Yalta Mayor fires his deputy for supporting opposition protests in Belarus
Yalta Mayor Ivan Imgrunt has fired his deputy over statements he made in support of the protests in Belarus. The former deputy mayor, Mikhail Zagortsev — who held this post for just four days — used to be a district official in Belarus.
“His statements are incompatible with holding this position,” the Yalta mayor told the newswire Kryminform. In conversation with RIA Novosti, Imgrunt said that the decision was made over an interview Zagortsev gave in August, which the Yalta leadership didn’t know about when he was hired as an official. On Instagram, Imgrunt clarified that he dismissed his deputy following an investigation into “video materials involving Zagortsev, M. G., about supporting the Belarusian opposition.”
Mikhail Zagortsev took up the post of deputy mayor on September 21. The next day, the Belarusian news outlet Tut.by published a video in which he expressed support for the protesters in Belarus. In the video, Zagortsev mentions that Russian nationals could have been involved in harshly detaining peaceful demonstrators during the protests that followed the Belarusian presidential elections. In Crimea (the Russian-controlled region where Yalta is located), the release of the video led to demands for Zagortsev’s dismissal.
The video was recorded back in August, but, as Zagortsev told Kommersant, he never expected it to end up on the Internet. “This appeal was made after some events in August and was made out of emotion. And besides, it wasn’t even posted, but passed on… This was when I was living in Belarus,” he said.
According to the Yalta City Administration’s website, Mikhail Zagortsev was born in Belarus. From 2011 to 2020, he was the head of the Smolevichi District Executive Committee in the Minsk Region. He left his post in March of this year.
Translation by Eilish Hart