11/19/2020, 10.43
RUSSIA
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Former Minister Mikhail Men, son of Fr. Aleksandr Men, arrested

by Vladimir Rozanskij

He is commissioner of the Court of Auditors, ex-minister for construction and ex-governor of the Ivanovo region. He is accused of embezzling 700 million rubles (about 7.5 million euros). He is an advocate of several liberal initiatives. His father was one of the great protagonists of Russia's exit from communism, assassinated in 1990.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Yesterday November 18, the Russian Court of Auditors commissioner Mikhail Men, former minister for construction and governor of the Ivanovo region, son of the "spiritual father" of Soviet dissent, protoierej Aleksandr Men, was arrested in Moscow.

Attorney General Igor Krasnov accuses Mikhail Men of embezzling 700 million rubles (about 7.5 million euros) from the budget of the Ivanovo region, which he led between 2005 and 2013. Krasnov claims there is "sufficient evidence" of Men's participation in the disappearance of the money, which allegedly took place in 2011. Mikhail Men is currently under house arrest.

The Federation Council (the Russian Senate) consented to the preventive measure, relieving Men of the immunity he enjoys as a high representative of Russian state institutions. As governor, Men had the right to enter into various budget financing agreements on behalf of the region, some of which he contracted to a finance company without obtaining permission from the Ministry of Finance. He would thus have favoured the Prodo group, funnelling funds to the Ivanovskij Broiler company, where the funds would then disappear.

Mikhail Men reacted with amazement to the charges, declaring that it is "nonsense, the first I have heard about it, I am unaware of this affair, I will try to clarify". Men has been commissioner of the Court of Auditors since 2018, and an internal investigation by the Court has also been launched. Men's successor as governor of Ivanovo, Pavel Konkov, was also arrested last year for embezzlement of funds, and investigations are still ongoing.

Mikhail Men is a very popular politician and public figure in Russia. He has tried to carry out various liberal initiatives in society, inspired by the teachings of his father, the protoierej Aleksandr Men. He was one of the great protagonists of Russia's exit from communism, with his activity as a writer, preacher and lecturer in the late 1980s, but he had also supported political initiatives even before the fall of the Wall, to steer Russia towards democracy and respect for human rights. His murder in 1990 remains mysterious, certainly attributable to those who wanted to stop his influence on the life of the Orthodox Church and Russian society, and who also today do not appreciate the political and social initiatives of his son Mikhail.

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