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Russian Far Eastern Mayor Not Resigning Amid Charges

PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, Russia -- The mayor of a Far Eastern Russian city being investigated for corruption says he is taking a leave of office but will not resign, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky Mayor Vladislav Skvortsov, under investigation for abuse of office, said on November 30 that he has decided to take a prolonged leave during which he intends to write a dissertation and reestablish himself in the ruling United Russia party.

Skvortsov said he has no intention of resigning from the mayoral post of the capital of the Kamchatka region.

Citing article 51 of the Russian Constitution on presumption of innocence until proven guilty, Skvortsov has refused to supply the investigation with evidence. The article states that no one is obliged to testify against themselves.

A criminal investigation into Skvortsov's alleged fraudulent activities was launched on November 29.

Vladimir Zhanov, the head of the serious cases division of Kamchatka's Investigation Committee, has said that last year Skvortsov granted the then-head of the region's Interior Ministry the use of a three-bedroom apartment and allowed it to be privatized.

"The apartment was taken from the property fund of the municipal district," Zhanov said. "As a result of the criminal actions of the head of the municipal district, the district incurred damages amounting to 2 million rubles ($63,694)."

"It wasn't my wish, but as prescribed by law, it was the duty of the municipality to provide housing for personnel of the organs of the Interior Ministry," Skvortsov has said in his defense, adding that he thinks there was nothing illegal about the privatization of the apartment.

"A person occupying a [professional] service apartment has the right to privatize the apartment," he said. "There have even been several cases when this right to privatization has been upheld by the courts."

Read more in Russian here.