Three unknown people attacked journalist Viktor Kokarev in the evening of September 4 in Syktyvkar near the Monument of Labor Glory. He and three of his friends were pepper-sprayed after he made a reproach about illegally pasting up campaign leaflets of the Rodina Party onto a lamppost. Viktor Kokarev told 7x7 about this.
“My friends and me were walking down the street when I saw a young man gluing leaflets of the Rodina Party onto a lamppost. We asked him if he knew it was illegal, and he said he would call his bosses right away. We waited for the people he called to show up. Three guys I did not know approached us and immediately started pepper-spraying us without asking any questions. Then they ran a few steps away, returned, and began spraying gas in our faces and ears purposefully,” the journalist described what happened.
According to Kokarev, his left ear and eye were most injured, as well as Vikenty Shangin’s eyes (a lawyer who was there with him). A leaflet-poster, who was standing next to Kokarev during the attack, was also injured.
The journalist gave the following details: the ambulance was called half an hour later, the police arrived 40 minutes after the call and only when Viktor Kokarev made an additional call to the police control room and said that he was a candidate for the State Council of the Komi Republic.
“The police did not try to catch the attackers,” he said. “They looked at the footage from the cameras, but they got to see neither the moment of the attack, nor the faces of those who had pepper-sprayed us. I filed an assault claim to the police department. Moreover, the investigator said that we had provoked the conflict ourselves and that the case was not political. I have been given an appointment card to a forensic examination, but it won't be until Monday.”
Viktor Kokarev was diagnosed with a first-degree corrosive ear burn in the injury care center. He said that he had spent the whole night "covered with panthenol" so that his ear did not hurt so much, but there was a ticklish pain in the throat. His eyes still hurt.
Viktor Kokarev is a correspondent of the Novaya Respublika (‘New Republic’) Online-Newspaper. He is also a registered candidate for the Komi State Council from the Communist Party.
Election of the head of the republic and deputies of the State Council in Komi is scheduled for September 13. The list of candidates from the Rodina Party on the State Council election is headed by Maxim Shugaley, a political strategist who is in a Libyan prison, has no connection with the region, and is a confidant of businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin. At the same time, the Rodina Party and Prigozhin's representatives deny his direct participation in the election campaign in Komi.