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Putin Fires Ex-Supervisor Of Khabarovsk Case At Investigative Committee

Protesters hold up a poster reading "I am, you are, we are instead of Putin" during a protest in support of Sergei Furgal in Khabarovsk in August 2020.
Protesters hold up a poster reading "I am, you are, we are instead of Putin" during a protest in support of Sergei Furgal in Khabarovsk in August 2020.

MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed a top official of the Investigative Committee who supervised a high-profile probe against the former governor of the Khabarovsk region, Sergei Furgal.

Putin's decree on firing Rostislav Rassokhov was placed on the online registry of legal documents on August 24. It does not say why the deputy chairman of the Investigative Committee was dismissed.

Rassokhov was appointed to the post in May 2020, replacing Igor Krasnov, who had been appointed prosecutor-general.

Before that, Rassokhov led the Investigative Committee's directorate for investigations of serious cases, an elite investigative unit of the committee.

He supervised the case against Furgal, whose arrest in July 2020 on charges of involvement in two murders in 2004-05 sparked mass protests in the regional capital, Khabarovsk, and several other towns and cities in the region. His supporters held demonstrations almost daily for several months over his arrest.

The protests highlighted growing discontent in the Far East over what demonstrators see as Moscow-dominated policies that often neglect their views and interests.

Rassokhov also supervised the case against Mikhail Abyzov, the former minister for open government affairs who was arrested in March 2019 on embezzlement charges that he and his supporters reject.

Abyzov's arrest was seen by some observers in Moscow as part of a crackdown by Russia's security and intelligence services on reformist politicians.

In April, the status of Rassokhov's unit was lowered and he was demoted from supervising investigations of serious crimes to overseeing the Investigative Committee's branches in Siberia and the Far East.

In 2013, Rassokhov supervised the first probe against a regional governor in modern Russia, which ended with the sentencing of the former governor of the western Tula region, Vyacheslav Dudka, to almost 10 years in prison on embezzlement charges.

Rassokhov's demise comes amid unofficial predictions that the Investigative Committee's longtime chief, Aleksandr Bastrykin, may be replaced soon, after serving for more than a decade.

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