Traffic police in the northern Leningrad region stopped an ambulance to clear the way for the convoy of the current speaker of the Russian State Duma, Sergei Naryshkin, Russian news agencies reported on Wednesday.
Representatives for Naryshkin denied all the allegations as a tabloid press hoax, but regional police have begun investigating the report, which is based on an amateur YouTube video.
The five-minute video, first uploaded on Yaplakal.com on Monday, is shot from inside a car and shows traffic police blocking traffic on a road full of vehicles with Leningrad region license plates.
An ambulance is heard signaling off-screen and then appears in the footage with flashing lights, a paramedic shouting from a window at the policeman, who does not react until a cavalcade of several police cars and black sedans passes by.
The incident took place in the regional town of Vsevolozhsk, which Naryshkin visited in October, when he was the head of the presidential administration, Lifenews.ru tabloid said on Wednesday.
Medics were trying to resuscitate a man inside the ambulance at the time, but the patient died at the hospital’s threshold, local ambulance official Lyudmila Turlyun told the publication.
“The information about the tragic incident is not confirmed. The situation looks like inaccurate information released to attract tabloid readers,” Duma spokesman Yury Shuvalov said on Wednesday.
But regional police reported opening a probe into the actions of the policeman who stopped the ambulance. A police spokesman on Wednesday did not identify the officer by name, but said he had retired in December.
Police instructions are to prioritize officials’ convoys over ambulances, a regional police spokesman told Lifenews.ru.
Many Russian officials enjoy road privileges that irritate regular motorists who accuse state servants of abusing their powers on the road. Several groups exist campaigning against privileged driving, one of which, the Blue Buckets Society, reported the Vsevolozhsk incident on Tuesday, placing it into media spotlight.