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Chairman of the Russian Investigation Committee Alexander Bastrykin apologized to chief editor of the Novaya Gazeta newspaper Dmitry Muratov for the threats against journalist Sergei Sokolov. Meanwhile, the human rights activists from the Moscow civil forum are planning to make a request in the presidential administration with the demand to dismiss Bastrykin. The experts believe that if the whole incident is true, there is corpus delicti in the actions of the chairman of the Investigation Committee.
The Novye Izvestia daily recalled that Muratov affirmed in an article, which was published on Wednesday, that Bastrykin threatened Novaya Gazeta chief editor Sergei Sokolov for an article about the investigation into a massacre in the settlement Kushchevskaya in the Krasnodar Territory. On Thursday, Bastrykin apologized to Dmitry Muratov for "this emotional fit, which he permitted to himself at the meeting" in Nalchik. Muratov accepted apologises with the words that "for me the agenda in this regime is exhausted," and "Sokolov can return to Russia." For his part, Novaya Gazeta co-owner Alexander Lebedev said in a blog that the reports about the conflict had been concealed for a week to ensure security of the journalist.
Bastrykin's misbehaviour discredits him and the state agency, which he heads, the Vedomosti daily cited assistant professor of the chair of state administration at the Higher School of Economics Pavel Kudyukin as saying. The general principles of the professional conduct of public servants require the politeness in the attitude to people and the respect for the activities of media people, but for people, who replace public posts, these requirements are recommendatory. This means that the president, who appointed Bastrykin, will decide whether or not to punish him for "an emotional breakdown" and how. Vladimir Putin does not like to take any decisions under pressure, Kudyukin recalled. Putin will adhere to his logic to stand up for Bastrykin now, unless the latter wants his dismissal himself.
State Duma deputy from United Russia Alexander Khinshtein is convinced that making apologises Bastrykin is just seeking to halt the scandal. If Sokolov's statements are true the corpus delicti can be found in Bastrykin's actions that is a threat for murder. No matter where the meeting took place, in the forest or somewhere else, if Sokolov's article is untrue he violated the law that is called a libel, the deputy noted.
However, it is not easy to bring the chairman of the Investigation Committee to criminal responsibility, the Vedomosti daily noted. This decision can be taken by the acting chairman of the Investigation Committee on the verdict of the legal penal of three judges of the Supreme Court that should make a conclusion about the event of crime in Bastrykin's actions at the request of the president.