Regional deputy leaks audio recording of Lipetsk governor allegedly telling subordinates to doctor COVID-19 statistics
A newly leaked audio recording allegedly reveals the governor of Russia's Lipetsk region, Igor Artamonov, asking his subordinates to alter the data on the region’s coronavirus outbreak.
A deputy from the Lipetsk Regional Council, Oleg Khomutinnikov, published the audio recording on Telegram on May 25, claiming that it is of the regional governor and his deputy, Alexander Ilyin, “discussing the figures on the coronavirus.” However, it’s impossible to tell what data they are talking about from the audio recording itself.
In an interview with MBKh Media and Znak.com, Artamonov confirmed that the audio is genuine and that it’s his voice that can be heard on the recording. According to the governor, however, the discussion was about per capita coronavirus tests.
“The key to the story, is that the figure needs to be changed to the actual [figure], not from the actual figure. The conversation was not about coronavirus patients, but about tests. [The Coronavirus Information Center] had the number 70, but in fact we have 100. The conversation was about why should we suffer and end up as a bad region, when we have [done] 100, and not 70 [tests],” Artamonov told MBKh Media.
In conversation with Znak.com, the governor said that this was “such a routine event”: “This is the typical working situation. We simply have a lot of bad people here, who do not like what is happening in the region, and they are organizing false stories. But this is the usual situation, there are a lot of them.”
As of May 25, the Lipetsk region had recorded 1,690 cases of COVID-19, as well as five related deaths. 539 people in the region have recovered from the disease so far.
In an interview with Meduza, demographer Alexey Raksha, who is studying the government’s coronavirus mortality statistics, named the Lipetsk region among the country’s regions that are doctoring coronavirus statistics.