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  2. Dozens of female patients accuse Karelian doctor of sexual harassment

Dozens of female patients accuse Karelian doctor of sexual harassment

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Natalia Sevets-Yermolina, a journalist from Karelia, has reported cases of female patients harassed by a well-known doctor. She claims to have received more than a hundred letters from young women complaining about him. The name of the doctor is not disclosed, but some activists point at Arkady Rutgaizer, a former regional legislator from United Russia. Sevets-Yermolina published a post about this case on her Facebook page on August 20.

A few years ago, journalist Natalia Sevets-Yermolina asked young women to write their personal stories related to health care. She received a letter from a lady friend who was sexually assaulted by a doctor 15 years ago. In Karelia, according to the journalist, the man is "a legend", considered a "magician" and a "savior." However, when Sevets-Yermolina's friend went to see him, he locked the door, unzipped his fly, and forced the girl to perform oral sex.

"Not knowing what to do or how to behave further, her friend opened her mouth, but not to scream, but to do exactly what the medical genius had planned. <...> [She] was ashamed, afraid to say a word: ‘He's a legend, and I'm a nobody. Who would believe an ordinary patient?’" the journalist wrote.

Sevets-Yermolina read out this story at an event with other girls. Three of them gave the name of the doctor and reported similar harassment. Being afraid of publicity, the journalist’s friend for a long time kept this story to herself. Eventually, she agreed to disclose it anonymously. Sevets-Yermolina published the story on Facebook, which motivated dozens of women to share their personal experiences of being harassed by doctors.

The victim’s friend told 7x7 that the perpetrator’s name is Arkady Rutgaizer. This was confirmed by another person based on the facts from the story and relevant information. From 2015 to 2020, Rutgaizer was head of Hospital No. 2 in Petrozavodsk. Until 2021 he was a member of the Karelian legislative assembly for United Russia. 7x7 was unable to reach the doctor as he did not answer the phone calls.

In March 2023, Professor Yaroslav Porovsky, 68, resigned from his job at the Siberian Medical University in Tomsk. He was accused of molesting female students, who complained about him to the media. The rector promised to fire the professor should the accusations prove true, and ordered an internal investigation. The results have not been reported.

In August, a group of parents informed 7x7 about the situation with a kickboxing coach, Sergei Chekonov, who molested underage children in Gorno-Altaisk. Initially, the court sentenced him to three years in a penal colony but later changed the punishment to restriction of freedom with a prohibition on teaching and coaching activities for two years. Chekonov has been released from custody.


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