Ex-governor reported missing

Nikolay Kiselyov

Since he was dismissed from his post as Arkhangelsk regional governor, nobody has seen Nikolay Kiselyov. Unofficial information indicates that he has been arrested.

Another scandal is rocking Arkhangelsk Oblast. Former governor Nikolay Kiselyov has gone missing. He has not been seen in public since he was dismissed from his governor’s post in mid-April. The local mass media have in vain tried to reach Mr. Kiselyov. The ex-governor’s entourage and employees in Arkhangelsk say they do not know his current whereabouts.

On Thursday last week, unofficial information about the alleged arrest of Mr. Kiselyov started to spread in the regional parliament. Law enforcement authorities in Moscow do not however confirm, nor rebuff the information.

According to unofficial sources, Ex Governor was detained at the local airport, and later transferred to a pre-trial detention cell.

Local politicians believe a recent video scandal with the former governor might be the reason behind the arrest. In summer 2007 a video appeared on the web-site of the Arkhangelsk city administration, where a person resembling governor Kiselyov accepted a major bribe from a person bearing resemblance to a former Director General of the local company Severgaz, Vladimir Gudevichev. The tape was immediately commented by Ex-Mayor Aleksander Donskoy, who said it was a clear evidence of bribery. The tape was made by a hidden camera in Moscow on August 5 2005.

The Arkhangelsk Prosecutor’s Office conducted an investigation and concluded that the tape bears evidence of manipulation and that Mr. Kiselyov was reported to be on a working visit in the Arkhangelsk region on the indicated day.

However, the city administration of Arkhangelsk on its web-site also published a scanned declaration of Mr. Gudovich, where the latter confirmed “extortion by Nikolyai Ivanovich Kiselyov, Governor of the Arkhangelsk oblast regional Administration in August 2005”.

The disputed video of Mr Kiselyov can be viewed at You Tube