The head of Khakassia, Valentin Konovalov, won a lawsuit on the protection of honor and dignity against the press secretary of Rosneft, Mikhail Leontyev. After the communist victory in the first round of the election of the governor, Mr. Leontyev said that the election campaign of Valentin Konovalov was funded by the RuTEK holding and the coal mine Arshanovsky, which was repeatedly criticized by the Communists. Since the defendant did not even prove this statement in court, he took the side of the head of the region. He never filed a second lawsuit against Mr. Leontyev, who called him a “moron.”
The Abakan City Court issued a decision on the defense of honor, dignity and business reputation of the head of the republic’s program on Channel One, Rosneft’s press secretary Mikhail Leontyev, and the founder of the TV7 channel, Videokanal-Abakan LLC, which included to the South of Siberia media group.
On September 20, 2018, in the NotaBene program, on TV7, Mikhail Leontyev published a story about the candidate to the head of Khakassia from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Valentina Konovalov. This happened after the Communist won the first round of elections from the head of the region, Viktor Zimin. “The communist campaign was financed by RuTEK holding, whose assets are the Arshanovsky open-pit mine. As for Communist Konovalov, the maintenance of the United Russia choir (State Duma deputy Gleb Khor.- “Kommersant”) is a question of revolutionary expediency, ”said Mikhail Leontyev in the story.
Thus, according to the materials of the court, the plaintiff "was accused of committing corrupt acts indicating bribery of voters, illegal financing of the election campaign."
At the court hearings, the defendants did not prove their case. The representative of the TV channel said that the statement of Mikhail Leontyev was “this is a subjective judgment of the author, which is subjective”. And the representative of Mikhail Leontyev said that the statements of the author of the plot should be considered “reasonable criticism of the activities” of Valentin Konovalov “as a politician” and they “cannot be regarded as detracting from his honor and dignity”. Mr. Leontyev "relied on well-known facts", which were published in articles on the Internet, said the representative.
Answering the question about the financing mechanism of the cut of Mr. Konovalov’s campaign in court, a spokesman for Rosneft said that it was produced with coal, although lawyer Marina Sivirina, representing Valentina Konovalova, told Kommersant directly. According to the respondent, coal was allegedly supplied free of charge to residents of the Altai and Beisk regions of Khakassia in exchange for supporting a communist in the elections.
However, the governor’s lawyer presented media materials on the charitable assistance of the Arshanovsky open-pit mine to villagers and the agreement on social and economic cooperation signed in April 2018 by the former head of Khakassia Viktor Zimin and the general director of the open-pit mine Vladimir Lunev. Then the company pledged to supply free-quality coal in the years 2018-2020 in the settlements of the Altai and Beisk regions.
The statement about the financing of the communist election campaign is recognized by a statement that does not correspond to reality.
The court ordered TB7 to publish a refutation. The second part of the controversial phrase (“As for the Communist Konovalov on the content of the United Russia choir, it’s a question of revolutionary expediency”) expresses the author’s subjective opinion, the court concluded.
Marina Sivirina said “Kommersant” that Valentin Konovalov will not seek to meet the claims in full. "In the current situation, such a court decision is a big plus," Vadim Solovyov, secretary of the Communist Party Central Committee and head of the party’s legal service, told Kommersant. Lawyer of the “South of Siberia” media group and Mikhail Leontyev refused to comment on “Kommersant” court decision.
The head of Khakassia never filed a second lawsuit against Mikhail Leontyev, who at the end of the year called him a “moron.” Political scientist Alexander Chernyavsky believes that a communist, being a lawyer by training, took into account judicial practice, “it is often hard to put a value judgment on the plane of insults”. Political analyst Mikhail Verkhoturov suggested that the head of the region does not want to associate himself with the statement of Mr. Leontyev. “He is not in a position to defend his defaulted honor. He has many other problems, including the elimination of socio-economic problems that exist in Khakassia, ”he said.