the boilers going. And you can always find a job here in Petersburg, really. You can be somebody’s flunky. The stuff I see throughout the Leningrad region is just appalling. I can’t pretend to be indifferent. They’ve just flooded the place. One day, it’s the Asians pushing in, then it’s the Kyrgyz, then the Tajiks, and now the Krasnodarians are flooding the place. Go back.
After sharing another diatribe against “the current generation,” Bastrykin was also rude to the sister of the dead man whose death Megrelov supposedly failed to investigate adequately. When she tried to defend the detective, Bastrykin called her a “marriageable girl” and ordered her not to “meddle in these affairs.” “Don’t make me angry,” he warned.
Officials have already launched an internal review into Megrelov and his immediate supervisor, Alexey Demchenko. In a statement published on Monday, October 18, the Investigative Committee said Megrelov “ignored forensic conclusions” that the levels of carbon monoxide found in the victim’s body were too high to be attributed solely to the home’s gas boiler, which suggests that there was a “third-party source of carbon monoxide.” The agency’s spokeswoman, Svetlana Petrenko, also denies reports that Megrelov was hospitalized immediately after Bastrykin’s criticism. “The man has had a respiratory infection for two days and there are complications,” she told RIA Novosti, rejecting any “speculation” about his health.
According to the website 47 News, the detective’s colleagues have threatened to walk off the job in solidarity if the probe leads to any dismissals.