Russian transport minister likely to keep job after plane crash

Russia’s ruling party, United Russia, will not raise the issue of Transport Minister Igor Levitin’s resignation in parliament, despite a string of recent fatal disasters involving ships and aircraft, lower house speaker Boris Gryzlov said on Monday.

The State Duma will hold an emergency “government hour” session on Tuesday following a plane crash this month that killed almost the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice-hockey team.

Levitin is to report on the condition of Russia’s civil aircraft fleet at the session.

All other parliamentary parties have said they will push for Levitin’s dismissal, while the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia has demanded all of his deputies be fired as well.

“Needless to say, the discussion will be serious enough. But United Russia will not bring up the issue of Levitin’s dismissal,” Gryzlov said.

There are also “problems with the aircraft industry and pilot training,” he added.

Forty-four people died when the team’s Yak-42 plane went down near the Volga city of Yaroslavl shortly after takeoff on September 7. The team was flying to the Belarus capital of Minsk for its first match of the Kontinental Hockey League season.

In June, the RusAir Tupolev Tu-134 plane crashed in northwest Russia’s Karelia region killing 44 people.

On July 10 the Bulgaria cruise ship sank during a storm in the Volga River in the Republic of Tatarstan, killing 122 people. There were over 200 passengers on board the heavily overloaded vessel when it went down.

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