State Duma deputy apologizes and calls press conference after shooting blanks into the air in a residential neighborhood
Dmitry Ionin, a State Duma deputy from the Fair Russia party, fired several times into the air from a machine gun in the courtyard of a residential building in Kamyshlov, a city in Sverdlovsk Oblast. A video of the incident taken from the window of one of the surrounding buildings appeared on the Internet on May 4. At first, Ionin said “an acquaintance fired a toy gun” in his presence, but he later admitted to shooting the disarmed weapon himself.
The deputy said he received the machine gun from Pavel Gribkov, the head of Fair Russia’s local branch, and noted that the weapon was not combat-ready. “First of all, those were not shots. That was a disarmed weapon that cannot fire; it can only produce noises that imitate gunfire. We obtained the machine gun to give it to kids from Yunarmia,” the legislator said, referring to a patriotic youth movement active throughout Russia.
Ionin added that after police officers arrived on the scene, he and Gribkov “apologized to everyone.”
The deputy, who had arrived in Kamyshlov to support local investors who had been defrauded, assured journalists that the incident was not a pre-planned PR campaign. “But I certainly couldn’t have attracted more national attention to the topic of alliances between shareholders and local prosecutors,” Ionin quipped, adding that he had invited Gribkov “and his machine gun” to a press conference on May 5.
Otari Arshba, the head of the Duma’s ethics committee, promised to discuss Ionin’s behavior on the first business day following Russia’s May holidays. “This seems rather like hooliganism, which is classified as a criminal offense,” the committee leader said.