Police launch slander case over post on Leonid Volkov’s social media calling Russian oligarch Evgeny Prigozhin a ‘killer’
A district police department in Moscow has launched a felony defamation case over a post about Russian catering magnate Evgeny Prigozhin, which was published on a social media account belonging to Navalny’s chief of staff, Leonid Volkov.
Prigozhin’s company “Concord” released a copy of the order to initiate criminal proceedings on its VKontakte page.
The case, which was launched on March 30, 2021, considers Prigozhin the victim of slander involving a false accusation of the commission of a serious crime (under Criminal Code article 128.1, paragraph 5; this is punishable by up to five years in prison). The case was opened over a post published on one of Volkov’s social media accounts last year, which “contains deliberately false information […] namely, that E.V. Prigozhin is an especially dangerous criminal […] and a killer of journalists,” the police document says.
In all likelihood, the case is referring to a post published on Leonid Volkov’s Telegram channel on September 1, 2020. Here’s an excerpt from it:
“Evgeny Prigozhin is an especially dangerous criminal convicted of numerous crimes. He’s a killer, he orchestrated the murder of [Russian journalists Orkhan] Dzhemal, [Alexander] Rastorguev, and [Kirill] Radchenko in the CAR two years ago. He owns a troll factory and a private military company, responsible for hundreds of human lives and immeasurable suffering. He’s also a fat troll who revels in PR, attention, and mentions in the press.”
The document notes that the post was uploaded by an “unidentified subject of inquiry” on Volkov’s behalf. The slander case was also launched against an unidentified person.
Concord notes that its legal department contacted the police about the post on Volkov’s social media. “It’s necessary to interrogate Leonid Volkov within the framework of the investigative actions to confirm his participation in the publication of this slander,” the company said.
On April 1, Concord announced that criminal proceedings had been initiated “against Volkov” for alleged defamation against Prigozhin. At the time, the company didn’t provide any documents to support these claims. Volkov told MBX Media that he hadn’t been notified about a case. “I, of course, don’t give a shit about Prigozhin,” he added.
Earlier this year, state investigators launched a criminal case against Volkov for involving minors in unsanctioned protests (in connection with the pro-Navalny rallies in Russia on January 23) and added him to an international wanted list.