Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Controversy surrounds Yekaterinburg mayoral hopeful Roizman

Controversy continues as Evgeny Roizman leads polls in the candidacy for mayor of Yekaterinburg, Russia's fourth-largest city.

Roizman's LiveJournal and Facebook pages are open to the public and archive his meetings with random citizens of Yekaterinburg, Global Voices Online reports.

The pages describe his meetings with the public, including parents asking him to accept their drug-addicted children to his rehabilitation center, others who have been cheated out of the deed to their home and other citizens still seeking arbitration in disputes over spoiled vegetable patches and the stink of homebrewed cheese.

Fourteen years ago, Roizman, a former Duma deputy known for his blunt demeanor, founded the rehab center A City Without Drugs. He describes himself as an overwhelmed but determined public servant, according to Global Voices Online.

Roizman is on poor terms with the nearest and most powerful authorities in Yekaterinburg, most notably demonstrated in his feud with Sverdlovsk Governor Evgeny Kuyvashev. Kuyvashev recently produced an episode of the investigation show "Moment of Truth," in which Roizman's alleged ties to the criminal underworld were explored. The episode interviews an alleged "detainee" at one of Roizman's rehab centers, as well as police officials accusing Roizman of maintaining active ties with the region's mafia gangs.

A trial against Roizman's domestic partner, Aksana Panova, is also pending. A judge recently delayed the trial unexpectedly. Roizman said officials threatened to imprison Panova for seven years if he did not drop out of the race, Global Voices Online reports.

Roizman has continued in the race with Panova as his manager, despite these threats.