Yet another scandal has rocked the Fair Russia party as the media published photos showing one of its members appearing at a wedding dressed like Admiral Wilhelm Canaris – the head of the Nazi Abwehr spy network.
The Russian tabloid LifeNews claims that the chief of Fair Russia’s pre-election campaign headquarters – MP Oleg Mikheev – showed up at a masquerade wedding ball for one his fellow party members disguised as the Nazi admiral.
The news portal published photographs in which the State Duma deputy was allegedly wearing a white uniform bearing the swastika. According to the tabloid, Mikheev also said that he did not consider Canaris a Nazi since the Admiral was against Adolf Hitler, helped the Jews during WW2 and was executed in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945.
Mikheev, however, called the publication a provocation and accused the ruling United Russia party for being behind the scandal. The deputy insists that LifeNews used PhotoShop to add the Nazi symbol to the service cap of a Russian marine officer he had actually worn at the themed wedding ball. He also denied having said anything about the Ahwerh chief.
“I was raised as a patriot. I was born in Volgograd, where my grandfather was killed during the battle of Stalingrad. I have never admired any Nazi generals,” the politician told Interfax agency.
The lawmaker is going to sue the journalists who – by implicating him in high treason – discredited not just him personally, but also the deputy of the Russian lower house.
Fair Russia’s informal leader, former Federation Council Speaker Sergey Mironov, stuck up for Mikheev, calling the entire story nonsense, “the poverty of political intellect,” and went on to point a finger of blame at United Russia.
Meanwhile, Lifenews is not going to give up either. The portal’s chief editor Raul Smyr told Interfax that the outlet is ready to present both the controversial photograph and the recording where Mikheev describes which uniform he was wearing.
“We are ready to appeal to the State Duma to ask for a parliamentary investigation of Mikheev’s actions, which disgrace the dignity of the country (Russia) and its people,” he is quoted as saying.
The tabloid also posted comments on its website stating that it was the Fair Russia that used the graphics software to remove the Nazi symbol from Mikheev’s uniform and then posted a video “response”. In its sarcastic article, LifeNews says that Mikheev is not really lucky with his aides since it took them 14 hours to create their “masterpiece”, while a true professional would need no more than five to six hours.
Now that the situation is getting really tangled, Chair of the State Duma’s Veterans’ Committee, United Russia member Nikolay Kovalev, announced his intention to send a request to prosecutors so that they would make things clear.
“If it is true, it is beyond common sense. A normal person cannot put on a Nazi uniform,” he told RIA Novosti.
After Fair Russia’s leader Mironov was forced to step down from the post of Federation Council Speaker and as elections are nearing, the party has been going through hard times, with one scandal seemingly following the other.