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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with five Russian television stations ended awkwardly – Russia Today placed a video recorded after the official part of the interview, when the prime minister failed to realize the cameras were still rolling and called investigators as “jerks”. This concerned investigators, who came to search the home of film director Pavel Kostomarov.
The Kommersant business daily reported that the prime minister once again commented the theme raised during the interview by Alexei Pivovarov of NTV on morning searches at the home of Pavel Kostomarov, the director of Srok (Term), a documentary about Russian opposition leaders.
“They are just jerks, so they come at eight in the morning. It’s just their set of habits,” the daily citied Medvedev as saying.
The prime minister’s spokeswoman, Natalia Timakova, declined to comment Medvedev’s words to Kommersant announcing that “these are eavesdropped talks.”
Russia Today Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonian told the daily that the organizers of the broadcasting were to blame. “We have been broadcasting the interview to our YouTube channel in such a form as we got it. We tried to stop it after the official part was over, but failed to do it in time and could not to edit it for another two hours,” she added.
This phrase, even one word turned more important than all of his wise statements on pensions, legality, progress, and the fight against corruption for the sake of the Fatherland, Moskovsky Komsomolets wrote. On the same day his speech was forgotten except for “jerks.” The rest of Friday, the whole Saturday and Sunday the country’s radio stations’ top line news focused on “investigators jerks.” Some persons exulted saying this serves them right, while some esthetes regretted that the prime minister stooped to the vocabulary of criminals and made supposition from whom he picked up all these words. Speaking about his “jerks” Medvedev said when the official interview ended, an informal, friendly communication began (“We will pay for “jerks!”).
Novye Izvestiya recalled that the Investigative Committee confirmed that searches related to riots in Moscow’s centre continue and Kostomarov acts as a witness in this case. The director himself told that he was a witness in the case on riots in Bolotnaya Square and he made a signed statement not to disclose the details of the search.
The Izvestiya daily wrote that the real reason for what had happened – as sources in the government stated – was the active work of the Investigative Committee on a major embezzlement case involving Oboronservis and ex-defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov. The head of the government evidently did not like new corruption-related facts in the Ministry of Defense under the rule of Anatoly Serdyukov and emergence of new even more high-ranking defendants.
According to a source in the Investigative Committee, many officials were discontented with the prime minister’s statement. They noted that Medvedev in his interview defended the ex-defense minister, who was dismissed after the Investigative Committee exposed multiple corruption facts involving officials, whom Serdyukov placed to top positions in his ministry.
“The prime minister’s statement that Serdyukov worked “rather effectively”, when persons under his charge have already been arrested, evoked misunderstanding in the Investigative Committee as a minimum,” the daily citied investigators as saying. “How is it possible until the case is over to defend a person who can find himself at a prisoner’s bar.”
Law enforcers could have kept silent on the prime minister’s statement on Serdyukov, but his words on “investigators jerks” were the last straw.
Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin announced that investigators acted correctly. “It was strange to hear the comment not only insulting investigators of the Investigative Committee, but also undermining the authority of all law enforcement bodies of the country,” he said in a statement placed on the website of the Investigative Committee.
The comments on the website evoked discontent in the government. According to governmental sources cited by Izvestiya, soon after Markin’s statement appeared, the prime minister’s spokeswoman, Natalia Timakova, offered the general to disavow his words. The sources stated he refused to do so. Markin himself did not confirm the fact of the talks, but stated, “I defended the honour of investigators, the Investigative Committee and all law enforcers. At the same time I did not insult anyone and said nothing offensive. Therefore I consider it unnecessary to disavow my words.”
Meanwhile, the government could not allow the comment to be left on the Investigative Committee’s website. “After the spokeswoman’s unsuccessful call, there probably were the talks at the very high level. Soon after this, this comment was deleted,” the sources were cited by Izvestiya as saying.