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Head of Russia’s Khakassian Republic files new lawsuit against Rosneft spokesman


Valentin Konovalov, the head of Russia’s Khakassian Republic, has filed a defamation lawsuit against Mikhail Leontiev, the spokesman for the Russian state oil company Rosneft.

According to the regional news outlet, Konovalov’s case was filed at the Abakan City Court. The lawsuit also names the local website and “Medvedev” advertising agency as co-defendants in the case. Because Konovalov filed the lawsuit as a private individual, his government spokesperson has refused to comment on the matter.

After Konovalov was elected to serve as the head of Russia’s Khakassian Republic, Leontiev called him a “debil” (dipshit) in a live radio interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda.

Valentin Konovalov has already won one lawsuit against Mikhail Leontiev: a defamation case after the Rosneft spokesman claimed that Konovalov financed his election campaign with funds from the coal-mining enterprise “Razrez Arshanovskiy,” a “Rutek” subsidiary. Konovalov argued that this amounted to false corruption allegations, and a court ordered Leontiev to issue a public retraction.

Why did Leontiev throw down against Konovalov on the radio? According to the BBC Russian service, Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin is close friends with Viktor Zimin, the incumbent politician Valentin Konovalov defeated in last fall’s elections. Meanwhile, Leontiev says he traveled to Khakassia during the elections to “support someone” in a personal capacity, not as Rosneft’s representative.

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