Russian minister’s driver faces dismissal over murder threat

A driver for Russia’s emergencies minister faces dismissal after threatening to shoot a motorist in the head, media reports said on Monday.

A video posted on YouTube on Saturday shows a black Mercedes driven by the personal driver of Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu using a flashing blue light to move through a traffic jam on a major Moscow motorway.

When a motorist refuses to clear the way for Shoigu’s car, the driver snarls through a loud speaker: “You moron, do you want me to shoot you in the head?”

Shoigu was not in the car at the time.

Emergencies Ministry spokeswoman Irina Andrianova told the Izvestia newspaper Shoigu was “upset” by the incident, and that the driver could be facing his marching orders.

“The errand was not urgent so there was no need for him to turn on the official lights,” Andrianova said. “The driver is most likely to be sacked following an investigation.”

There has been a mounting concern over Russian officials’ abuse of car sirens, known as migalki, following a number of high-profile road accidents involving VIP vehicles.

Two women were killed last February when their car collided head-on with a migalka-ed Mercedes belonging to Anatoly Barkov, the vice-president of the Russian oil giant, LUKoil.

No charges were brought despite evidence that the executive’s car pulled into the oncoming lane.

In January, a woman was seriously injured after her car collided with a chauffeured BMW of Russian presidential envoy Garry Minkh.

Public anger over the use of migalki has spawned an ingenious protest movement involving drivers attaching blue buckets to their cars in mimicry of the official lights.

MOSCOW, May 16 (RIA Novosti)

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